As I was walking this morning, eyes to the sky watching the wonderful and expansive clouds drifting by, I was struck by how incredibly beautiful each of the wide variety of cloud formations was. The big, voluptuous cumulus clouds were as beautiful as the thin, wispy cirrus clouds. It occurred to me that there was no definition of what beauty is, when it comes to clouds.
Watching the Dove video that offered women a choice of two doors to walk through—”Average” or “Beautiful”—was a fascinating observation, as no matter how beautiful the women or girls were, they were more inclined to walk through the average door than the beautiful door. With over six million views, the researcher in me thought it would be interesting to post it on Facebook, asking the question, “Be honest. Which door would you walk through?” Everyone in my posse of fabulous women, replied, “Beautiful, of course!” And that’s the way it should be. It leaves me with the question: So why isn’t it?
Dove Is a Pioneer in the Beauty Arena
Dove has been a pioneer in the “beauty” arena, working to shift perceptions of how women see themselves. Their Campaign for Real Beauty, and their Real Beauty Sketches: You’re More Beautiful Than You Think” campaigns, started new conversations in the world; conversations about what beauty is and how we perceive beauty in relationship to others and ourselves.
Perhaps to some, comparing clouds to women doesn’t make sense. It does to me. It points out how selective we are in not only what we see, but how we see it. When we truly “see” someone, they are beautiful for everything they are and for everything they are not.
It got me thinking that when beauty is viewed as a ‘soul’ quality, not just merely a ‘physical’ quality, the way you look at and see another person changes. The person’s smile, or their eyes, or the sound of their voice or the way they toss their hair, becomes more present. That way it is less about an ideal and more about who that person is at their core.
Beauty is Subjective
We’ve all heard the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This is very true. Beauty is subjective. What I see as beautiful, you might not. And vice versa. Beauty to me comes from the inside out, so it truly comes from the soul of the person. To quote American sociologist and therapist Martha Beck: “the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld.” A new definition of beauty to aspire to, with beauty coming from the inside out. The sad part is we have been well-conditioned (up to now) by advertisers to look at ourselves (and this applies to both women and men), as not enough. We are led to believe that we lack something and that a product will fill the void of what’s missing. Of course, we all know this just isn’t true or even possible.
Curious to find out more, I returned to talk with Bruno Gralpois, author of Magnifique Inside and Out, (whom I first talked with for my piece “Real Beauty Comes From the Inside Out“), wanting to hear more about what he had uncovered when exploring and researching the topic of beauty.
Cosmetic Procedure Statistics are Staggering
After all, the statistics are staggering, confirming that in 2014, over 12 billion dollars was spent on cosmetic procedures, all in the name of looking young and beautiful. And this isn’t reserved only for women, as there is a 43 per cent increase over five years in men’s procedures as well. These figures also confirm what Gralpois discovered: that over 90 per cent of both women and men are hyper critical, wanting to change something about themselves, which often stems from societal peer pressure.
Are We Beautiful and We Just Don’t Know It?
The title of the first chapter in his book “Are We Beautiful and We Just Don’t Know It?” brought me back to the Dove video, curious why women have such a difficult time seeing their own beauty. Then I re-watched some of the Real Beauty Sketches, which confirmed for me, that how we see ourselves is generally much less realistic or accurate than others do. We simply are blind to our own beauty.
Back to the most recent Dove study. Their Choose Beautiful campaign surveyed 6,400 women ages 18 to 64 from five cities around the world (San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London, and São Paolo) on how they feel about beauty. Results are quite revealing and a bit sad, confirming we still have a long way to go to shift both how we see ourselves and how we talk to ourselves about what we do see.
While 80 per cent of the women surveyed said that all women have something beautiful about them, an overwhelming 96 per cent said they wouldn’t use the word “beautiful” to describe themselves. And, 78 per cent of women said they don’t feel completely confident in their own beauty. This is very evident in the accompanying video where most women chose to walk through the “average”, not the “beautiful” door.
Women Agree—Beauty Isn’t Only about the Physical
Perhaps more interesting data from the survey was that 32 per cent of women say their biggest beauty pressure is the one they put on themselves, and seven out of ten women agree that beauty is more than physical appearance. Which is my point exactly. Beauty isn’t only about the physical. And this is something Bruno confirmed; women have unrealistic expectations of themselves, as they are often perfectionists.
