First Posted: 4/1/2009
As warmer days approach, something has been on my mind and it has apparently been on the minds of many other people, and that is looking good for swimsuit weather.
According to Doves Campaign for Real Beauty, only 2 percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful. Using female coworkers as my sounding board for todays column, all I had to do was bring up the topic of body image and beauty to find out that those statistics are pretty much right on target.
Im so fat. Im too big to be a plus-size model. Im going on the Slim Fast diet, were some of the things I heard as I did my research around the office.
Why did God give me these? one woman said as she pointed out the place where love handles would go if she had any.
Ill admit it, I have the same body issues as my coworkers. This became crystal clear the other day when I saw a picture of myself that was taken as I was boarding a cruise ship in November of 2005. When I saw the picture, I first remembered how overweight I thought I was when I went on that cruise and then looking at the picture more than three years later, I thought to myself, Hey, I was looking pretty good, skinny, too.
What I really think makes a person beautiful is more of a question of personality or inner beauty. You can take the most handsome man or the most beautiful woman, but if he or she is stuck up and conceited, or hard to get along with, I would be more inclined to think that person is less beautiful. As the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep.
On the other hand, you can take someone who is considered to be very plain or ordinary, and the person can be the most loving and giving person around their inner beauty shines through.
Then there is a whole third category of people whose insecurities are so overwhelming that it is hard to see their true beauty as well.
The saying goes: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of my male co-workers said that he thinks women of the 1950s era are the most beautiful. Women in those days were curvy and voluptuous. He said that stick thin women come across as unhealthy. I tend to agree with him. I believe that having overall health radiates as beauty.
Dove is working with girls 8 to 17 to build self-esteem, which I feel is very important to stop the cycle of the inferior body image that my generation seems to bear. The company is also educating women who are 50 to 64. The study concluded that 91 percent of women in that age range believe it is time for society to change its views about women and aging. The campaign celebrates the essence of women who are 50 and over who are dealing with wrinkles, age spots and gray hair. As I approach my 40th birthday, I can see how aging adds another layer to the self-esteem issues that women have.
I would like to challenge all women of every age to push aside the Hollywood images that we are bombarded with every day and find a way to embrace your inner beauty and radiate that from within.
So what is it going to take for us to internalize that we are all beautiful in our own way? I think that is a question for the ages. But I hope we do find the answer in my lifetime.
I also believe that Dove is really onto something with its campaign, but it is also up to us, girlfriends, daughters, mothers, sisters and co-workers, to help each other understand that it is the beauty within us that makes us beautiful, and to remind each other of that as much as possible.
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 719-1930.