*KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE OF MY FLESH OUT BEAUTY PHOTOS
“Mommy! You’re so much prettier than the girls on the commercial!”
These are the words of six-year old me anytime a popular shampoo commercial was playing on our television. You see, even at this very young age, I didn’t just watch the commercials, I watched my mom’s reaction.
I was only six years old and I could sense the insecurities, the comparisons, the pressures to look a certain way running through my own mothers mind as these commercials flashed across the screen. I heard the comments about how she wished she were a few sizes smaller, or that she needed to hide her gray hairs that were peeking through as we cut coupons for the latest hair dye treatment that promised a more youthful look (she has since embraced her gray hair and I am proud to say she has let her curly locks grow out full gray. It’s who she is now, and it’s beautiful.).
Kids are like sponges, and like any little girl, I wanted to be just like my mom. Which, spouses beware, we will inevitably turn from drastically, yet return to later on in life. It’s just the natural order of things. Leave it alone.
Even though I tried to combat the commercial’s effect on my mom by telling her she was way prettier, I let the models on TV dictate the way I looked at myself as I grew up.
I gave them a daily voice in my life. One that was more influential and way louder than any other constructive voice I had ever paid attention to before. And I let them direct my life – I didn’t eat so I could be thinner, I “had to” wear makeup everyday and straighten my hair. I “had to” look like those women on the screens and pages. But what about the beauty beyond that I preached of when I was younger?
I can’t help but think about what life would have looked like if I kept my own voice growing up.
Here’s my point: with all the images screaming at us constantly (insert how many ads we see per day statistic here), it’s easier to listen than to have a voice. Our voice, collectively as humans, is taken away. All of us have felt insecure or somehow “not enough” at some point.
And why is that? Is there an image in our minds of what “perfect” looks like? Where did that come from? Chances are, our mentality of comparison came from being inundated with the “not enough” message our whole lives.
I don’t know about you, but when I walk around my current city of Los Angeles, I don’t see only shiny, trim, (cough photoshop cough) 6’2’’ models walking around (which might be the beginnings of a great movie plot…tragedy or comedy? I’ll explore that later).
I see people. Beautiful people, who are so very different from one another, and that beauty needs to be celebrated. Why let the voice of mainstream standards scream loud into our ears as we lay down to rest and as we get up in the morning?
I don’t believe that “positive body image” needs to be a hot topic. I don’t think it needs to be the fad of 2014-2015. I’m writing because I believe we can inundate mainstream media with human-ness. I think we can change the mindset globally of what “perfect lives” look like. Not as a fashion statement, but as a means to embrace humanity.
I get it. Sex sells, I’ve seen an episode of Mad Men. But sex only sells because we let it, and people live tortured lives because they are not genetically or physically able to look like the people they see on television.
*Here are my #fleshoutbeauty images – let’s get more realistic photos of ourselves out there and shift the mindset from unrealistic standards to beautiful human standards. Post a photo of yourself without any filters or edits – the favorite part of yourself – not that anyone else has told you is beautiful, but that you yourself think is just gorgeous and makes you who you are.