Strong online criticism for the Dove campaign has surfaced. Why only “average” or “beautiful”, as there are lots of options in between? True. The video’s two-doors were a result of the 2004 Dove study, “The Truth About Beauty,” (updated in 2011), that found that only 4 per cent of women around the world consider themselves “beautiful,” with most saying they’re “average.” When I thought about it, it was easy to say I’d walk through the “beautiful” door, just like all the women on Facebook answered when I asked. Faced with the choice in real life, I wonder what I would have done.
Empowering Women Through “Mindful Me”
To help inspire and empower women to see themselves as beautiful, Dove has also teamed up with psychologist Nancy Etcoff and self-esteem expert Tara Cousineau to create a “Mindful Me” tool kit as part of its newest campaign. You can visit Dove’s Tumblr page to find out more. I added myself to the “beautiful” side after landing on the page and see this initiative as a positive step in a forward direction. For women of all ages.
If we can instill self-confidence and self-love in girls at a young age, perhaps we can turn this distorted view we have of what beauty is around, so that “beautiful,” will be the norm for everyone, rather than the exception reserved for the few.
We’ll begin to truly “see” others for who they are. Not only as physical beings, but in a more holistic way where beauty emanates from the inside-out, and is not merely an unattainable and elusive (and often shallow) goal relating to how one looks only on the outside. Curious to hear if you would walk through the “beautiful” door and what beauty is to you?
So true, Beverley. I find when I am not initially attracted to someone by their physical attributes that changes once I get to know them and somehow those I admire become beautiful to me. And the opposite happens. Someone who may appear to be physically attractive can become quite ugly once you get to know them or simply just unattractive.
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I’d say we all have this similar experience of people, Jennifer, which confirms that the “inner” being is far more important when it comes to beauty than the exterior. Now if only that took hold in society so that we didn’t judge people first by “how” they look, but by “who” they are. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this very large topic!
I tend to suffer from a poor self-image, like many of the women in those Dove episodes. Yet my hubby always tells me he thinks I’m beautiful, no matter how much I weigh or how old I get. Yet, I know true beauty really radiates from the inside out.
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It’s always interesting to hear the outside world tells us we look fabulous and are beautiful and yet there is still the inner voices that tell us something else. I think we all have warped self-image issues at some point in our lives, Karen and yet, hopefully with age, we move past that and strut our beautiful selves with confidence.
I absolutely believe in the “beauty coming from within” concept though it wasn’t always that way. Of course, when we’re young and inexperienced we put so much focus on looks and exterior beauty… Luckily we become smarter with age 😉
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Reading all the replies to this piece, I think many of us “learn” that beauty comes from within as we gain more experience and wisdom in life, Delia. And yes, when you are young and influenced by your peers and the world around you, the emphasis does tend to fall on external, rather than internal beauty. Times are changing, so hopefully the younger generation will truly embrace the beauty from within way of being.
I was going through some family photos yesterday, looking for a childhood photo my daughter wanted me to find. I had seen the photos many times before, but I really noticed this time around just how I did not look my best at all during my 30’s. My haircut was unflattering (what could I have been thinking?), my clothes dowdy-looking, and I was just all around non-descript. It really set me to wondering. I realized that it was a period of zero self-growth and development. It was amazing how much my outside mirrored my inside. At the end of the decade, I went through a serious illness. My recovery period became a time of gratitude and self-reflection. The change in my appearance following this was amazing – without any plastic surgery, mind you. Truly, how we feel about ourselves is key to our own beauty.
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Thanks so much for sharing your story, Jane. It is amazing when we look back and review ourselves at earlier times in our lives. It sounds like you have had a very major shift in your own self perception and that shift has transformed much more than your thinking, but how you look as well. I also believe how we look comes from an inner shift, a deep soul shift. This is my story too. When I was very ill, people couldn’t even look at me. I was severely malnourished and looked like I was on death’s door. I had gone from being “beautiful”, according to others, when I was young to being scary to look at. Sounds like the inner soul work you did when you were ill led to a very profound change for you. I know this journey myself and know it is not always easy to take on and transform. When we heal ourselves, we heal the world. Thanks for being one of those who took on your illness and are here to share your story with others.
