It's the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign and I can't help but feel overwhelmed by how amazing this is.
I don't know why, but for the past couple of weeks I've just been thinking about how self-esteem, male or female, has been such a huge target. I guess working with 10-11 year old girls and boys at church, you really start to hear and see how the media affects them. You're probably thinking, "10 and 11 year olds? No way..." but honestly, they're not immune to the influences of TV or radio. Even with great parents who try their best to keep that crap away from them, they still see, hear, or watch things that form their young minds.
And what does the media teach us? Well, basically if you're not a size 2 (I think it's moved down to a size 16 in juniors... jk... but seriously), then your deemed fat, and if you're fat, you're ugly. For boys, if you're not huge and muscular and cut, then you're wimpy. If you don't do drugs and get high, then you're weird. And sex? Forget about it... it doesn't even matter if you're in love. You can apparently have sex with anyone at anytime because if you're not, then you're not living life.
I'm absolutely tired of this. Why is this the standard of beauty?
I'm pretty sure the doughnut in my stomach just exploded with agony. And because of that, I'll need to eat another one. They are so skinny! I feel like if the wind blew, their frail little arms and legs would flap around as their bodies took flight. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful in their own right, but this is NOT the standard we should be setting for ourselves. I will never be that small, mainly because I DON'T want to be that small. Food is just too good.
Here is a "plus size model":
Seriously? That's my body type... but I'm not plus size.
So what do we do about all of this? Do we just continue to tell ourselves that this new diet will work, or if I run 1298302 miles a day I'll be beautiful? As Big Sean so artfully said, "But the grass ain't always green on the otha side, it's green where you water it." We need to water the grass on our side. But how do we do that?
We start a rebellion.
Yup, a rebellion. We fight, because our enemy isn't going to let up unless we kick back. All rebellions start with a planted thought; something that takes a hold of you, and can't seem to leave you alone. What if that thought was that the media was wrong? What if I told you that no matter whether your thighs touched or not, you're beautiful. What if I told you that the media is wrong in telling you that the less clothes you wear, the more worth you are. Women shouldn't be walking around, wearing skimpy clothing to get attention. That's not the type of attention we deserve. We shouldn't be looked at by how we look, but by how we act. Our deeds, not the our style of clothing, should tell you what type of person we are.
This isn't easy though; no rebellion is. It isn't easy to say that our love handles are beautiful. It isn't easy to say that our flabby arms are what we've always wanted. But what I've learned in life is that those things that are worth having, are always difficult to attain. Self-esteem is worth having. Waking up in the morning, staring at your make-up-less face and still believing you're beautiful is worth it.
Women are inherently beautiful, whether short, tall, round, skinny, freckled, curly, pear shaped, etc. We are beautiful because we each carry a light within us, a light no other person can claim or copy. We are all different shades, but just because my shade of light is different than the next persons, doesn't make my light any less bright or beautiful. We all need to shine our light out, and be obnoxiously proud of it.
Imagine a world where all women shone brightly. Where young girls growing up were able to just be kids, not constantly bombarded with the heavy stress of having to "fit" into the mold. Where women around the world wake up every morning knowing their self worth, and where they went to bed knowing that their light made a difference, even if it was small. Where teens who are "finding themselves" don't need to turn to clicks and fashions to be able to define themselves. Where mothers see the changes in their bodies, and fall in love with every single stretch mark because making life is a gift uniquely theirs. Where matured women look into a mirror and feel pride instead of shame at the sight of a wrinkle. Each is earned, not just given. I bet anyone who looked at Earth from space would think it on fire from all the light.
I love being a woman, for we are powerful, chaotic and impulsive creatures. We are sensitive, sympathetic, and kind. We are motherly, stern, and demanding. We are expectant, strong, and true. We are everything, and the world needs us. Our counterparts need us. Our children need us. Our families need us. Being called to this vocation is not an easy burden to bear, but it is one given to those who are strong enough for it. We all need to show this world what real women are like; we need to stand up and fight, saying no to the media's display of "feminism".
Join the rebellion and start loving yourselves, because true happiness starts when you realize that you're your best advocate.