When it comes down to it, no amount of make-up and exercise can mask an ugly character. Perhaps it’s time for us to revisit/redefine our notions of beauty.
Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor with CBS WKBT, stood up for herself and by extension, for all women who have been ridiculed, maligned, hurt, bullied because they did not fit into stereotypical images of beauty.
On behalf of all of us at WWN, I salute her courage and confidence. Enough of the unhealthy stereotypes about beauty, by the media, fashion industry and society in general. To Jennifer, we give a well-deserved salute: You go girl!!
(I wrote this post a few years ago and it was originally published on August 12, 2012). Enjoy!
We are bombarded with the images everywhere – skinny, gaunt, sometimes very unhealthy-looking models and celebrities, held up by a jaundiced media as the definitive image of feminine beauty!
And gullible fools that we are, we unconsciously tend to accept these misconceptions and even begin to develop and view our own body image through these foggy lens. Whose voice is in your head, dictating your idea of what beauty is?
Recently, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, one of the most beautiful women in the world unwittingly became the focus of the much debated issue of ‘beauty’ and the unreasonably and unhealthy standards that society holds women to.
For those of you who are fans of world cinema, in particular, India’s Bollywwod, she is a talented and outstanding leading lady who has featured in movies such as Devdas, Bride and Prejudice and Dhoom 2. She even held the title of Miss World in 1994 and is also a spokesperson for Revlon.
A few months after having her baby, she was heavily lambasted in her home country for not losing the ‘baby weight’ in stellar time.
People were vicious in their criticisms, calling her ‘ugly’, ‘fat’, ‘dowdy’, etc.
One of her critics had this to say: “She needs to learn from people like Victoria Beckham who are back to size zero weeks after their delivery.”
She took the criticisms in stride and in her usual classy manner silenced her naysayers by stating categorically that she is in no hurry to lose the few extra pounds she gained during her pregnancy and that she simply wants to ‘enjoy motherhood’.
She hopes to get back in shape gradually, with exercise and a healthy diet, but her daughter’s welfare would be paramount.
Her response to the backlash represents a new voice for women around the world. We must be bold in celebrating who we are and loving ourselves just the way we are. It is great to work towards a sexier and lovelier you but it should be based on a healthy foundation and not a warped definition of beauty.
Ladies, let’s look at the concept of beauty holistically. Change happens; our bodies evolve over time due to age, childbirth, environmental pollutants, stress, health issues, hormonal changes and life in general. We can manage some of the fall-outs but we cannot eliminate them entirely.
Our hairs will turn grey, laugh lines will appear and then transform to deep wrinkles, once full and firm breasts will sag and point south :-), skin will lose its elasticity and youthful luster, our once smooth and silken skin will become a canvas to stubborn stretch marks, cellulite and brash varicose veins…..
Yes, based on individual preferences, you may choose to preserve your youth through the use of either invasive or non invasive surgery, creams, lotions and potions, a healthy (strict) nutrition and exercise regime, simple or exotic spa treatments etc. In my opinion, these are all acceptable as long as these decisions are done from a healthy mindset.
The fact that our bodies change does not make us less beautiful. This idea of holding ourselves to unreasonable and unhealthy standards of beauty has to stop! Arise and own your femininity. You are wonderfully and beautifully made.
It is finally time to reclaim what it means to be beautiful. Yes, do a soul-searching exercise and ask yourselves this question: What does being beautiful look and feel like to you? Not society’s take on it.
Forget about the popular magazine editor’s photo-shopped version, definitely not the delusional male fantasy version. There’s a reason why the world is made up of human beings and not clones and that’s exactly what makes it such an interesting place.
We all have different forms-body shapes, orientation, size, colour and texture. The focus should be on being healthy and not on mere vanity. Don’t get me wrong, looking good is great but a healthy body image is more important.
It starts from the inside; from the mind, spirit and soul before reflecting outwards to the outside. People see you through your own eyes. Begin to see and embrace yourself as beautiful.
Remember, being beautiful and sexy is simply a state of mind; it’s an attitude, an essence, a feeling from the inside-out. It is an invisible sign around your neck that proclaims how much you love yourself, accept yourself and are comfortable in your own skin.
Want to bring your sexy back? Try adorning yourself with these inexpensive gifts: Respect for self and others, Joy, kindness, empathy, a sense of humour, an open curiosity about people, a spirit of forgiveness, desire to serve others, a sense of adventure, a healthy self-esteem, confidence and love! We do not have to bow to the dictates of a ‘photo-shopped’ world.
Live Beautifully! Live Passionately! Live Freely!
Blogger’s Note: Two Months after this post was first published, Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor with CBS WKBT, stood up for herself and by extension, for all women who have been ridiculed, maligned, hurt, bullied because they do not fit into stereotypical images of beauty (propagated by a media steeped in an unhealthy culture of body shaming).
The Whole Woman Network (WWN) community salutes the many ‘Jennifers’ out there in the real world. It is time to reclaim our power, revisit and redefine what a healthy narrative of beauty looks and feels like to us.
Let us celebrate all women (and men), who work hard, raise families, give back to their communities and sow seemingly small (yet effectively powerful) seeds of love, service and value, in an often shallow world (that’s sadly in dire need of a deeply true and meaningful sense of beauty). YOU are the beautiful ones! Cyber-hugs,
Here’s the link to the clip of the amazing Ms Livingston: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUOpqd0rQSo
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Love, Light & Truth!
- Body Image and the Media – What Has to Change? (toughandtiny.wordpress.com)
- Love My REAL Body Campaign (iam30something.wordpress.com)
- Boosting Body Image and Self-Esteem (everydayhealth.com)
- Beauty has no size (hebslimdown.wordpress.com)
- That’s what makes YOU Beautiful … (simplymejustbe.wordpress.com)