“It’s not vanity to feel you have a right to be beautiful. Women are taught to feel we’re not good enough, that we must live up to someone else’s standards. But my aim is to cherish myself as I am.”
– Elle Macpherson
Okay so yes, lets get this taken care of from the beginning. The Dove products campaign for “real beauty” is a farce in some ways, and I realize that. [e.g. Why People Hate Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign] It’s a huge corporation, that makes money selling beauty products trying to campaign for the freedom to rock your stretch marks and thunder thighs. No their campaign is not perfect (see link above — and I do agree that they were WAY low on diversity and the overall criticism that the point of the forensic drawing exercise was to describe traditional beauty), but they are the ONLY ones out there showing the world that most real women are not uniformly shaped — they have blemishes, cellulite, and stretch marks — but they still are real women to be appreciated and admired for who they are not what size they are.
Now that we all are satisfied, let’s talk about their latest endeavor. Dove Canada chose to try and tackle the issue of media manipulation head on. Check on this video:
Wahhhh! No seriously. Wahhhha! What are we doing to ourselves women?! After reblog of this post from Kate of “This Is Not A Diet” — this is so timely.
So raise your hand if you do this? Raise your hand if you describe yourself as a hag — when you really are beautiful. I know my hand is up. When I look in the mirror most days all I see are the lumps of fat, the imperfections the should be’s. What are “should be’s”? This “should be” tighter; this “should be” thinner; this “should be” smaller; I “should be” working harder. But the thing of it is — I am healthy, I am strong, I am smaller than I’ve ever been in my life — but it still isn’t good enough. I still am so ultimately critical of myself that I can’t see what others apparently do. I can’t see how proud of me my family and friends are for my commitment to loose the weight I have lost; to be the person I am; to have achieved everything that I have outside of the size pants I wear.
Despite the CLEAR differences I can see when I make myself in the two photos below — I still see the 325+lb woman on the left when I let that critical eye wander down my image in the mirror– not the clearly thinner and trimmer person on the right. [Disclosure — the photo on the left was taken around 2005 during my first year in law school. I’m pretty sure I got heavier than this. The photo on the right was taken in Cozumel in March of this year — so yes it is recent, and its a pretty candid photo as well. I have on no make up (which is my norm) since we were on our way to snorkel reefs — and the t-shirt features Baby Godzilla (from Threadless) in case you are curious!)
This negative eye is an epidemic, this is problematic — and I’m not sure how to solve it. How can we make women see their worth, in a world that mostly sees only their beauty as being valuable. When all you hear about Hillary Clinton is how tired she looks or her bad dress pants, not how smart she is — we know we have issues.
But, what I can do is to be honest about my own issues, and hopefully that will at least make someone feel a bit of comfort — to know that they are not alone, and that LOTS of us are struggling with body image issues. LOTS of us are wondering if we will ever be satisified. So you aren’t alone — don’t throw in the towel, but just work every day to give yourself and your body credit on being fabulous. Whether you keep loosing or regaining those same 10lbs, no matter if you are overweight right now, no matter if you wonder if you’ll ever stop judging your worth by the size number in your pants — you’re fabulous! Yes! YOU! Right there! Someday I’ll believe all the time that I’m fabulous too 🙂
This is NWS for language issues (unless you have headphones on, or an office with a door) but the point remains truthful in my opinion. Why is this a pre-emptive video break — because today you get TWO posts for me — and this one is the lead in. So what do you think — was the joke justified or below the belt? Did the talk show host cross any lines himself?
I struggle with this on a regular bais. 325lb+ me would have been elated to be the size that I am. Thanks to fitspo, thinspo, and even people in my life who talk about my size and weight — I am always trying to be thinner and fitter. Not for me, not in a health way — but to “fit in”. Thanks to Kate for putting my feelings into words.
I’ve been a larger person for the great majority of my life. I’ve never experienced being someone who has teeny little invisible-to-others flaws they pick apart in the mirror. In fact, for most of my adult life I thought it would just be fantastic to wear a size 14 so I could shop somewhere that sold clothes I liked. I never coveted a “thigh gap” or a stomach with so little fat you could see my abdominal muscles. I thought it would be great if my thighs didn’t chafe when I walked from all the rubbing.
The closest I ever got to the nit-picking your body phase was at the end of my weight-loss and the year that followed. I flew past original goals, to wear that size 14 and be able to walk anywhere I wanted to without getting out of breath or chafing my thighs. I was wearing…
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Now the issue of African-American (or black, I am comfortable with either) women and their hair has been talked about in the media to death. With the firing of News Weather Anchor Rhonda Lee (see article here) for her letting a viewer know that she wasn’t ill, just wearing her hair short and natural being one of the most recent “teachable” moments, it’s safe to say that even though it has been talked about to death — it is also a reason.
I have found that this tutorial by Melissa Harris-Perry (LOVE her! She is a kick-ass professor, MSNBC host, published author on amazing topics, mother, wife — she is totally my mentor and dosen’t even know it!) to be very good at explaining the basics of black hair:
I also encourage you, if you are so inclined to watch a pannel discussion that MHP had about the issues of African-American hair: Click HERE. One of the panelist in the video is actress Nicole Ari Parker who has even pioneered a line of hair wraps called Save Your Do (link HERE), marketed to minority women to try and get them to feel comfortable working out. So why in the world would women not feel comfortable working out?