What is beauty?

July 16, 2007

I am working on building my self-esteem & self-acceptance.  Like many people I compare myself to an imagined ideal, to what could be, what I think I “should” look like.  I think it’s important to build self esteem separately from weight loss, because what you weigh is not your net worth.

Somehow, when I was a workaholic I had less trouble with this issue (or maybe I just had less time to think about it?).  I had lots of applause & approval in my professional life, so even though my body was not ideal I felt pretty good about my mind.  Now that I have managed to beat workaholism and keep work as only a part of my life, I don’t get the same kick from being told I do a good job – probably because I just don’t care that much about what I do at work.  I’m much more concerned with being a good person, a good wife, a good friend. … and, I guess, good-looking.

Recently I’ve been trying to think critically about where these ideas of what I  “should” look like come from.

I’ve found a number of sites on the internet that really help to unravel the idiotic pressure from the media, and build a better vision of reality.

There are 2 great videos to check out :

Dove “Evolution” video, where they show a normal-looking woman modeling & being transformed via technology & professionals to a knockout

Fat Rant, where a beautiful, larger woman fights for her right to not be skinny

I am not totally comfortable w the fat acceptance movement, in that they tend to deny or downplay health risks of obesity, but I do believe we need to accept beauty and health in something other than a 120-pound body.   Here are some sites that are in line w what I think is reasonable

The Campaign For Real Beauty : a ton of interesting sections, including “Real Women Have Curves”

Love Your Body Campaign : the NOW campaign on body image. Has pages of bad &  good ads, plus poster contest.

Jamie Lee Curtis without makeup, without airbrushing – from 2002, one of the first articles I read that got me thinking about how much influence the media has on how I feel about myself.  This woman is gutsy, authentic, and fabulous.

I still read women’s magazines, but less and less.  I still read fitness magazines, but I especially appreciate Self & Fitness, who put in real-size models from time to time, not just the fitness models of Shape & others.

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