When I was a little girl, I'd LOVED to peruse fashion magazines, imagining that I would grow up to be a woman as sophisticated as the ones pictured. The Monet ads were always sooooo enchanting! I love how the jewelry highlights the women's faces not necessarily the jewelry itself. The make up, the stylying: Pure femininity and glamour!
Don't you just love Norma Desmond's confidence? Okay, so it may be rooted in psychotic delusion, but you gotta love a woman that commits! Seeing this movie makes me of the standards we have of beauty. After watching this clip, I thought to myself, "I AM beautiful! It's the standard that got ugly!" Imagine Bill Holden turning to a woman today and saying...
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman over 40. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman who has hips. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman who has smile lines around your eyes. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman with gray hair. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman that's bigger than a Sz 6. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman who doesn't wear a D cup. You used to be beautiful!"
Guess what Bill Holden!
I AM beautiful! It's the standard that got ugly!
And the standard HAS certainly gotten ugly.
The modern standard for beauty seems to get more and more demanding in it's appetite to me met. What was considered beautiful 20 or 30 years ago, now seems like a bad joke. No doubt, if Marilyn Monroe were alive today, she'd be told to go on a diet. If Jackie Kennedy had aspirations today, she'd be admonished to get her teeth fixed. This isn't being mean, it's simply the reality in our culture today. And what's interesting is that women haven't changed, only the standard of beauty has changed. A demanding standard
You know what makes the beauty standard so ugly? It's demanding. Demeaning. Fickle. Impossible to satisfy. The standard says, "You're not skinny enough! Only skinny is beautiful!" And so we diet and deprive ourselves until we've reached that elusive Sz 2 (or at least as small as we can get) only to hear the standard say, "Oh, cool! You're skinny! But in losing all the weight, you lost your boobs! UGLY!" Oh okay, well thank goodness there are breast implants. Whew! Crisis averted. The standard teases us with, "Gee, if only you didn't have those laugh lines around your eyes, you could really be a looker!" Off we go to get wrinkles botoxed or stretched off our faces. Surely now that insatiable standard will be satisfied. But nooooo, "Wow! What did you do to your face?! You can't even express an emotion on your face!" Or how about this standard quip? "A woman has to be young to be beautiful." And so we buy every cream that promises us a youthful glow. We try to adjust our wardrobes so that we can still make our womanly selves appear more "girl like". And even for that we get, "Haven't you heard? Women over 35 aren't supposed to wear a mini skirt! Can't you act your age?!"
There have always been differing and changing views of what is seen as beautiful in a woman. And, as women, we jump on the treadmill trying to keep up with them. I mean, what woman doesn't want to be thought of as beautiful? I know I do! I don't think it makes me shallow. I think it makes me human! Call me crazy, but I think ALL women are beautiful. And I'm not talking about the "Well, she has such a good heart" kind of beauty, I'm talking about genuine attractive beauty. Just like we are. All different shapes and sizes. All different ethnicities. Whatever your weight. Whatever your age. So the reality is that I don't need to change. And neither do you. The only thing that needs to change is the fact that we give a crap at all what some marketing agency or industry tells us what is and isn't beautiful.
So the next time that ad or commercial says to you, "Hey I know you. You used to be beautiful!" You just hold your head high and say with confidence:
Have you read Vahni's latest post on Feel Fit February? If you haven't click over, read it and come back please! And while I was typing this, I clicked over and she already has a new post about the scale, so please read it as well. I think you'll either see yourself or many of your friends in how Vahni describes her relationship with the scale.
Body obsession has been a theme of my life. My epitaph could read "She always wanted her mother" or "She dieted"! Because I've spent the bulk of my life doing both of those. And it doesn't make for a happy or content existence. Think about the demands we make on our bodies. We expect it to give us....
Our desired weight number
Our desired waist size
Our desired thigh, hips, butt, bust size
Our desired clothing size
Our desired proportions
Immune against sickness
Surely, if our bodies could talk to us audibly, they'd be saying, "Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!"
Why, really WHY is it so hard to just be thankful for our bodies? Why do we see our appearance as a barometer of how desirable we are? Why does a number on a scale or the fit of a pair of jeans control our mood, our self esteem? Why do intelligent, bright, creative and beautiful women obsess over something as fickle and superficial as weight/size?
No finger pointing here, because as I've said, this has been a struggle for me and I'm just OVER it! At 46 years old, I don't want to head into my 50's STILL obsessing about my weight.
I have a wonderful friend who is a trainer and an athlete. Mandy and I have worked together and had TONS of conversations about weight and our/most women's obsession with it. I love her healthy attitude toward her body. She feeds it real food and works out. Mandy admonishes her clients to "let your body just BE"; stop trying to GET it to look a certain way". Isn't this brilliant! What a concept!! Let our bodies BE! Treat our bodies with kindness. Feed my body well with the food it needs. Rest it well. Think on good things and relax the brain. And then, wherever my body "lands" after that, that's where it supposed to be.
And that's what I'm trying to live now! Just let my body BE!
By the way, is this a cultural phenomenon among American women? Do women in other countries give much thought to the size or weight of their bodies? If you have any answers, I'm all ears!
Blouse: Silk, Ellen Tracy, thrifted Boots: Jessica Simpson via TJ Maxx Pants: J Crew
Like how I used a butterfly sticker to cover the dumpsters??
While I'm not usually a fan of embellishments, I do love the corset laces in the back of the boots!
Okay, so I had to put on a bit for my sweet baby! He played photographer and I played DIVA!