Yesterday, I saw the latest Dove campaign that is promoting body positivity. There were two doors, one marked beautiful, and the other was marked average. The women who walked through the beautiful door had a big smile on their face. The women who walked through the average door had a look of resignation.
The part that made me cry was all the women who said that if they had the chance to do it over, would choose the beautiful door next time. Is it a crime to feel good about yourself?
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
Girls are taught that self-confidence is attractive, and they are also taught that airbrushed supermodels are the ideal we should strive for. We are taught that we should want to lose 10 pounds (or more!), finding a man is paramount for happiness, and that this lipstick will make us look more desirable. Don’t even get me started on the sex tips that so-called women’s magazines tout as helpful life tools.
We are bombarded with images that are not real all day long every day. Wear this magic bra, and Prince Charming will come knocking on your door… I’m sorry, but, what??? Some guy is going to fall in love with me because my breasts look amazing? This makes no sense at all to me. Wear this skin smoothing foundation, and you will look years younger. This will get him to notice me!
Who on earth is this elusive life partner that is combing the world looking for a girl exactly like me? I mean, who on earth would think that I have something to offer? I am loud, awkward, and a little difficult. I like to say I am strong willed. Where do you meet a man when your favorite activity is going to the movie alone? Or worse, curled up on the couch with a good book?
Even Cinderella required a magic fairy godmother to make her catch the eye of her prince. I don’t have a fairy godmother. I am not interested in internet dating, and I am not an easy girl to fix up. Oh, I had an odd encounter on twitter, where a dude wanted to suck my toes… (that was so uncomfortable.)
Seriously, I like to think that I am interesting, smart, and yes- I think I am a cute girl. I need to lose weight, but that is something I am working on. Does admitting that I would like to find a man make me desperate? The constant editorial running through my head confirms the desperation.
We are told that the fat girl is the sidekick. It is okay to be smart or funny. Don’t kid yourself though, the leading man is never looking for you. He is looking for someone with the whole package. Not the girl who failed to take care of herself. So, are you supposed to wait until you manage to figure out how to wrangle your body into perfection?
Which brings me to another issue.
My body is never going to be perfect. (Turns out that no one has the perfect body, there is always something that they want to change.) My goals have changed from wanting to look a certain way, to wanting to be able to accomplish certain things. This has been the healthiest switch in attitude for me. When I see “AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS TRANSFORMATIONS” I am a little sad. Why do we pretend as a society that life automatically gets wonderful if we lose weight?
I like to believe that I have already started the transformation, and that it is not wise for me to wait until I am “done” to feel confident. Seems to be a mindset thing.
So, here is the point. I am not certain what makes a person beautiful. I know that I am going to treat myself like I am. I am choosing that door.