Thursday, July 16, 2009

A woman's beauty

Bear with me... I am trying to hammer this out quickly because I have hosuework that desperately needs to be done. And despite the fact I have been constructing this in my head for probably a week or more, I still haven't really sorted out all the points I want to make, so hopefully this will come out less jumbled on paper (or screen, I guess) than in my head. We can only hope, right?

I have blogged in bits and pieces for a while about the skewed perceptions of beauty in American culture. Pure and simple, I hate it. I hate what magazines and movies and supermodels and MTV, etc, etc., et all have done to convince women of all ages to believe that they are any less than perfect just the way God made them. Let's admit the truth; women are not one-size-fits-all! We come in pear-shape, apple-shape, and banana shape. We have muffin tops. We have excess weight from having babies. We have rolls. We have bubble bottoms. We are bony. We have big chests, and we have small chests. We are tall, we are short. Point is, we're all different, and we need to embrace that, no matter what our culture tells us.

One of the sadder things about that is this. Every woman with access to a mirror will stand in front of the mirror critiquing their own bodies. We stare at the bags under our eyes, the chub around the middle, and stand there and "pinch an inch." We obsess over our "flaws;" our freckles, moles, pimples, grey hairs, uneven eyebrows....

I guess what prompted me to blog about this subject is a theme I have seen and heard more and more lately. Something that makes me a bit sad. Many women I have come across lately - even near-strangers - have commented that they won't leave the house without make-up on. Some even feel ugly without it in front of their closest family members.

Now I'll admit, I like make-up as much as the next girl. But out of necessity, I have begun cutting it out of my daily routine most mornings in the name of devoting more time to getting my kids out the door. A mom has to do what a mom has to do, right? I still prefer to wear it, but I have learned to get past my insecurities and let go of the notion that I look terrible without it. Let's think about this realistically. Do we care when someone else doesn't wear make-up? Or do we see a woman without it and think, "Gee, she looks awful. Look at those awful bags under her eyes! She needs some concealer and eye make-up BADLY!" No, we don't. (Or at least I don't. I guess I can only speak for myself.) So why do we trick ourselves into thinking others think we look awful? It makes no sense.

"Researching" for this blog, I asked my husband if I looked better or worse with make-up on. He told me he didn't really care, unless maybe we were going somewhere fancy. (In which case, yes, I would throw on a little eye make-up and gloss.) But he said something I found really profound and key in making my point. He said, "As long as you're happy with the way you look, it doesn't really matter to me."

I find it somewhat sad that we women have fooled ourselves into depending on make-up for our beauty. Even to the point we think our husbands and close family members will think we are less beautiful.

So what do I believe is most beautiful? What type of beauty do I most admire? I most admire a woman who embraces her own body, is comfortable in her own skin, and radiates an inner beauty - qualities that will never be replicated with eye liner and mascara! And those goes for the grey-haired, freckled, pimply, overweight, underweight....the "imperfect" women. Now that isn't to say the makeup-wearing women I know aren't beautiful on the inside. They most definitely are! But my point is, I would think that regardless of whether they make their faces up or not. What makes these woman beautiful to me is their kindness, character, willingness to give of themselves, patience, genuineness, love for others, laughter, talent....and so on and so forth.

Women, we don't need it!!! We don't need a mascara brush to be beautiful!! Sure, our world tells us that we do, but we don't! We don't need to lose 10 lbs, exercise religiously (although moderate exercise is a good thing), stare at ourselves in the mirror, and cover up our "imperfections." If you are beautiful on the inside, that is all that matters. And the people who love and value you won't think any less of your beauty without it. Your friends, family, children, and husbands will still love you unconditionally. (And if they don't, there is a big problem!) In the words of Dr. Seuss, "Be who you are....because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Those who mind whether or not you are "perfect" don't matter, and those who love you regardless won't mind.

So ladies, let's be a lot less hard on ourselves and focus on where our REAL beauty comes from -- inside!!

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