I judge inner beauty before outer and it drives me insane that the cosmetics industry is such a lucrative one. I’m glad you mentioned the Dove commercials and the way they are trying to change women’s views of themselves.
I’d like to believe most of us look for the essence, the inner beauty of a person more so than the external, although one look at much of the current advertising and we see what still sells. Dove has been a trailblazer in the “inner beauty” arena and I do believe many other companies are following suit. Empower people, rather than disempower them and sell to their insecurities. Perhaps a new healthy model, Lee. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic too!
An important post, Beverley. So many women take away their own power by worrying about beauty which is a changing concept and differs between different cultures. The true beauty of a woman lies in her Soul and how the world experiences her.
For example, in Africa and Arab countries, a big backside is a sign of beauty and an ode to the Late Maggie Thatcher’s butt was written by the then King of Saudi Arabia! Look at the works of Michaelangelo and you will see well-endowed women as beauties centuries before women became obsessed with the Twiggy-look. Nearer to our times, Marilyn Monroe by today’s standards is obese but in her time, she was hot and considered beautiful.
I was lucky that my parents got me through my teenage years full of acne by telling me to develop a personality and character which would last long after youth faded away and funnily enough the topic of self-confidence on which I wrote my first Kindle book was inspired by this. 🙂
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Thanks for sharing these examples of the ever changing nature of what is in vogue when it comes to women and beauty. And I believe it is changing again. Women are taking back their own power and many of the big brands who used to play to women’s insecurities, are now presenting the opposite side of the conversation. Like you mention, well-endowed women have been the subject of many of the great works of art and only in the 60s and 70s perhaps, did the Twiggy-like look become popular. I fell into that era and always wanted to be as thin as possible because I came from a family of very robust shaped women.
You are luck to have had such a nurturing upbringing, Vatsala, and the fact that it influenced you in a good way. My mother always told me how beautiful I was and that I was not fat and yet, I still saw what I saw. Part of my karma I believe and it was my journey back to health, which I also write about in my book, that came out of this ridiculous quest to be thin. Happy you are sharing your experiences with others in your kindle book. Self-confidence is really so key, especially for young women everywhere. It seems harder to shake what we believe as learned in childhood when we get older. The younger we learn the self-confidence lesson, the better.
I probably would have walked through the average door to make sure people didn’t think I was a wanker. 🙂 But the truth is beauty is about so much more than outward appearance and inside beauty always shines through no matter what – this is the beauty we should all be focused on. Great article Beverley. Dove is doing amazing things for women’s attitudes. 🙂
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Seems as we all gain wisdom with getting older, the ideals we held so dearly when we were young, are replaced by deeper ones, Tamuria. Especially when it comes to “beauty”. A big topic and yet one that still seems a hot conversation regardless of age. Beauty is about something much more than the external and yet, massive industry has been built on the insecurities surrounding it. Yes, Dove and other companies are finally turning the page and created a new story when it comes to beauty. Glad you enjoyed this one! Seems it strikes a chord for different reasons in each of us.
Very interesting topic and one that will probably ring true for years to come. I would probably have walked through the average door myself. 1 because I believe it to be true and 2. even if I thought of myself as beautiful, I wouldn’t want to appear conceited. So I believe there are 2 perspectives going on and maybe even a bit of a tug of war going on inside some of the women’s heads before they chose!
Most important is that we like who we are. Do we believe we are good, kind, generous, caring? The rest really doesn’t matter. i’ve dated men that I didn’t think were “handsome” but as we got to know each other they became better looking and vise versa.
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I so agree with you about initial attractions to others and how that can shift, Lisa. The essence of the person is where the beauty comes from and can only be seen and known by getting to know the other. The most beautiful people, often become less attractive once they speak, and like you’ve noted, the less attractive person, might look better as you get to know them.
And I also believe that there is both the core belief issue and then the not wanting to look too conceited part too to how people act. Women reported being torn between what they believe and whether they show it. It is challenging to strut your confidence for many women and yet I only hope it is getting easier for women as things are changing and there is more acceptance. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and there appears to be an acknowledgement that beauty is truly individual.
Why don’t more women think they’re beautiful? Because there is a multi-billion industry out there whose main goal is to tell you you’re not. But you COULD be if you only bought XXX. Beauty truly is an inside job and those who would judge us on our outward appearance… Well, screw them.
