Ladies! We’ve had it all backwards.
We blame men. We blame society. We blame media, magazines, commercials, language, movies, artists, novels…but ladies—this one’s all us.
I was standing in the shower shaving my legs when it occurred to me—my husband, (whom I have a hot date with tonight so I was taking measures to be hair free) genuinely doesn’t care one way or the other if I have leg stubble or not—if he’s interested in being intimate with me, he’s interested in my body for all its natural pleasures. He’s interested in me, as I am, however I am.
I started considering all the times over the course of our 17 year relationship, that topic has come up in conversation. How many times I’ve heard him say “You’re beautiful because you are you.” I started to think of all of my male friends, of other men who have loved me during my life—and the messages echo repeatedly that by and large, for the most part (of course there are exceptions) straight men simply love women. Period.
That’s when it hit me: we are the ones that communicate with our actions, our voice, our time, our money! We are the ones that communicate to men, to our children, to society at large, what is beautiful and what is not. Then, we get outraged when they accept what we’ve been telling them and begin to request it! Of course they’re going to request it. Who doesn’t want to explore what we collectively deem beautiful?
This is a rabbit hole I’m not entirely sure how to dig my way back out of.
As women we have a responsibility to ourselves.
We have a responsibility to our children, to the men in our lives and on the planet. We are the ones who carry the responsibility of showing them what beauty is.
How long have we individually and collectively shied away? How many times do we require the lights be off (much to our partners dismay) so that we can use the shadows for comfort? How much money do we pay to rid ourselves of body and facial hair, or change the color of our hair, or don the perfect jeans that slim our hips? How much time and energy do we exchange talking about, reading about, watching, encouraging, absorbing and digesting the messages of what we need to change in order to be beautiful or sexy or enough? Isn’t it all getting a little exhausting?!
Naked with our stretched stomachs, our jiggly thighs, our lightly furry buttocks? What if we dared ourselves to be so bold? What if we stood unapologeticly exposed—with the few dark hairs on our chins, our sagging (now or eventually) breasts, our blemished skin? What if we stood in our natural and unobstructed beauty and demanded not only to be seen, but to be loved as we are?
What if we relied on ourselves to truly know ourselves as beautiful? What if we became the consistent source for beauty, or acceptance or love in our own lives?
We blame society, we blame men. What a terrible burden we have handed them while giving our power away. Ladies, it is a cop out—and nothing will ever change in that game. We have to be the ones to accept out own raw natural beauty. It is us.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives