Thursday, April 5, 2012

Am I pretty like you?

Yesterday I was reading through the brief little bits of news posted on Yahoo. There are always several that catch my attention that I open in separate tabs. When I got to the story about Samantha Brick's article, I chuckled to myself a little bit. Her article was about how being attractive has made some things difficult and other things easy in her life. I initially chuckled because I thought "Yeah, you got it hard when men buy you drinks... don't look a gift horse in the mouth." When I got to the bottom of the article I began reading the comments. That's when I realized humans can be a nasty, vicious lot. I was disgusted and sad.

All throughout the media, woman are brainwashed into thinking that they're not beautiful unless they meet a certain standard. This standard, as the media would have you believe, is impossible to meet unless you are a leggy, nearly-anorexic teen, with long, thick lustrous hair. The advertisers would like you to believe that it all can be attained through the latest cream, diet pill, shampoo, slimmer spanx, make-up, or a visit to any plastic surgeon that happens to be in the area. As much as I love to read the celebrity gossip in Star, they're down right mean when it comes to the issues of "Stars with out make-up" or the "Best and Worst" of stars in their swimsuits. Poor Julie Bowen from Modern Family, who I think is sexy, cute, and funny, got torn apart for having (god forbid) a few little wrinkles on her belly after having kids. **hands to mouth, with bulging eyes** OMG... who does she think she is to put on a bikini??? Get real. She rocks.

There is one good thing, for the reader, that may come out of this... but only one, and it's at the expense of the human being being criticized. For just a brief moment, the reader may look at the picture, compare herself (or himself) and get a small bit of satisfaction that they don't have the cellulite, the wrinkles, the thighs, or whatever it is that they think less of themselves for. For that moment only, they might say to themselves, "I must be OKAY. I don't look like that." But what happens when we change the channel or put the magazine down? We go back to our own "real" life, and eventually pass a mirror. And I bet that when many people who pass that mirror, stop and judge themselves, they're not even remembering the bit of comparison that was made against the star earlier. I'm willing to believe that most just go back to seeing what they'd like to fix. Even the "beautiful" people. Is anyone ever satisfied? I do not know of one person who wouldn't change something, if they had the money and/or the motivation.

Back to the article. These people attacked her by the thousands. They slaughtered her. They ripped her apart. The called her names. They told her she was delusional, ugly, fat, narcissistic, crazy... every imaginable insult that could be hurled, they hurled. Some people even went so far as to point out every single thing that they thought was not beautiful about her. This was from both men and women.

I'm going to compare this to something else to make a point. There is a website that I visit that is a support site for military spouses. Anytime a spouse has a concern about cheating or flirting or even just being away for a long time, the person is usually inundated with responses of how they should be more secure. Some literally pick on the person, instead of trying to help. Honestly, you'd think some of these women doling out advice must be drop dead gorgeous with amazing bodies, and that they've never, ever, ever been cheated on. Either that or they just find it easier to stick their heads in the sand. The reality of it is this: It doesn't matter how attractive you are. Some might be surprised to know that most people who cheat, cheat with someone who is not as attractive as their spouse. So, where does that leave all those women who boast that confidence will maintain a relationship? It doesn't. People who cheat will cheat. Most women are so scared of the "pretty woman", when they should be leery of the woman with less-than-a-model appearance. Even I'm guilty of this on occasion. I remember when I was dating a guy in college and had my epiphany. It was during summer break... the fourth of July to be precise, and I was on the phone with the guy. He told me he'd kissed another girl a few nights prior. I knew this girl. My ego took a blow. I immediately broke up with him on the phone and told him to enjoy himself with her. I hung up and cried for about five minutes. It wasn't because I was heart broken. I was actually a little bit relieved to have an excuse to break up with him. What made the 19-year-old-girl-that-I-was-at-the-time cry was the fact that this other girl had thin lips. Yes... thin lips. I couldn't understand why he'd find her more attractive when she had thin lips. Which leads me to this: Beauty is not solely what the eyes can see. It is a combination of attitude, flair, the sound of a voice, the mannerisms that are unique to that particular person, how loyal they are, how they sing (I find it incredibly sexy when someone who can't carry a tune in a bucket, and knows it, can belt out singing just for the fun of it)... It's any multitude of things, which can only be defined by "essence". Yes, there are the people that are extremely photogenic. It doesn't matter how they stand, which side is facing the camera, whether or not they're wearing make-up, they just end up looking cute in the picture. Yeah... I'm a little jealous of those people. But I wouldn't hold it against them. If anything, I just try to smile bigger the next time I'm caught in a photo with them. It's true that it increases your "face value". My idea is that people who look like they're having fun always look good.

