The other night I saw a commercial from Dove and instantly got stabby. Why? Because I thought it was going to be another women-aren’t-good enough-unless-they-are-perfect message. But it wasn’t. Here’s the commercial…go watch it and tell me it doesn’t hurt your heart just a little.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a war on women in our country. And we’re letting it happen. Not only are we allowing it, we are willing participants. It’s not only being conducted by our politicians; it’s in the media, it’s in the mommy wars, it’s in the way we judge each other for the way we look.
I read this post over at Beauty Redefined: Taking Back Beauty for Females Everywhere and was especially hit by this passage:
We are asked to believe our power, our very identities, our worth, all lie in our bodies because we ARE our bodies. So we are asked to fix every part of our bodies – from the wrong-colored roots of our hair to the scratchy bottoms of our feet and every new flaw in between , (baggy eyelids, insufficient eyelashes, saggy knees, cellulite, stretch marks, and every other sign of life). Men are not asked to fix these “flaws” because this is women’s work – a work that must last a lifetime.
I like to think I am above all this. I rarely wear makeup. I’ve let my hair go grey. But as I sat yesterday morning piling on potion upon potion to prevent/combat wrinkles, it hit me that I am a very real part of this.
Which made me think even more about the time I spend trying to meet some small standard of the beauty ideal. I figure I am permanently excluded because I am fat. But maybe–just maybe–I can do something that cuts me some slack.
For instance, my quest for the perfect lipstick color. Right now I probably have fifteen different lipsticks in my purse. I wear lipstick maybe once every two weeks. Last week I spent 45 minutes to an hour at various stores looking for The Perfect Shade of Lipstick. It has to exist, right? I should have wonderful lips like they show in magazines and on TV, right?!
I didn’t intentionally go to any store to look for lipstick. While running errands I eased into the cosmetic departments and perused. It just happens…the lipstick displays are like a magnet to me.
What would happen if I found the right shade of lipstick? The logical part of me knows that nothing will happen. I will have different colored lips. I will forget to wear the lipstick. But there’s a little part of me whispering in my brain that if I find The Perfect Shade of Lipstick my life will become spectacular!
Where the hell did that little part of me come from? I’m supposed to be above that! I avoid women’s magazines for the conflicting messages they send. I don’t believe that only thin people are beautiful. Yet, here I am wasting time looking for something that doesn’t exist.
Sadly, this is the message we are giving our daughters and our sons. I wonder what Aaron thinks when he’s with me as I go on safari for that elusive creature–The Perfect Shade of Lipstick. Does he think this is how I spend my days? Will he expect girls his own age to spend time so frivolously?
Do we really want this to be the message we continue giving to our children (boys and girls!)? Is this the message American women want to continue giving to the rest of the world–we are nothing but our looks?
Think about it…