Monday , 22 December 2014
Inspiring Lives

VIDEO: This Is What a Real Woman Looks Like

Isn’t it crazy how we women are so much more self-conscious about the way we look than men?

I’m sure I had some self-consciousness regarding my appearance when I was a little girl, but when I hit puberty it reached a whole new level. My attention started returning to this fundamental reference point so frequently, so naturally, that it became like any other bad habit—at first innocuous, later bothersome, until it reached a peak in my late teenage years, and my desperation to free myself sent me searching for answers.

I know I’m not alone in this. I see it in women all around me every single day. But it’s sometimes so subtle that we fail to recognize the signs of just how tightly our self-worth is woven into the way we happen to look, and the images we get fed from the media on a daily basis don’t make it easy to imagine another possibility.

Plus, there’s a catch-22 if you try to go the opposite route, because disregarding the way we look isn’t all that great, either. I tried it in my twenties—everything from a shaving my head to growing dreadlocks, from never shaving to never wearing makeup. I rarely cared what I wore, no matter what the social circumstances were. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t exactly help me in my search for a decent job.

Over the years, the thing that has helped me the most and finally shown me a path between those two extremes—of obsessive concern vs. outright lack of care—is getting real about this as a shared predicament that we all face as women. By speaking about it together with others, we can start to objectify this obsessive tendency in ourselves and learn to break free, uncovering the healthy self-image and innate beauty that exists in us all. It’s a kind of beauty that no amount of Photoshopping can ever imitate.

That’s why I love this video. It features real women being honest, real women breaking free, and real women beginning to see some of the reasons why we’ve all been lured into this “bad habit” in the first place. Enjoy, and let me know what you think…

2 comments

  1. I just have to say, I *LOVED* this video!! I related to everything about it and I am now CRYING. All my life I have felt that I am too fat, my nose is too big, my chin is too round, my mouth is too small. I look pretty ONLY if smile a certain way….blah blah blah. It isn’t only the media though, it is my Mom saying stuff like…”you’re so pretty, if only you’d lose some weight” “you have such a great personality, if only you’d lose some weight” “you are so smart…” and on and on. So, a viscious cycle of not feeling attractive and giving off the uncomfortable in my own skin vibe, which led to not dating much which led to feeling even LESS attractive and more uncomfortable.

    I think it is changing and I think this video will help. Thank you for doing this and for showing me that I am OK just the way I am. *I* am what a real woman looks like!

    • Thank you for your comment Debbie! I’m so glad you are recognizing the value in this.

      It’s definintely not just in media! But media does reinforce and distort it in a major way. I also find it’s deeply rooted in the way we relate to each other as women, sister to sister; mother to daughter, friend to friend. It’s understandable because how we look has meant so much for women’s survival and success in the past, so it feels natural to want that for the people we care about. But times are achangeing and our success is no longer based on attracting the best mate. In some places it still is…

      It is also true that external health reflects internal happiness, and I think one of the symptoms of this level of self-consciousness and equating our self-worth with the way we look, is how it creates depression, inertia and lethargy because it literally highjacks our awareness of the vibrancy of every moment and drains our interest in life. Who’s going to be motivated to make the changes THEY want to make, like exercising and eating right, if they are mired by this heavy weight? We need to find the motivation to make changes in our lives because we love life, period. I think the kind of awareness you are seeing is just what can catalyzes this different perspective. What do you think?

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