On the 4th of October 2016, the BBC reported on a new guide that reveals the effects of the media representations of women and how harmful they are in molding a negative body image and unrealistic expectations of physical perfection. Research by Girlguiding suggests that Girls in the UK are markedly less confident about their looks than they were five years ago. Just 61% of 1,627 seven- to 21-year-old girls polled for the 2016 Girls’ Attitudes Survey felt happy about their bodies, down from 73% in 2011. Girls as young as seven face “intense and unobtainable appearance pressures to be perfect”, say the authors. Among the 559 seven- to 10-year-olds who took part in the survey: 36% said they were made to feel the most important thing about them was their looks 38% felt they were not pretty enough; 35% agreed women were judged more on their appearance than their abilities; 23% felt they needed to be perfect.
The modern day obsession with women and their physical appearance cannot be seen as an accidental social trend developed through the modern age. It is actually a deliberate and strategic development designed by Capitalist companies as a means to sell and promote their various female enhancing products be they cosmetic surgery procedures, clothing lines or beauty products. These unscrupulous and greedy companies are completely ruthless in their aims to increase profits to the extent that they have no moral qualms about the deceptive methods used to create a false idea of beauty and how they use the mass media to promote a very restricted body type that is often racially biased and medically dangerous. It is usual to employ teenage girls (who are often abused in the industry) who become school girl idols and it is often the case that they feel under pressure to undergo plastic surgery procedures even though they have not stopped physically growing yet! The enforcement of a lifestyle that normalizes mental illness and eating disorders is also well known in the entertainment and fashion industry. With all media outlets including TV, magazines, movies, social media and even schools being used to promote this damaging female vision of self, it is impossible for any age of female to escape the constant bombardment of fake feminine ideals. It is no wonder the psychological pressure to conform to the air brushed images of thin and flawless has an effect on even the seemingly innocent aged groups of girls who should be thinking about the normal influences of little girls such as what school subject they like or what kind of friends they will play with. In secular societies driven by capitalism, we can expect this disturbing trend in girls being obsessed with the superficial outside, rather than the important issues of developing productive/useful personalities, to grow. The Islamic Social System solves this identity crisis of girls from the root by defining women as an honour in Islam to be protected and looked after by her male relatives, in this manner from birth she has a secure foundation in which she can build her future without the need to feel that she is forced to work and carry the other female duties as well. Her value is not based on appearance or how she is able to generate tax revenue for her government, but her value is defined by her Creator. Allah سبحانه وتعالى explained women have equal status to men in their competition for the rewards of Jannat as explained in Surah Taubah verse 71.
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَـئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللّهُ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“The men and women of the believers are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong, keep up prayer and give the alms [zakat], and obey Allah and His Messenger. They are the people on whom Allah will have mercy. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.”
The Islamic Ruling System, the Khilafah never had a history of needing a women’s rights movement, as women felt their needs met on every level be it economic, social, educational or psychological. All women from every nation are encouraged to review the systems of Islam in order to see how it is truly able to empower women and how it is far superior to the failed liberal secular models that have promised so much and delivered so little to its female associates.