Love your attitude on this topic, Jackie! Yes, a multi-billion dollar industry has been built on women’s (and men’s) insecurities and instead of playing to our strengths and uplifting us, it tears us down and then sells us something. Outward appearance is so superficial and once we individually recognize beauty is an inside job, maybe more women will feel comfortable telling the “surface only” viewers to get lost!
I’m going to come back and read this post several times. I don’t think I’m very beautiful in much of anyway, but I think I do need to tell myself that more. I need to start using daily positive affirmations to change my thinking. I deal with depression and have read that this can make a positive change.
Thanks for your openness and honesty in your comment, Ruth. I think whatever works for someone to help them, is very worth doing. It is often different for us all. As far as “beauty” goes, I read someone who described themselves with more than just one word. Beauty comes in many forms. It can be sensitivity or compassion towards others. I have a quote on my piano that says, “Pretty is not a look, it is a feeling” and I think all of us have to find that “feeling” within us. I hope that affirmations help you to find your beautiful self. The beauty is there within us all. It is often a journey to find it.
There was most definitely a period of time in my life (15 years – to be more accurate) when I would have walked through the average door, and had there been one below that I may have even chosen that door. It was a very dark time in my life where I truly felt ugly on the inside, which literally permeated on the outside with cystic acne that covered my face, neck and back, weight gain, and violent mood swings. But those days are far behind me now. Now at 50, I am probably the heaviest I’ve ever weighed, with the exception of my pregnancies, and I feel more beautiful than ever. It’s mostly because I addressed the emotional healing that needed to take place in my heart, but I also addressed the nutritional factors that were impacting my health. Thanks for your thoughtful post Beverley!
It is always interesting to hear how women shift and change as they gain more life experience and wisdom, Melanie. I was always very preoccupied with how think I was and created a life long health issue (I’ve transformed it now), that had me so think during my early 50’s that people would gasp at me when they saw me. I was so ill I looked like I was on death’s door. And I was considered “beautiful” when I was younger, yet was so shy that I didn’t feel comfortable being seen as beautiful, as I wanted to be seen as smart. Sounds like you have done a major transformation in your own life and how wonderful you can now share your experiences and empower other women to reconnect with themselves and to find their way to acceptance and health. It always begins within, and from there…all things become possible! Thanks for sharing so much of your journey with us all.
Beverley OMG! can I just tell you Love it – This was one the main reasons I created WABM it’s not only critical for girls/women, boys/men also see them self in the same way. Thousands of women and men refused to even tell them self they are beautifIul. I’ve met and interviewed amazing people, I often would ask how they see them self some would state, a leader, creative, powerful, Mother, Dad etc. but when this question was asked in many different ways; tell us why you are Beautiful, They would keep repeating the question or simply say I’m not Beautiful and laugh at the question, or you’re Beautiful, they either would say Oh Thank you kindly with a weird facial expression of “unbeliever” or Yah right! I could chat about this all Day so for now – Cheers to All the Beautiful people and Yes “We are all Beautiful”
my door is BEAUTIFUL!
So happy this piece really resonates with what you believe and how you are working with both women and men through WABM, Irene. It is so interesting to see how confidence around beauty is lacking in both women and men. And why is it that “beauty” is often the only piece that elicits such a strong reaction. And not a positive one. And then who is it that defines what “beauty” is? My trust is that things are changing and that we are shifting perceptions of what beauty is. More advertisers are seeing that to empower young girls gets better results than diminishing them and then trying to sell them something, which has been the long standing way the beauty industry worked. I’d love to talk with you more about what you are doing and if there is any way that we might collaborate to shift the perceptions even more, so that women see their beauty and can finally say “I Am Beautiful”. Here’s to everyone sharing their beauty!
Great observation! I feel the word beauty has a stigma attached to it. If we say we are beautiful, we are considered conceited. I am more inclined to be more specific to describe myself. Like I would say I am intelligent, pretty, and a quick learner. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking post.
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Love how you have come up with a more encompassing way to describe yourself, Sabrina, as of course we all are more faceted than just “beauty”. It’s great that pretty is one of your words though, as this acknowledges you to the world and to yourself. This is such a big topic and so many women are still grabbling with it for themselves. My sense is as women get older and gain more confidence, perhaps inner beauty becomes more acknowledged and accepted. The inner always shines through when we see it in ourselves.