I feel so sad for that poor woman. She was trying to pose a question. One of "why do women treat other women badly because of how they look?" Instead, because she mistakenly phrased it all in a way that came off as vain (and yes, it DID sound vain), she was torn apart. I can only imagine how this will scar her. Will she ever put on a pretty dress and a bit of make-up, take a look in the mirror and think "I look fabulous, dahling!"... or will there always be the vicious remnants of those comments flashing through her psyche telling her a plethora of insults for the rest of her life? I bet the latter.

How are we as women, from childhood to our senior years, ever supposed to believe that we are beautiful? There's always someone prettier, thinner, smarter, funnier, sexier, YOUNGER. Well, for me... I'm just going to keep on fighting the good fight. I have the white girl butt. I have body hair with a sick sense of humor that shows up in places it shouldn't. I have adult acne combined with melasma. I've got a wicked little rash on my feet that only time will heal. My natural hair color (if I remember correctly) is that yuck shade of something that's not blond, not brown, and not even shiny.... hell, it's not even thick. I also have scars all over my body. There's a little saggy skin on my tummy where I gained so much weight during my pregnancy, then lost it a little too quickly a few years later. I have broad shoulders, big feet, no hips, and a chin that I've been told makes me look like I'm related to Jay Leno. I've been told I look like Rikki Lake and Joan Cusack. That last one actually made me cry, and still haunts me. But then again, isn't Joan Cusack beautiful in her own right? I've seen pictures of her where she could be described as pretty.

And you know what? Then there's the other side of it. I've also been told (now this is through many different stages throughout my life) that I look like Drew Barrymore and Princess Di (both in college), Uma Thurman, Mariska Hartigay and Jane Seymour (most recently, and by a few different people). You, the reader, may be laughing. Even I did... but whomever said it must have seen something that reminded them of that person. It may have been something in my eyes, the slant of my nose, the line of my jaw, my hairstyle, the way I laughed... who knows? Either way, I took it as a compliment. They are all beautiful in some way... and so am I. I like my legs. I like how my arms look toned with no effort. I like that, in clothes, I look tall and lean. These are some of the positive things I tell myself. It's important for all of us to find the things we like about ourselves. Mean people will always be around to do their thing... they're not really happy. They're mean because it makes them feel better. Maybe they've been beaten down by other bullies, or told by one too many people that something should be "fixed". Either way, it's sad... and it hurts anyone who is at the receiving end of it.

Think Charlize Theron in that movie "Monster". She was not what one would call attractive if we saw her out in public... then think Charlize Theron in almost anything else. Gorgeous! We just watched her in "Young Adult" the other night. Although she wasn't by any means unattractive, one could see both sides of the coin. Most women don't wake up looking fabulous. It's a process. I can relate to the process she went through to get ready... except for the hair extension/clip, but I'll admit I've thought about buying

So, as much as we've been brainwashed to beat ourselves up over... don't do it. Don't fall for the negativity. If it takes you ten minutes to get ready and feel your best, then good for you. If it takes you two point five hours... then so what?! As long as you look in the mirror and think "That's the fabulous side of ME" then you're on the right path. Don't give those wrinkles, extra pounds, bumps, scars, cellulite... WHATEVER it is that we are mean to ourselves about... any more thought. You got what you got, and there's not much you can do but make the best of it. Slap on that lipstick, put on that push-up bra, do what YOU do to feel pretty, then sing off-tune while you sashay down the street. And know that no matter what.... someone thinks something about you is enviable. While you're at it... hand out a couple of compliments to other women. It'll come back to you, I promise.


  1. I love it! Great post. I am in that Milspouse Forum and I know what you are talking about. I think it's sad when people hid behind their computer and be nasty. Character shows though. Take Care and preach on!

  2. This is just what I needed to read today! You hit it out of the park. We are our own worse critics. For example, I have been trying to lose as much as I can before my hubby comes home. I was disappointed that I didn't lose as much as I wanted (seeing him next week) and how could I let him down. The truth, my hubby married me at my absolute who was I really losing wait for? After reading this I am going to take your advise and try and be happy with what I have. Not that I am not going to continue with making a healthy life change, but I am not going to do it to fit into the mold society tells me I should. The love of my life thinks I am beautiful...about time I started to believe it.

  3. Oh Claire this is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. :)