There has been a lot of chatter about suppression, depictions of individuals, and appearance in the last week due to violence surrounding police and the Black community. The country has been on edge, and we have seen quite a few individuals from a variety of backgrounds unleash their frustration surrounding these and other issues of representation in the media. While the struggles are completely different, Rachel Valencia is truly a fighter for the representation of individuals – particularly women in the media.
“One word I would use to describe the body struggles women endure is detrimental. I have read many articles and seen many videos about the media’s influence on women’s bodies, and almost all of the messages being put out are negative,” said Valencia. Rachel is a Californian college junior who found herself directly delving into the world of feminism and women’s rights. “I have had different experiences in my life that have made me realize that the way women are treated are not acceptable and I will not stand for it. I really hope that women, and men, continue to fight for our right to be seen as equals and to give every girl, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother a safe world to live in,” said Valencia.
We appreciate it. Honestly, things cannot and will not get done unless we turn our frustrations into action. Rachel is one of those individuals who gets it, and wants other people to take responsibility in helping out too. She’s excited by the prospect of us as a generation really making some changes.
“I think the driving force behind this movement is the fact that our younger generation has transformed into a very activist-enthusiast generation. When we find something wrong in this world, we do everything we can to change it. We have realized that there should be no reason a woman, or man, to hate the way they look.”
Seriously though. It pains us every day that we see someone write, “I wish I looked like that,” or “Wah, why isn’t that me?!” It takes most of our editorial strength to not write back, “STOP THAT,” every time. People like Rachel give us hope that this honestly could change. Publications cannot do it alone. We can depict how beautiful you all actually are, but women like Rachel help to reinforce the message by living fiercely.
“I think we are uniting together to show the world that being skinny is okay, being curvy is okay, and being healthy is great, but the world should never put a pressure on you to be something you’re not,” said Valencia. YES. We want all parts of that. In media, in person-to-person interactions, and in legislation. How cool would that be? Rachel thinks it could be a possibility.
“I see women making laws and legislature that will give them more control of their bodies like mandatory paid maternity leave, abortion rights, and free birth control. Also, I think laws need to be in place for photoshop. Certain regulations need to be put into action that won’t allow companies to completely alter a woman’s body. I think if we go to the government and propose new laws to protect a woman’s right to controlling their body, then the exploitation of women could be reduced.”
That’s what we call visionary. Telling the world they actually have to depict women as they are to cut down on things like eating disorders. It’s up for debate, but we always want active women to be a part of the conversation.
Rachel, we salute you and the work you do. Give ’em hell.