Beverley, I commented on this article in June and I still like it. I haven’t come up with any more ideas on how to fix this silly perception problem!
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Hi Beth. Yes, I thank you for your comment then and appreciate you visiting and sharing this topic with others. If you come up with any other insights on the beauty and perception issue, I’d love to hear them.
I’m thinking about beauty from the perspective of my business. We focus on enhancing a womans natural beauty using natural gemstones. So far so good. And we show our jewelry with current fashion. Again, so far so good. So what is it that has me wonder if I am truly accepting of my own beauty. I grew up with a beautiful sister while I was the smart one & there is the rub. How we view ourselves unfortunately is influenced from an early age. Great topic.
Thanks for your reflection on this topic, Roslyn. Yes, our perception of beauty definitely starts at an early age and seems to stay with us well into adulthood. What is it that creates that moment of change in us? For some women it is simply the wisdom of getting older and accepting ourselves. It sounds like you are a conduit for other women to heighten their own beauty and then this brings you face-to-face with yourself and has you asking how you actually view yourself on the beauty scale. And the bigger question is why do women need to always dress up and enhance how they look? I do it. I won’t leave the house without some makeup. And I always wear jewelry, as you know. It is a fascinating topic and I believe the more conversations around it, the more likely it is it will change.
I wish more women would accept their beauty. It is a shame that we feel like we have to deny our belief that we are beautiful in order to not seem full of ourselves. But I ask, what is wrong with being full of myself? If I can’t be full of love for myself then I can’t possibly love others.
It is so interesting how women want to diminish themselves because this is what we’ve learned to do from society, Kris. I agree with you. It is a fine balance between appearing cocky and full of ourselves and being who we are, fully comfortable in who we are and wanting to share that with others. Love is the key. And it does all begin with self-love. Start within and shine it out.
I agree that beauty is more than the physical aspects, but what is inside. But part of the problem is that no one lives inside my head, they don’t see the yucky thoughts that can take over, even if never expressed or acted upon, they are they in the rage of a million miles an hour thoughts. It is hard to think of myself as beautiful, when that words sounds so perfect and yet, my thoughts aren’t perfect. Meditation is definitely helping in this area.
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Thanks for sharing so openly how, (like many of us), you are dealing with incessant unwanted thoughts, that somehow feel so real to us when they race through our minds, Karen. I believe most women have this and often thoughts unconsciously stream through and before we know it, we are buying into them. Happy to hear that through meditation you are finding some moments of calm and relief from the incessant “monkey mind” we human beings seem so prone to. It is a challenge that is possible to tame, through practice and even being conscious of what is happening.
It took me awhile to arrive but yes I am slowly embracing this: I AM beautiful – so is everyone!
BTW, I love that Dove ad. It resonated with me in many respects.
You are beautiful, too!
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Thanks so much for taking a stand for yourself, Ruby! And I agree..we all are beautiful and the sooner we own it, the better our world will be. The Dove ad was very powerful indeed, and it resonates with so many of us, regardless of our age. Thanks for choosing this post to comment on, as it is a very important topic and a big conversation. You are beautiful indeed!
I came across your name while visiting Joan Harrington’s blog and your title of “Confessions of a
Middle-Aged Hippie” hit home with me, so I had to come meet you and read your blog. I feel like a
Middle-Aged Hippie too.
I don’t think at this time I would walk through the “beautiful door” but getting closer to it than I
ever have before.
Great post and I agree we must raise our children with a positive image of themselves. Even
though I didn’t have a good feeling about myself, I did raise my daughter to be that way.
I am looking forward to reading your book.
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Thanks so much for “finding” me Monna and I love that you noticed me on Joan’s blog. Glad you relate to the title of my book and yes, I think I am committed to being a middle-aged hippie for life now. This topic of women and beauty is such a big part of our cultural conversation now and it seems those of us who great up in the years where advertisers all but “dictated” the ideals of beauty, there is a lot to be undone to see ourselves as beautiful. Like you, I believe I have instilled in my daughter the idea of inside-out beauty and we are the ones playing catch up in the areas of self worth and self esteem. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I’d love to hear your feedback once you read my book. Always happy to meet another middle-aged hippie too! Regardless of how that happens. Appreciate you taking the time to introduce yourself.
