What’s Real Beauty?

Watch this video before reading on

(k I had no idea why everything below is so spaced out, I DIDN’T DO IT!!)

 

I wish someone had gotten to me before the media did. How many of us, knowing that magazine girls are airbrushed, look at them and think that we need to look at that? I sure do. I stare at my wobbly bits in the mirror and think how bad they look. People get real close to the mirror and analyze their wrinkles and scars. I find myself poking at my stretch marks and lifting my breasts up as I watch in the mirror, imagining them to be back to their original state.

 

Who said this is beauty? Who started saying that stretch marks and breasts that aren’t large or perky are ugly? Who had the nerve to say my body isn’t sexy?

 

Most of us go on blaming the media, they’re the ones showing us all these fake bodies, glamourizing sex and objectifying women. The problem, though, lies in us. The media would not continue to put such “perfection” on a pedestal if we did not buy into it. I fully and completely buy into it and I can’t get it out of my head. I do want to be skinny for the health reasons but I also want to be skinny so that I fit into the North American standard of beauty. I want my eye brows to be a little higher, my butt to have those lovely creases below it, my collar bone to stick out elegantly. I want that.

 

As I was growing my second baby bump I watched as the last of my “sexy” places was stolen from me. Red stretch marks plowed their way across my tummy and that was it, every spot of my body that’s “supposed” to look perfect is now laden with unsightly markings. They first took my breasts, then my inner and outer thighs. They took my sides and my bottom, then they even took my calves. The last thing they took was my tummy. I was devestaded to say the least.

 

Now I’ve been thinking, why are these markings even seen as ugly? I had the amazing privilage to bring life into this world. My body has stretched and buldged and has brought forth beautiful life. These marks are memories of what miracles this body has performed and now there’s people telling me it’s ugly. My swollen breasts have been tugged and pulled and bitten and they’ve made two beautiful children VERY plump and now, because they’re facing a different way, they’re ugly.

 

I’ve decided to not see it this way anymore. The shape my skin is in right now is nothing short of a miracle. The way it moved and stretched to make room for my beautiful boys, that’s a miracle and screw you if you’re going to hold it in contempt because it’s not perfect anymore. Why can’t stretch marks be perfect? Why can’t my tired breasts be perfect? They are perfect! They’re exactly the way they are supposed to be.

 

I’ve slowly come to this point where I’ve chosen to look at my body in a new way. The fat is not ugly, it’s just unhealthy. The stretch marks aren’t ugly, they’re just markings from a miracle. My breasts aren’t ugly, they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be.

 

Yes, at times I will buy into it again, I’ll probably buy into the North American standard of beauty another million times in my life but I will continue to fight it and I will continue to try to not buy into it.

 

No one can decide for us what we think is beautiful, we can decide for ourselves. We can decide to change our minds.

 

 

Thanks Blue Milk for putting a bug in my ear 🙂

11 comments

  1. Leah – thanks for that post. The first time I saw that second video I was inspired to start my own blog and write about our distorted ideas of beauty – but I never got around to that post. The second time watching that video just makes me want to cry. What will I tell my (future) daughter, when I can’t even overcome the imposed view of beauty myself? I’m with you in the struggle. This is why I love old European nudie art – the artists had the paint brushes and all the power and artistic license to paint a “perfect” woman – but they painted REAL women instead. Here’s to being real!

  2. REAL. Now theres a word. So lets sit up straight , walk with our shoulders back and head held high and smile as often as we can and be beautiful. How’s that.

  3. Leah, thank you for being so transparent. I think a lot (well probably most) women feel this way, but are too insecure to discuss it. You are incredibly beautiful, and this idea of unatainable beauty is a cancer in our culture and to our children’s generation. Anyways, I admire your ability to be so open.

  4. This is a really great reminder for me as my body is creating a little miracle. I already see it changing in small ways and I know soon it will metamorphis a lot more quickly. I love your perspective that stretch marks are beautiful because they are evidence of your body carrying and delivering a miracle. What a beautiful reframe. Thanks Leah for you transparency and inspiration.

  5. Beautiful post from a beautiful woman. I showed my 9 year old the second video and we talked about it. It’s hard for me to overcome years of brainwashing, but hopefully I can prevent her from becoming brainwashed.

  6. Awesome! So true, I totally have been going through all these ideas of “perfection” in my mind latley, as baby #2 grows in my belly I am getting more and more strech marks every day:(, but, I try and remind myself constantly the reasons I have those marks and extra skin! I love what you said about the reasons we mothers have them, (and all the other post-baby or post-weight loss body issues) and how they should be looked at as beautiful! It is hard to be a woman in this world and I hope everyone who reads this will feel even a little more beautiful about themself and who they are, women are miraculous, with or without perky breasts and cute bums! Good job Leah, and again, thanks for the honesty! I admire that!

  7. SING. IT.
    yes. beautiful.
    And why don’t we do a collection of these real beauty stories and publish them or something? I think I’ll copy yours because I love it so much.

  8. What a beautiful post. You brought tears to my eyes, I can’t believe what we put women through – hating their bodies for doing what female bodies do. Your post argued this point so well.

    You write great feminism: brave, gutsy, determined, uplifting, liberating. Good on you.

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