What I Hope Julie Borowski Meant to Say

The horse that is the Julie Borowski video attempting to explain why there aren’t more women active in the libertarian movement has already been beaten to death, but I wanted to give a little perspective on one of the problems that is dragging down society, in general, and millions of women in particular.

I’d be willing to bet that upwards of 99% of women have struggled with body image at one point in their life. I’m one of those women, my struggle is every day, and this is my story.

I was homeschooled until I was 9, at which point I was flung headfirst into the unfathomably deep pool that is a small town public school in the rural south. Imagine going from an environment that is made mostly of family and church members, whom you’ve known basically your entire life, into a classroom of peers who have not only known each other since diaper days, but their parents, and probably even grandparents went to school together.

I was a small-town girl, trying to fit into a lonely, lonely world.

I wore hand-me-downs from my cousins who had been my age in the early ’80s; long jean shorts, and outdated shirts. I wasn’t allowed to watch or listen to the elements of popular culture the kids in my class did. My quick reading, impeccable manners, and above grade-level academic performance made me a teacher’s pet. My lack of a drawl labeled me a “Yankee,” even though I’d spent all but the first nine months of my life living in Alabama.

I’ve never been the greatest at making new friends; I’m awkward and nerdy and incredibly awful at small talk. I eventually made friends at school, but it was tough and seemed to take a lot of conforming at that age.

Then came puberty. Well, for everyone else…

“Roses are red, but violets aren’t black, Elizabeth’s front is as flat as her back” More than once I came home crying about my lack of breasts, agonizing over my friends who had started their periods and, at the age of 12, begging my mom to buy me a padded bra. I even stuffed tissues into my training bra to try to get my pre-teen, skinny, and boyish body to transform to that of a sexy, curvaceous woman. No man would ever want to be my husband if I was flat-chested. You see, at the tender young age of 12, I had already learned to equate my anatomy and how I thought other people viewed me with my self-worth.

A few years and 5-ish cup sizes later, I reveled in my newfound womanliness. And man, did I flaunt it.  But I also dumbed myself down; I sacrificed my ideals in the name of fitting in.

Not that I’m saying it’s wrong to shake what your mama (or in my case, grandma) gave ya, but it stemmed from that same, dark place: my determination of my value was inexorably connected to the size of my chest, the height of my cheekbones, the fullness of my lips, the label in my dress, and the watch on my wrist.

I eventually reformed my ways. Sure, I still enjoy experimenting with makeup, wearing flattering and attractive clothing, buying nice things, and indulging myself a little bit, but I’ve also realized that my value comes from none of that. My value comes from my ability to stare down a problem and develop a solution. My value comes from my unflinching desire to show the world the benefits of Liberty. My value comes from the love and compassion I show others, even those with whom I have nothing in common. My value comes from my love of my Creator, but even more from His love for me.

And that, my friends, is what Julie Borowski twisted around in an odd argument that shot itself in the foot that it had in its mouth.

What (I hope) she meant is not that it’s wrong, or anti-libertarian or anti-individualist to wear makeup and expensive clothes, but that the relationship between self-image and self-worth for many women has become so corrupted that they would rather sacrifice showing interest in things outside the mainstream for fitting in.

Society is not conducive to liberty because it does not value the individual. For women, this means that they are valued for what they look like instead of who they are. In order to live in a truly free society, it’s something we’re going to have to change.