True indeed. We are too obsessed with perfection and yet what is perfection? It’s great when you realize you’re at a good place and happy both inside and out.
Thanks for adding this to the conversation, Vicky. What is perfection, indeed? The key is to accept ourselves as we are, for who we are and then make changes to grow and transform ourselves from an inner place, rather than feeling forced by outer dictates that tell us what we should and shouldn’t be.
Dove has been so inspirational and I totally agree.. we should believe that we are each beautiful, inside and out… and you are right, society sure does help screw that up and make us doubt ourselves… I wonder too, if that beautiful/ugly door experiment would have been different if ladies didn’t have to pick it in public, you know?
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Agree Kristen, Dove has been one of the forerunners in leading the way for the self-esteem for women movement. Up until recently, brands have been very focused on making us believe all the things we are not, as opposed to playing to our strengths and all the things we are. Things are slowly changing and the more of us who join this conversation, I truly believe we will see a major shift in how women are portrayed in the media world. As far as the two doors, average or beautiful, it is hard to say, as I am not sure women actually knew they were being filmed. Many women think it might be considered arrogant to walk through the “beautiful” door, yet my hope is we get to a place where we can own our beauty and strut our stuff without worrying about any labels being put on us. Thanks for adding your voice to this conversation!
I couldn’t agree more! I try to make an effort to tell the women in my life they are beautiful every day. You cannot hear this enough and it’s so important. Sometimes we just don’t feel so beautiful for whatever reason, and there are many things in society today that seek to tear us down and make us feel bad about ourselves. As women, we need to lift one another up. You are a beautiful person inside and out and I am glad to have connected with you.
This is so powerful to hear Lisa, we could use more women who truly support other women and tell them they are beautiful and loved. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beheld and like you mention, if you don’t feel beautiful, it is harder to walk through your day exuding that inner light. And yes, up until recently, the advertising world certainly has given women images that tear us down and erode our inner self worth, however, as an optimist, I see that things are changing and that women are coming into their own and having these kinds of conversations, which I believe can lead to paradigm shifts and societal changes. Thanks for sharing and I appreciate your voice in this big conversation.
I never felt comfortable in my own skin, free and confident in my beauty, until I was 30.
All those years, I feel I wasted, Lord if I knew the things I know now… I could have been so much happier so much longer ago! But then again, my path may have been different and I may have ended up different – so I don’t regret anything. 🙂
Love this. We are all unique and we are all beautiful, and I’m glad to see other entrepreneurs who want to empower women to SEE their own beauty too!!
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It is so interesting how the idea of feeling comfortable in our own beauty comes for many of us after we have more years and more life experiences, Natalie. And you’ve got it right when you say how much time and energy we waste when we are young, striving to meet an ideal that is virtually impossible to attain. And yes, all the experience do contribute to who we are, so it is always best to trust that we were being and king exactly what we were meant to to arrive where we are. There is so much more awareness and conversation around this topic now and I love seeing how many women and men are supporting a new paradigm for what we call beautiful in our world. Appreciate you sharing your experiences too!
Amazing! I love both Dove and Nike for their campaigns, which are geared toward empowering women to feel better about themselves. I have to admit one thing, though: had I been given the opportunity to go through the doors as a teenager or in my thirties, I would have responded, “Where is the third choice? I’m neither of these.” Average would never have been an option, but beautiful seems a little arrogant. I wonder if the other women tested felt that? Today, I’d go through the “beautiful” door and dare someone to stop me!
Thanks so much Liz for sharing your perspective. I think the average or beautiful do seem like there is another choice in-between, however, these came out of the interviews Dove did. When asking women if how they see themselves, the large majority said they would call themselves “average”. And I think that some women might feel arrogant if they walked through the beautiful but, but maybe that is the issue. Why can’t we own our beauty and proudly feel we can walk through the beautiful door, without feeling uncomfortable about it. I love what Dove, Nike and other brands are to firstly bring this conversation to the fore and also for committing to empower women to look and feel differently about themselves, so that beauty becomes a norm, not reserved for the few who fall into the previous definition of what beauty is supposed to look like. Appreciate you owning your beauty now, as we all would do well to embrace who we are and shine it out into the world!
