Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is beauty?

What is Beauty?

Seriously… what is beauty to you?

I know what it is to me. 

I love a sunset with clouds in the sky that make the pending night look like an art gallery of color.

I love the gorgeous sunrise over Mt Baker as it shines across the mountain range. 

Beauty is sitting on a beach watching the waves roll in with a slight breeze in my face.

Beauty is watching my kids play and laugh. 

But then… I watch a video like this.  

And, again, I am reminded that beauty tends to be seen in our society through a very narrow lens.  Knowing that, it makes me not want to look in the mirror.  I get this video is a parody and all, but the what makes it so haunting is the subtle (or not so subtle) truth behind it all.

Why do we do this to women?  We are so beautiful, but we are so hard on ourselves.  After watching this, I get why.  Does beauty really mean flatter stomaches, smaller hips, bigger boobs, plumper lips, (is that a word plumper? Works for me), smooth skin, long blonde hair (okay… blondes really do have more fun), slender long legs.  Seriously? Talk about setting ourselves up for failure.  If you qualify in the list spoken of above, you represent .000001% of the world’s population.  

Props to you.  The rest of us are happy for you – seriously.

I just don’t want to be compared to that.  I don’t know about you, but since having kids I don’t think my body will ever be the same.  I learned that the hard way from my son.  

He’s 12 now, but when he was 4 years old he walked up to me and pronounced, “Mom… you have little buns.  They just look big.”   I resisted the temptation to squash him like a bug and to remind him that he was the cause of the, uhh…. “big buns.”

Instead, I did what all mommys do… “You are so sweet, but I would recommend never – ever saying that to your wife.” (I saw it as a teachable moment.) J

That is until he made another comment when he was five.  I was about to get in the shower when he remarked, “Mom! What are those marks all over your hip?”  I said, “Stretch marks from when I was pregnant with you.  Those are my reminders how lucky I am to have you” (not bad, huh?  Wasn’t I sweet?). Then he says “Those aren’t pretty… No one should see those.”

Children.  They are such a blessing.

No one can prepare you for moments like that.  You don’t know whether to laugh, cry or starve yourself.  And the reason?  We have that deeply rooted belief that we need to be perfect.

And that belief kills us slowly each and every day we buy into it.

Here’s the truth: most men love our bodies just the way they are.  Seriously.  They talk a good game and we hear their rants when the “prototypical” woman hits the TV screen.  However, they really are happy with how we look.  Do you think they are going to turn down sex because we don’t look like the woman on the TV screen? 

Honestly… We are beautiful just the way we are.  It’s something you have (hopefully!) heard throughout your life, but a saying that we pass off too easily.  Whether we are short or tall, plump or thin, white, tan or dark skinned, blonde, brunette, red-head... Can we have grace for ourselves that we are so much more than just what we look like on the outside? 

We are so much more than what people see – we are deep, vibrant, intelligent, bright, capable women that have so much more to offer than just our bodies.  Again… ask any guy.  They may talk a good game about the “hot” girl, but they won’t stick around unless someone is interesting, fun, intelligent and at ease with herself.  

I feel compelled to fight this battle because I have this sweet 10-year old daughter and I don’t want her thinking she has to be “foto shopped” in order to be beautiful.  She is truly amazing just the way she is.  So come on, ladies – we don’t have to buy into the belief we have to be some Victoria Secret runway model in order to be loveable or good enough.  We just have to be ourselves – our witty, charming, fun, intelligent, loving, giving, playful, sexy, exciting selves. 

The truth is… we all are “hot.”  That is, in all the ways that really matter.  And THAT is what makes us beautiful…


1 comment:

  1. I think all women are beautiful no matter their shape or size. I saw the Fotoshop by Adobe commercial a few weeks ago and laughed my ass off. I thought it had a good message. Besides poking fun at the ridiculous amount of beauty products on the market that DON'T work, the fact is hollywood uses photoshop ALL the time. Just watch one season of America's Next Top Model and you'll see what I mean. The photographers doll-up the models in 10 pounds of makeup and then photoshop the crap out of their pictures on top of it. Ever see a model with no makeup on? They look just like normal women with blemishes and all, except they're so skinny they look like they have eating disorders and that's never attractive.

    Should hollywood set the standards for what is beautiful? No. And they were never meant to. Hollywood isn't real. Everything you see in the media, in entertainment, is fake. And we need to get that through our daughter's heads. That's not reality.

    It's the same as blaming a rock band when a depressed teenager commits suicide, or suing a cartoon company when a toddler tries to fly by jumping off the roof and then breaking their neck. It's not the band's fault or the cartoon's fault. It's the parents' responsibly to teach their kids the difference and same goes for girls and body image. Teach your child about health and nutrition and what beauty really is - and teach them what's fake.