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Hollywood Is Not Our Reality

I awoke a few weeks ago to the startling news that a familiar face from The Today Show was immediately being fired for inappropriate sexual conduct. I have to say I felt devastated! Never actually having met Matt Lauer I felt as though he was a good friend of mine, someone I trusted and felt safe with. Interesting and somewhat unsettling what we allow ourselves to believe and internalize without any actual first hand contact. This sudden scandal brought to the forefront of my mind the misconceptions Hollywood has created for us.

Hollywood is a world of fantasy, an escape from reality, and from the monotony of day to day life. However, somehow over the past few decades that divide between fantasy and reality merged. We actually began to believe and even expect that what we saw on the “big screen” and in magazines was going to appear in our basic everyday lives. Hollywood has painted us a world of beauty and intimacy that we are simply unable to replicate. It has insidiously planted unattainable goals for us. Hollywood did exactly what they had intended to do- they made everything appear real. However, we didn’t keep that separation in our minds and hearts. We allowed ourselves to believe fantasy was reality.

As a woman and more specifically as a Medical Professional who treats women and their sexuality, I have witnessed the effects of this “fantasy world”. I continuously watch women suffer from feelings of inadequacy and misconceptions. These troubled feelings are causing women to believe they are unattractive, unworthy of love and intimacy, and undesirable to lovers. From a young age girls are supplied with pictures of beauty and self-worth ingrained into our psyche as seductive, thin, flirtatious, funny, and witty.

If I were to ask you to close your eyes and think of the word “beautiful” what is the first thing that pops into your head? How many of you can say that you saw a picture of YOURSELF in your mind? Isn’t it disheartening that the vast majority of us wouldn’t place the word “me” on a list of words to describe “sexy” or “perfect” or “beautiful”?

The problem now is that women are left uncomfortable with their sexuality and consequently, with intimacy. We are at a point in history where sexuality is discussed openly and without pause. Homosexuality, transgender, queer, bisexual, asexual, fetish- words that were once said in a hushed tone are now said loudly and proudly! New words had to be created and added to our lexicon to describe ones sexuality. One would assume that the natural course of this newfound sexual freedom would be an innate sense of comfort in one’s own sexuality. On the contrary, it is unfortunately causing an increase in sexual dysfunction in our communities. Where does this disconnect between a liberal view of sexuality on the societal forum but growing problems of personal inhibition on the individual take root?

The answer, I believe, lies in the fact that it is extremely difficult to bridge the gap between upbringing and societal input. Our minds are supplied with an unending barrage of antithetical information. “Be modest, act like a lady, save yourself for marriage, he won’t buy the cow if he gets the milk for free.” Many are taught to hold off on sex and sometimes even touching until marriage. Yet while receiving these messages we’re also scrolling through Instagram scouring photos of the latest Kardashian escapade or Victoria Secret layout.

We need to openly discuss sexuality in a respectful and appropriate way. Women need to be allowed to ask questions without any worry of judgement or punishment, understand how our bodies work, what sexuality is, and what our likes and dislikes are. Knowledge is power and communication is our key!

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