Real Women Have Confidence

It’s no secret that I’m an overweight, pale, blonde girl. I wear double digit clothing sizes, makeup that is literally labeled “translucent” and have hair so light I would appear to have lesser eyebrows than Whoopi Goldberg. In other words I could moonlight as a beer wench at Oktoberfest any day of the week.

Yet my entire life people have treated me as if I were somehow unaware of my appearance. Phrases like “the South Beach Diet would work perfect for you!” and “OMG, like, what’s with your skin?” have been thrown at me since I was five and a girl on the playground told me I looked like an apple, a body type label that has stuck with me throughout adulthood.

In high school I spent many nights lying awake in my bed thinking about every part of my body that was flawed. My hair was too thick, my brow bone too strong, cheeks too chubby, arms too flabby, boobs too big, boobs too small, skin too broken out, stomach too big, thighs too thick, legs too short, skin too pale, hips too wide, butt too small, feet too arched, etc. Every part of my appearance was a disappointment to me and the constant reminder via CW dramas, flawless high school peers, and thoughtless family members and strangers, that there was a better alternative to me and all of my imperfections, that I could never and would never physically attain, made me ache inside to see a reflection that was no reflection of me. It was this kind of mindset which made me value being told I was “pretty” as a greater compliment than being told I was “smart, funny, kind, talented, creative,” etc.

It has been six years since high school graduation but I have only in the last two started to feel like I am not some kind of mangled rawhide, covered in slobber and dog hair, lying on the floor of an illegal puppy mill in Idaho. Vivid, I know. But perception evolves with the passage of time and what I couldn’t see when I was in high school is that I am actually pretty. Not to everyone of course, but to myself.

But my reason for writing this has nothing to do with how gorgeous I think my hair is now or how classy I think my pale skin is, and how even though I need to lose some weight for health purposes, I no longer want to be thin. I’m writing this because I think the biggest problem with the issue of beauty is that beauty doesn’t actually exist. Beauty is an intangible perception of something else that cannot be proven, but merely argued. Which leads me to my next point: the sickness of comparative beauty.

There’s a strange movement right now in our culture. On one hand, models look more emaciated than ever, and on the other women like Christina Hendricks are garnering mad attention for their naturally curvy bodies. Pictures like this are being passed around the internet:

 

 

While I can grasp that this is trying to send a positive message that thicker girls are just as sexy, if not sexier to some than skinny girls, I hate the fact that we need to tear one group down to lift up another. I also hate that the definition of female beauty is being dictated by the men who date them, designers who dress them, and people like Perez Hilton. I also hate that instead of rebelling against this system, we women allow it and promote it by being competitive with other women, diminishing each other for our differences. And lastly I hate that in a world of increased eating disorders, skin cancer rates, and deaths related to cosmetic surgery, we live in a culture that still promotes the constant alteration of our bodies. Viewing our faces and our bodies as blank slates for culture to imprint all over is a recipe for self-destruction.

Forget the fact that a few centuries ago artists would have had a throw down over who gets to paint me naked, in today’s society, I and so many other girls are not considered the “ideal” for one reason or another. But the fact is, that even despite the after-school special undertones of what I’m about to say, everyone is beautiful to someone, in their own way. Blonde or brunette, curvy or thin, fair, or tan or black, or whatever other generalized term we can create to label ourselves, everyone is beautiful because they are different. Because there are no two people EXACTLY alike. Because no person will ever be duplicated. Everyone is the master copy of themselves, which makes us each pretty undeniably special. And sometimes being special is actually better than being just like everything else.

So before you tan your skin to make it look more like someone else’s, or dye your hair to fit in with the trends, just think about the fact that you are the only person in the world with that skin color and that hair, and by choosing to make it some other color, you are choosing to say goodbye to one of the things that makes you unique. Let’s all learn to accept each other and ourselves for who we are so we can all live together in fat, skinny, ugly, pretty, peace.

And remember, real women have confidence, and sometimes that’s all we needs.

Love,

The girl still working on the confidence thing

About thegirlwiththeblog

At any given time I can be found moisturizing my elbows and searching for words that rhyme with orange.

Posted on May 30, 2012, in man-loving feminism, pop culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Marianne Smith

    Wow. I’m so proud of you right now.

  2. Karen Ungemach

    Great blog! This is why I finally stopped dying my hair and just let it get gray. It is so much easier, but I am amazed at the number of people who tell me to still dye it. I hate it that beautiful teenage girls get hammered into thinking they are not. Love you.

    • The thing that irritiates me the most is that people think they have the right and authority to comment on other people’s looks. This is exactly what I meant in the first part of this post. If you don’t want to dye your hair that is YOUR choice and affects no one else.

      I hate that anyone has to feel so caught up in their looks that it affects how they feel about themselves as a whole. Our appreance is minimal part of who we are but it seems to take up a maximum of energy.

  3. And this is why you must write!! Well said…needs to be said…over and over and over!! Incidentally…have you noticed that some of the most influential women entertainment are those that embrace themselves…it is their unique being that we find so beautiful and so irresistable – their success is a reflection of their ability to be who they are and no a mimic of the collective approved image of what defines womanhood!! Great post!!

  4. Extreeeemly well said! This is the first blog I’ve read in quite some time, but it is very well written. You write here with the wisdom of a woman who has seen through society’s facade and embraced the value of who you are as a person. Bravo!!

  5. Great blog . Seriously I do know exactly how you feel. And it wasn’t really until last year, going thru breast cancer surgery that I finally realized, there was never anything wrong with me. I was never too tall, or too fat, my thighs were fine, my hair was okay being “baby fine”, my fair skin was great, my ass wasn’t as big as I thought, my size 10 feet (since the 6th grade) are okay with me, and the list goes on and on…..
    I’ve been beating myself up since junior high for absolutely nothing! I’m glad I didn’t look like every other Farrah wanna-be in junior high, or like Twiggy. I was great just the way I was, and it took my all this time to realize it. I applaud you!

    • That’s fantastic to hear, but sad it took something so scary to make you feel that way. I think everyone has different time frames in which they can start to really see themselves for who they are. Thanks for sharing and as always thanks for reading! 🙂

  6. You are woman…Hear you roar?

  7. I like this post alot. Last night I was watching a TV show with a tiny skinny woman getting all offended that her husband asked her weight (it wasn’t a question he asked for offensive reasons….it was a maths thing). It sent me on the biggest rant! Thin, ‘attractive’ women have zero confidence! At about 158 pounds I’m a bit overweight but I would tell the figure to anyone who asked…who cares. I would rather be a bit chubby but confident, than have my whole identity tied into any perceived thinness, so much so that any question of weight is offensive.

    • Very very true. The trouble with wrapping a woman’s attractiveness up in her weight is that women naturally will change weight throughout their lives due to childbirth and horomones. So we are setting all women up for some sense of failure and thus some insecurity about what they could or should weigh. It’s a disturbing system. I’m glad you’re confident though! More women need to be happy with who they are 🙂

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