Will we ever be good and pretty enough (for ourselves)?
As long as the beauty industry continues to airbrush, flatten, thin down, sculpt, lighten, darken the women that we actually are, then no—it will never be enough.
But it also looks like we’ve had enough of other people setting the standards for how pretty, thin, fat, healthy or capable we are. As much as the Internet is a part of the media that perpetuates unhealthy body stereotypes and expectations, it’s also now offering a space for people to redefine, reclaim and remodel beauty ideals for ourselves—something that will always feel more-than-enough for us.
This is something to be glad for.
Over at Stop the Beauty Madness, run by consultant Robin Rice and blogger Lisa Meade, a series of memes are putting the power back in our hands. They’re making it possible for us to take the stifling body-image labels and expectations put upon every one of us and turn them on their heads.
A manifesto on the website defines what the campaign is all about:
Enough of the impossible standards. Enough of the “ideal” image. Most of all, enough of the feeling of not enough when it comes to your own beauty. There also comes a time when an entire culture of women have had it. When blogs and ad campaigns and as-is selfie pictures start to change the rules of the game.
That time is now. That culture is this culture.
Today, there is more than a choir singing out the truths of true beauty. There is a great groundswell and the numbers are rising daily. We are a new tribe, and we know it is time to take back the streets—our streets. We know that begins with lifting our self-esteem, our self-imposed standards of worth, and honoring our deepest truths about what it means to be “enough.”
We are not only working towards this change. We are witnessing this change. We women know we are done with competing, done with comparing, and done with playing the ugly/beauty game. We are waking up from the crazy beauty hypnoses we have been under.
We are determined to Stop The Beauty Madness in our ourselves, our mothers, our sisters and our daughters.
Part of this includes calling out the ugly truths hidden in our culture and our own minds. That’s what this campaign is about. It’s about strong words that reveal the ideas that need to be seen for what they are. It is not always pretty to see what is hidden deep in our psyche (or even just slightly under the surface), but it is important to see it clearly so that we may call it out and change it.
And well, when we look at widely accepted beauty “truths” in the new light of these very smart, almost shocking (and why, really, should they be shocking?) ad campaigns, they start to seem rather hollow. When we can call out the ugliness at the root, we see what little strength or meaning it really has.
So next time you’re having one of those (imagined) “bad” hair-days, “ugly” days or whatever self-deprecating label we keep giving ourselves, swap out the self-hate talk for one of these images instead; realise that it’s all a little silly.
Realise that all this talk out there whittles down to nothing much more than hot air; some nonsense that two strong women are now turning into memes to be laughed at.
Realise it’s not that we’re “not enough,” but that these truths-labels-lies were empty to begin with.
The full range of memes are available for download and sharing, on the Stop The Beauty Madness website.
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Editor: Travis May
Photos: Stop the Beauty Madness