CHARLOTTE: You know, no matter how good I feel about myself if I see Christy Turlington, I just wanna give up.
MIRANDA: I just wanna force feed her lard, but that’s the difference between you and me.
CARRIE: What are you talking about? Look at you two, you’re beautiful.
CHARLOTTE: Oooo I hate my thighs.
MIRANDA: Oh, come on.
CHARLOTTE: I can’t even open a magazine without thinking “thighs, thighs, thighs.”
MIRANDA: Well I’ll take your thighs and raise you a chin.
CARRIE: I’ll take your chin and raise you a … (points at nose).
(All look at Samantha expectantly)
CARRIE: Come on.
SAMANTHA: I happen to love the way I look!
–Sex and the City
Why is that so hard for us? Why is it so hard for us to love our physical selves? And why, when we hear Samantha’s statement, we inwardly judge and label her conceited or vain? I happen to believe every single one of us is beautiful. No, really! I believe it with my entire soul. With everything that I have. The problems do not lie in our physical bodies but rather in our minds. Yes, I believe we’re all CRAZY for not believing ourselves to be beautiful.
If your first response is to blame the fashion industry I’m going to roll my eyes and say “give me a break!” So don’t do it. Don’t blame the fashion industry. Don’t blame society. WE keep the fashion industry, exactly as it is, in business. We’re the ones who buy their magazines, we’re the ones who love to ogle “beautiful” people. And society? News flash, that’s US. We put OURSELVES down, we have idiotic and impossible “beauty” standards for ourselves. And really what’s in our heads is not even true beauty. It’s a fictional, two- dimensional and sterile perfection, void of any character or soul.
One of the moms I photographed brought her son with her to our session. My makeup artist did a phenomenal job on her, and coming out of the dressing room she looked and felt gorgeous. She turned to her son asking him what he thought. He glanced at her, may have shrugged his shoulder and returned to his video game. To him there was no change because he already KNEW his mother’s beauty. He saw it every day with or without the fancy hair and makeup. Because beauty comes from the inside, and the only ones who have a hard time seeing our true selves is us.
I believe we moms need a little help seeing how beautiful we are. I based my photography business’ beauty brand on this belief. Any woman can look like a cover model with the right tools. And really only a few tools are needed: great hair and makeup, great light and some guidance in posing. That’s it. Now think for a second about the amount of work that goes into a fashion shoot. I’m sure we’ve all seen Top Model. I mean, no wonder those women look flawless. It takes an army working behind the scenes to achieve that standard.
So yes, absolutely, you are beautiful too. You just don’t have an army of “beauty” experts following you around everywhere retouching your makeup, fluffing your hair, bathing you in the most ideal light. This should not be a beauty standard! It’s a mere snapshot of a perfectly orchestrated moment in time. To want to physically look like that snapshot ALL the time is a ridiculous desire, not to mention impossible and maybe just a little nuts.
So mamas, let’s shake it off! Let’s CHOOSE to believe that we are beautiful. Let’s begin by making a promise to ourselves that we will no longer put ourselves down. When we look in the mirror, instead of abusing ourselves with hurtful, derogatory words that no one else would ever say to us, let’s find the things we like about ourselves and honor our bodies. When the women around us engage in self-critical conversations, let’s choose not to participate. Let’s silence our ego’s need to feel special through our “defects” and let’s rise above it by giving thanks for the miracle that is us. Soon, I promise, it will become a habit, as it should.
And, if you find it hard at first, just take a moment and imagine your child looking in the mirror and talking about themselves with the same kind of venom and self-hate you probably display toward yourself every day. Isn’t THAT a sobering thought?! You know that they are perfect no matter what, and you should know that you are too.