Something horrible has happened. Something we may never be able to shield ourselves or our daughters from. Something that has been happening for a long time. Beauty has become unattainable for most of us.
What has happened to our perception of beauty? Look at the beautiful women and sex-symbols of the 1950s; Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Bettie Page. Look at The Birth of Venus, or any of the art from the Renaissance. But somewhere along the way, all of that changed.
Men are constantly being surrounded; through tv, magazines, cd covers, movies, etc… with the women whom are considered beautiful by society’s standards. And every time my husband stops to look at a magazine, or freezes for just a second while flipping through the channels (and he definitely doesn’t do it often), these are my thoughts:
Carrie Underwood…. My legs look nothing like that.
Pink…. I could never look like that in a bikini.
Miranda Kerr….. Her boobs.
Heidi Klum….. She’s had how many kids? I’ve had one and stretch marks have accompanied me ever since.
The list could go on and on. (And in the interest of not sounding judgemental, I know that most of those women work very hard to look the way they do. And they are beautiful!)
My husband, like many of yours, could compliment me 100 times a day, but years of being shown I’m not beautiful are hard for him to compete with. Hundreds, probably thousands, of images of “real” beauty are hard to deny.
I am in no way saying that we shouldn’t have goals or better our health. Obesity is not healthy. I know this.
However, size 6 is NOT plus sized. The average woman is much closer to a size 14. And all of those cute clothes and gorgeous dresses. They aren’t made in that size. In most stores, that size is located in the “women” or “misses” section. You might as well call them “fat clothes” because that’s what we feel like when we shop for them.
I will never forget my moment. The moment I saw a curvy, real woman and thought, for possibly the first time in my adult life, “She is beautiful. She is real and she is beautiful. Maybe I could be beautiful too.” Sara Ramirez. Grey’s Anatomy. There is a scene, several seasons ago, where she dances. In a basement. In her underwear. She’s beautiful. And she is also, from that moment on… One of my heroes. I wanted her confidence. I wanted her sassiness. I wanted to be her, in that moment. (Well, making out with Mark Sloan didn’t hurt, either.)
Some of the most beautiful women I have met are not thin. What they are is confident. Happy. Self-assured. Beautiful.
So, my new goal in life is to help change the definition of beauty. To help little girls know that they are beautiful. To help women know that they are beautiful. To help men realize that the pausing on a tv channel, and ogling magazine covers, and the “innocent” comment about the woman in the movies, is hurtful. And even the most innocent comments only cement what we already think of ourselves; that we could never possibly compete.
The challenge for today:
Ladies: Look into a mirror and find five things that are beautiful about you. Five. Now say them out loud. And tomorrow, find five more. Rinse and repeat.
Fellas: Tell your wife (and your daughter, and your sister, and your mother, and the old lady across the street, but especially your wife) five things that are beautiful about her. Five. Make her believe it. And tomorrow, find five more. You get the idea.
And slowly, even if it’s one woman at a time, I pray the world will change it’s perception of beauty.