Song: "The Story" by 30 Seconds to Mars
I read a post by an author friend, Janette Rallison, on her blog which spurred this soapbox speech. Here's her post, which is really good. I encourage you to read it after you read mine (of course). *Side note: Janette writes clean, fun YA books for girls. I get to read and review her next one before it comes out and I am sooo excited :)
Since I just had another birthday and am officially becoming old and crusty, I can look back on my loooong life and see how things have changed in many ways. (I know I'm not that old, which makes some of these changes a little more eerie.)
I've actually been thinking about this subject quite a lot, and in my crustiness, I think that as a society we are completely, totally, and obsessively obsessed with beauty. Especially women. Perhaps some of that is because of the fairly new cosmetic surgery that allows us to enhance, tuck, reduce, color, and change almost anything on our bodies.
We are slammed with what is considered "beautiful" everywhere we go, and of course we feel inferior and like we don't measure up. Guess what? It's because we can't. Because what is touted as "beautiful" has also been enhanced, tucked, reduced, color-enhanced, and photoshopped so that it isn't even real.
When I was 18, I dipped my toe a little (a very little) into modelling. And I learned that if I had professionals fixing my hair and makeup for an hour, and then 200 tries (the number of pictures taken for the shoot) to look fantastic, then I could be "beautiful" too. I also learned that I wasn't quite tall enough, my chest is too flat, that my eyes can't decide what color to be, and that I show too much gums when I smile. I'm so grateful that career move didn't work out.
Watch this video, and never look at those "beautiful people" the same.
I just finished the YA trilogy of Uglies, Pretties, and Specials, by Scott Westerfield, which is not only great sci-fi, but is scary on the mark with what could happen when the search for beauty goes too far. In this futuristic society, before the age of 16, everyone looks different and is called an "Uglie." Then, at 16, everyone goes through a surgery to become a "Pretty." Everyone is supermodel gorgeous, supermodel tall, with great skin and hair. And no one stands out more than anyone else. (**I definitely recommend these books**) I don't know that we would seriously ever get to this point, but I know many young girls that would jump at the chance to fix everything and wake up gorgeous one morning. And many women, moms, and grandmas.
Real beauty isn't about measuring up to magazines or celebrities, because you will never be able to measure up to a fantasy. Real beauty is from the inside, and the most beautiful women in history had a shine that came through from who they were and how they treated others.
(written by Sam Levenson and often quoted by Audrey Hepburn)
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.
Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!