I was in my mid 50s before I thought of myself as beautiful, all the time. My prayer is that young girls learn this much earlier in their lifetime.
Keep up your good message, Beverley.
Happy to hear that you arrived at that place where you recognize your own beauty, Sharon. Us aging “beauties” have much to offer the world and I also believe we can strut our stuff and contribute to the world much more powerfully when we embody our beauty. Like you, I truly hope the younger generation learns this much earlier than our generation did. Appreciate your support of the message too!
Until the Dove campaign the only way to be beautiful was to be thin & “perfect”. Actually the way magazine covers portray the “perfect woman” was actually too thin and also unrealistic. The Dove campaign shows the REAL woman that come in all shapes and sizes and I think takes the pressure off woman to all be a certain way. No one woman is the same and it’s good that SOMEONE gets it.
It is wonderful to hear a male perspective Michael, as many women still seem to think that the unrealistic ideal we all have been force fed for so many years, is the only one to aspire to. I appreciate that you “get” that there isn’t only one size fits all when it comes to beauty. Once women embrace this, I believe with the help of brands like Dove, things will begin to change.
We silly women spend way too much time worrying about our looks. We need to learn to accept our own beauty and work on our attitudes instead. There isn’t any point in obsessing about how we look. When will we ever learn!
Beth Niebuhr recently posted…How to Get Started When You’re Stuck
Absolutely agree with you Beth. I am guilty myself of this at times. Somehow I learned the message about “what is beautiful” from pop culture and am writing about it in an effort to help others see what you already get. Beauty isn’t about our physical appearance and spending so much time and money on this one aspect of our being, is definitely a waste to energy that could be used in a more positive way. Thanks for your healthy perspective!
Every woman is empowered to make for herself everyday. This includes an affirmation to decide to call herself beautiful in the eyes of everyone. In a systematic review conducted by Dove, considered as a pioneer in the beauty area, it was revealed that 96% of women do not choose the word “beautiful” to describe how they look. However, 80% said that women could see something beautiful about themselves.
There is a lot of power in the research Dove has done, Lorii and hopefully the findings will be an eye-opener to change. Once women see themselves as beautiful that beauty will shine from the inside out.
Being over 50 and not being able to afford what society says I need to look ‘beautiful’, I’ve come to a place of acceptance. Not in a self-degrading way, but as in I’m-happy-with-you-I-am. I love what Lisa Swanson said in her comment. Being fit can bring confidence from the inside and when we fell confident about ourselves, we are more accepting and we feel beautiful.
Kristy Klenk recently posted…Money Management for Women: the major obstacles
I think acceptance is a wonderful place to be, Kristy. So many women, especially as they age, are still searching for that self acceptance, still looking for the fountain of eternal youth and beauty. Being happy with yourself is such an important part of exuding beauty and I agree with both you and with Lisa, that being comfortable and fit in our body goes a long way to feeling happy, confident and beautiful with who we have become. Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.
I certainly love how I feel when I get all done up and KNOW I look good! That confidence is so empowering. I also feel beautiful after I sweat it out at the gym, or am kissed by the sun. I think beauty comes largely from the confidence you carry with yourself. Your independence, your attitude, and your demeanor.
Holly Jean recently posted…Prepare Your Biz for Hurricane Season
Agree with everything you share Holly. For each of us it is about having a sense of inner worth and confidence and then shining that out through how you carry yourself into the world. I love how you describe how getting dressed up makes you feel so good and how different moments you experience also empower you to feel beautiful. Lovely comments and sounds like you truly embrace who you are and bring that with you everywhere you go.
I guess I was raised knowing that my beauty was for me and no one else to determine so my definition of it was more about my confidence and not about my looks. I hope I have given my daughter the same gift my mother gave me.
Beth recently posted…The Land of Love: Where Kitschy Meets Marketing Genius
Love hearing that your mother gave you this inner confidence from a young age Beth, and that you were able to maintain that even with all the outside impulses we are constantly bombarded with as we grow up in our North American culture. That is a lovely gift to receive and it is wonderful to hear you are giving this to your daughter now too. My hope is that things are changing and that more girls are learning this at an early age and are growing up with a sense of self worth and self esteem.
