Why is it that we as American women are enculturated to think of ourselves in terms of how beautiful we are? We are told that we shouldn’t even leave the house without “putting our face on” by the make-up industry.  We have entire networks on television whose stock in trade is to tell us which celebrity women aren’t living up to their manufactured idea of what is beautiful.  We are told by fashion magazines that some airbrushed and photo-shopped model is the perfection. To which we should strive. And from a very young age we buy into that myth. there are even toy make-up kits and dress up clothes for little girls to play with.

Who decided the standard by which we all have  to be judged?  Joan Rivers?

Recently I lost quite a bit of weight for health reasons.  I really bothered me when people made comments about how “Pretty” I looked now that I was thinner. I always thought that I dressed nicely before.  My self image was never tied to my weight, in fact to some extent I began to have more body image problems at the lower weight than I had ever had when I was heavy simply because more people mentioned how nice I looked now.

What would have happened if instead of a controlled diet, I had lost eighty pounds due to an illness such as cancer.  Would people be as careless as to say how much better I looked now that I was at a healthy weight?  What is health in that instance? 

I’m not sure I know the answer to that question.  I just wish all women could be considered beautiful no matter what they looked like, or even better, if we could just stop defining women by their looks. I would much rather be thought of as the thoughtful friend who is always there with a helpful hand or cheerful thought than “She sure looks thin and beautiful”.   Maybe cultivating inner beauty is what I am trying to achieve, but without even using the term beauty.  Inner peace and tranquility.  now that is a movement I can get behind.

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