I look around me and all I see are beautiful women. All a lot of them see are their flaws. An endless race to nip this and tuck that, too fat here and too skinny there. It’s a race that can never be won, because for every person you might think is perfect, they might look in the mirror at the end of the day and hate what they see.
If perfection is beauty, I want no part of it.
My best friend visibly cringes every time she tries on clothing in a store. She will look amazing but won’t buy a clothing item because of some perceived flaw or insecurity. She’s her own worst enemy and as much as everyone around her tells her she’s beautiful, she doesn’t quite seem to grasp it as a reality.
It’s not men who make us feel this way. I’ve known men who are attracted to fat women or thin women, or women with large or small breasts. Black hair, blonde hair, red hair, green hair, it doesn’t matter. I’ve known men who don’t seem to give a single shit about stretch marks or a less than ideal figure. In my experience it’s rare to see a man trashing a woman’s appearance. No, it’s not men. It’s us. We do it to each other. Women hating on other women. It happens all the time, and I am sick of seeing it.
I see it on message boards and in the comments section of any social media website I’ve ever been on. Women tearing other women down. It’s always confused me. Maybe it’s because of my long history as a portrait artist, or the fact I was raised not to allow physical beauty to dictate my self worth, but I think everyone is beautiful. For every stereotypically “beautiful” woman I see presented in social media, there are at least a hundred comments, usually from women, cutting down what she’s wearing by calling her a slut or a whore, or finding some flaw in her appearance and ripping her to shreds for it.
Remember that Miley Cyrus music video for Wrecking Ball? Honestly, I was never a fan of Miley Cyrus prior to that music video but now I respect the hell out of her. It’s a good song, and I understood the video. It was powerful. Yet, she got torn apart for it because of how she chose to express herself. I watched my Facebook Newsfeed blow up with women posting the video and ripping into Miley about what a “skank” she is and how ugly she looks. Why? The typical excuse is that she’s providing a “bad influence” for young women. I think the opposite is true. Miley is a strong, intelligent and confident woman who is comfortable with her body and with her sexuality. If I had a daughter, those are qualities I’d hope she’d grow up to possess.
I like to think I’m fairly comfortable in my own skin. I don’t obsess over jiggly bellies or saggy boobs or cellulite or double chins. My body is what it is, and I love it and take care of it. But of course, like everyone, I have my moments of insecurity as well. This is a very new realization, but I find my confidence dips along with my depression lows and I start looking for some form of physical validation. I might put a ton of makeup on and hope someone compliments me that day, or I might try to boost my confidence by taking a hundred fucking selfies at just the right angle and in just the right light to look a little bit closer to what I think my own personal ideal should be. I never realized just how ridiculous that is before now. I know it’s unhealthy, and I’m trying to stop.
We all just need to love ourselves more. I know how cliché it is, trust me, but don’t compare yourself with others. Don’t dwell on your perceived flaws. Focus on being healthy in mind and in body rather than punishing yourself. Celebrate your differences rather than trying to hide them. For a number of years now, I’ve made it my goal to compliment at least one person every day. Not only does it bring smiles to the faces of other people, but it makes me feel really good too. As human beings we deal with enough stress and hate and anger in the world without getting extra from ourselves. You are beautiful. Be kind to yourself.
P.S. I know this post has been completely dominated by the female perspective on this. I know men have the exact same problems with insecurities and confidence, but as I’m not male I didn’t feel qualified to comment. I know my readership is mostly female, but if any men read this, I hope you know you’re beautiful and I hope you love yourself, or soon learn to.