I’m going to comment on this from a spiritual perspective. As long as we focus on the flesh instead of the spirit, we will feel that we are less than we should be. And that’s accurate because the flesh can never be perfect. When one’s identity is wrapped up in how they look (which is what the world teaches), one will always be searching for things to change about themselves in order to reach that elusive perfection. When one decides that their true identity is who God made them to be, then the imperfections of the flesh will be less important.
Carol Rundle recently posted…A Few More of My Favorite Things
I agree with you Carol, which is why I like to see beauty as a soul quality. It is an expression of our uniqueness. So many women continue to look at themselves from purely a physical perspective and the challenging part about this is, as you say, they define themselves by an external measure of what beauty is supposed to be. By what is the size or flavour of the moment. Beauty is an inner quality. I love the idea of beauty being in the eye of the beheld, as when we see ourselves as beautiful that expresses into the world. I very much appreciate your comments and wish that more people would truly accept themselves for who they are, and then share that with the world.
Really great, thought provoking post. I resonated with your thought that perhaps we are beautiful and just don’t know it yet. That said, I would not have walked through the beautiful door. I think the years of being “too” something have taken their toll (too tall, too fat, too old, too opinionated … ad infinitum) .
Ingrid recently posted…How to Write a Testimonial
I hear you Ingrid. I think many people, women especially, have fallen prey to the your “too” something in their lives. Some women brought up the point that the idea of declaring themselves as beautiful, might come off as being stuck up or arrogant. That was interesting to hear, as what is so wrong with being self assured and having confidence and expressing that to the world. And what if we are beautiful and just don’t know it. What if, we actually own our own uniqueness and just be beautiful. Appreciate your candour in your comments and many thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.
Having worked with so many different women for 25 years now as a personal trainer and nutritionist, I can honestly say that most women came to me with very negative feelings about themselves. And, although weight loss is a result of taking care of yourself what was really beautiful to experience with the women I worked with, was how confident they became as they got stronger. Physical fitness does play a role in positive mental attitude.
Thanks for sharing this very important observation based on your own experiences, Lisa. Once women feel better, they look better and their confidence and self-worth grows. I know weight and external beauty is such an important factor for many women and maybe when we focus on overall health and wellness, the inner beauty begins to shine through. Very much appreciate you sharing your own experience in working with women. It is great to hear that how becoming stronger, works on all levels of a person’s being.
We are encouraged from the time we are young children to strive for perfection — in school, in our behavior, etc. — and this overflows into how we look as well. What a shame!
Feelings of inadequacy and “ugliness” run deep in many women — it takes A LOT to get past that to the truth that we ALL have beauty within us!
Agree with what you have shared here, Cathy. Girls are somehow “taught” this message of self-perfection from an early age and this does stay with us and shape how we are in our adult years. This inner sense of lack of self worth and the inability to see our inherent beauty does take a lot to overcome. And I absolutely agree that once we realize that we all have beauty within us, we can be in the world from a more confident and self-assured place. We can shine our beauty out into the world!
Very thought provoking blog as always. Beauty must come from the inside and alter our thoughts about our self-image. How can we expect others to see us as beautiful if we don’t see ourselves this way. I think the only ones where ‘beauty’ has to be agreed upon is when you make money based on it as in fashion world, models, makeup. But to ourselves and the ones we love, beauty must be inherent in our self-acceptance.
Thanks for your thoughts on this topic, Roslyn. I agree that the more women can own their own beauty, the sooner what is defined as beautiful, will change. I loved the quote “beauty is in the eye of the beheld” and this is something you also confirmed. It is how we see ourselves that projects from the inside out. Once we believe we are beautiful, somehow the world will too. Appreciate your comments and how you ponder the points and then see them through your own life’s perspective.
Totally agree, women are too obsessed, and men too, that women have to be in a certain way to be beautiful, that they have to wear this and that make-up, Brasilian bikini line for the summer, botox, redo the nose, and what not… To me that’s silly, it would not be me anymore if I would have to do lifting to be accepted etc.
Totally hear you Katrina. We seem to have gone a bit crazy when it comes to what is “expected” of women and how to remain true to who we are and what is important to us. I agree that if we can’t be accepted for who we are and how we look, things need to change. And I can only hope that things are shifting and more women are speaking up and out for themselves. Find the inner beauty and shine it out.