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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beauty May Fade, But You Don't Have To

These two ladies have been in the news a lot lately. Both of these successful actresses have been rushed to the hospital via ambulance to deal with problems allegedly ranging from substance abuse to eating disorders. But I think there's a common thread here - one of self-esteem, and having it too locked into what they look like in an industry based very much on looks.

In Hollywood this is particularly prevalent. It's an industry where women are supposed to be stick thin (but have big breasts - something of an anomaly) and be forever youthful. That's not possible. We are all aging and gravity and time will have its way with us. And it's okay.

That said it doesn't mean you don't take care of yourself and that you just give up. I'll be honest, what I look like matters to me. A lot. It is not what defines me, but I like being considered attractive. It's a fine line to dance across - to be okay with the fact that all of us are aging every single day, but knowing you don't have to not care what you look like.

What saddens me is quotes from Demi Moore where she talks about in her darkest moments feeling unlovable. I know she's not alone. I have those doubts too, and fight against feeling my greatest value is my body and face. As a culture we need to change this. We need to stop making women who've just had a baby feel inadequate because they don't match the "body after baby" magazine covers assaulting them in the checkout line at the supermarket, or that we have some cellulite, or some wrinkles. We need to be kinder, to each other and ourselves.

For women like Heather Locklear and Demi Moore the pressure to be perfectly youthful forever is what most women experience, magnified. As a culture we are youth obsessed, and if it's your face being projected on to a huge screen you are going to feel the pressure to be plumped, Botoxed, and pulled. And when you see the younger and prettier girls nipping at your heels, it's got to be overwhelming and scary.

We need to stop glorifying women who look like pre-pubescent boys, expecting ourselves to go through 9 months of pregnancy and be bikini ready in three weeks, to be a size zero and to never age.

I am a five-foot-ten inch size 8-10. I am considered by model standards to be "plus sized." Models my height are size 0-4.  We don't need to err on the side of obesity, but we need to get real. As in real women have breasts, hips, thighs... we have curves! I don't desire to be skinny, and I think being skinny would make me less appealing and attractive. Who wants to hold someone who feels like flesh over bones?

My hope is that with help both these women will begin to see their true value isn't just what they look like. And my bigger hope is that as we see more Meryl Streep's we will see that we can be beautiful at any age, and that we have much more to offer than a size two ass. Maybe when more women begin to have power in Hollywood that will happen. But for today, love yourself, take care of yourself and accept yourself.

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