Are we beautiful or average?
According to statistics released by Dove, only 4% of women view themselves as beautiful.
Due to similar findings, I’m currently focusing on campaigns that raise awareness about how women view themselves and also how they perceive their bodies. I firmly believe that until women stop judging themselves and comparing themselves against each another, our self-esteem will continue to be negatively affected.
It has been amazing to see how many people have begun to accept themselves, immediately after reading one of my recent articles.
A few of the comments made me realize why it is so important to keep these subjects in the spotlight, and keep sending out the powerful message that we are all, each and every unique one of us, beautiful, incomparably!
Lori Blake explained:
“I have always been ashamed of my body and my father has always criticized me for being heavy, I’ve always been big even when I ate one small meal a day and threw 50 pound cases all day for my job! Now I’m older and am disabled and I’m still overweight, I rarely feel good enough to eat but still I’m fat now more flabby, thank you for helping me realize people are beautiful no matter what the size, I was always big secure and beautiful but life beat me down!”
Another reader Luru wrote:
“This was one of the most beautiful and uplifting photo artistry I have seen. I am a 45 year old mom and nana. I had three children and through my wonderful heritage and genetics, I have multiple stretch marks, and my weight has been an issue my whole life. I am 5’5″ and at my highest weight 297 lbs, I was miserable. I had RNY gastric bypass surgery three years ago. One of my incision sites acquired a MRSA infection! In the process of the past three years I injured my back severely at my job..which shut down any and all exercise! I have lost around 100pounds but that stalled. I also had a hysterectomy and a large breast mass removed in this time! My point is this, my body looks like Frankenstein! Loose skin and so many awful scars! I am still not at what would be considered a “healthy” weight, but I still feel sexy! I remind myself daily that I am a survivor of so many things and to keep shuffling along! We need to stop judging people based on appearance! Everyone has a story, everyone has genetics that decide what we look like! Thank you again for doing this.”
In response to a comment left on the article Kacar wrote:
“How sad that Aussie sees beauty only in perfection. If she were to see a photo of my body, no doubt she’d put me in the rejection pile. However, my mastectomy scars and soft rolls tell a story of survival. I would much rather be in this ravaged body with loving my heart than in hers with her judgemental mind. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
My take on beauty is not the aesthetics, it is perfectly explained in the top definition of the Urban Dictionary:
“Beautiful is a woman who has a distinctive personality, one who can laugh at anything, including themselves, who is especially kind and caring to others. She is a woman who above all else knows the value of having fun, and not taking life too seriously. She is a woman that you can trust and count on to brighten your day. She is a woman who can inexplicably make you feel really good just by being around her, yet brings such great sadness when she is gone.”
Good self-esteem is vital.
For me, it isn’t at all about what is on the outside.
It’s about seeing yourself through the skin, soul deep.
Viewing what’s beautiful within.
We all have beauty, yet, most of us seem afraid to recognize and celebrate it.
I also understand that some people think that talking about the word “beautiful” is shallow and promotes further judgment. My own belief is that by talking about it, we are opening dialogue with one another, we are refusing to feel the “shame” in admitting we are beautiful.
It is neither, pretentious nor vain to recognize and appreciate our inner goodness.
Viral campaigns, that question how we view ourselves in the public eye, encourage many to stop and think, for possibly the first time in a long time, about how critical we are about ourselves.
Low self-esteem can be dangerous.
We attract what we put out. If we are not feeling great on the inside, we have a very small chance of attracting greatness in the outside world.
I, have found myself in relationships that have been harmful, friendships that were damaging rather than supportive, undervalued positions in my career and many other destructive situations, purely because I had low self-esteem, for a long time.
I firmly believe that from a young age, body love, inner acceptance and non-judgment should be taught to every child across the world.
We are not born into the world critiquing (ourselves or others), it is something we learn along the way, it is a conditioning. And it is something we need to unlearn—by accepting ourselves and viewing ourselves as “beautiful”—we can slowly defeat all the other obstacles that come our way.
Dove is the latest company to set up a campaign with this similar aim, to encourage women to change the way they view themselves. The company is keen to continue to promote their company as a campaigner for “real” beauty.
As part of the campaign, Dove interviewed 6,400 women and their findings were that 96% of women view themselves as “average,” and would not feel comfortable with using the word beautiful, even though they found 80% of women believe that every woman has something beautiful about her.
Dove also recently placed signs above shop doorways, one leading through a “beautiful” door and the other leading through an “average” one.
Almost all of the women chose to walk through the “average” doors with one woman explaining, “Beautiful to me is too out of reach. I chose average.”
One participant in the campaign said, “Am I choosing because of what’s constantly bombarded at me and what I’m being told that I should accept?” She questioned, “Or am I choosing because that’s what I really believe?”
After choosing “average” another woman in the video describes, “It was my choice, and now, I will question myself for the next few weeks, maybe months.”
The video shows that these women were affected instantly, depending on their own personal choice, with one who chose the “beautiful” door saying, “It was quite a triumphant feeling. It was like telling the world that I think I’m beautiful.”
As the video closes one woman says, “Beautiful is a great word, so why not see what’s on the other side of that door.”
Paul Dector, film director of Dove Choose Beautiful explains, “Why we were filming, it was so clear that the women who chose to feel beautiful shined with a positive, empowered outlook.” He continued, “We all have the personal and powerful ability to rise above other’s points of view, social media, and pop culture, and I hope the Dove Choose Beautiful film inspires women around the world to reconsider how they view their own beauty.”
In a press release Dove explains further, “Women make thousands of choices each day—related to their careers, their families, and, let’s not forget, themselves. Feeling beautiful is one of those choices that women should feel empowered to make for themselves.”
The campaign is also urging women to use the hashtag #choosebeautiful on Twitter and social media sites to encourage women to take a positive stance on how they see themselves and also to raise awareness that we all have a choice, our choice.
It is not up to anyone else to decide how we feel about ourselves. It is a personal choice and we should not allow the perceptions of others to dim our light.
Our bodies, our souls and our minds are none of anyone else’s business but our own.
It is about time we stopped allowing other people’s words and judgements to affect how we feel on the inside.
There is something extremely liberating and empowering about choosing “beautiful.” It is not all about how we look on the outside—it is about what goes on within. tTrue health and beauty is feeling good and nourishing ourselves from the inside out.
Part of my reason for writing about these campaigns is that I’m afraid as anyone else, to declare myself “beautiful.”
I too have the same anxieties, insecurities and fears that surface from time to time. But, each time those voices pop into my head (or I hear them on the outside) I silence them—and replace them immediately with the words, “I am beautiful.”
It’s scary, but try it. I dare you! It is our choice, a powerful one! Embrace it.
Author: Alex Sandra Myles
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
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