It was not the most fun experience of my life to discover that I am a completely fucking gullible fool. It is completely true though. I am thirty-seven years old, and it has taken me this long to figure it out. I cannot count the number of hours of my life that I have spent hungry and straining to go a little longer before eating, and this was going on before I was twelve. I cannot begin to count the dollars that I have put towards make-up even though I am a relatively frugal person, but it always made a lot of sense to me that I had vary pale coloring, so it was vital that I color my eyes and cheeks and lashes so that they would stand out. I have bought bras that would make my boobs stand up tall and proud, because that is how they are supposed to look, heels that make me look taller, and my legs look longer, because short legs just aren’t attractive. Lord only knows how much money I have spent on clothing, jeans designed to make me look thinner, a hundred different little black dresses. I have spent hours upon hours in the hair salon, at over one hundred dollars a pop. I have spent money on supplemental drugs to suppress my appetite that were later taken off of the market because they were causing people to have heart attacks.
I haven’t even put in a fraction of the time and money that many women do in their quest to attain society’s label of beautiful. It is all a lie, because companies want to sell things. They want to sell the fashions that were made in factories that are so unsafe they cause the deaths of workers, and the cosmetics that are tested in the eye sockets of rabbits that have no tear ducts to save their eyeballs from being chemically burned, and the diamonds that are mined by African tribes who get punished by having one of the children’s arms hacked off when they aren’t producing satisfactorily. These products make women look absolutely gorgeous, no woman can possibly look appealing to the eyes of society unless she works her fingers to the bone to pay for all of these wonderful things.
We are failing at it too. Even with all of the fucking help that we have to get us there, there are still very few of us who could even make par to appear on a magazine cover. I was watching women yesterday, in a rather international setting where everyone was wearing a swimsuit, and I only saw a handful of women who would be appreciated on the cover of a magazine. How sick and fucking twisted does that make us? I saw women who I could tell worked really hard to achieve the abdominal muscles that they were sporting, but because of the way that their skin rested naturally on their bodies they would still be mocked and ridiculed if they appeared on a public billboard. I saw many girls who were clearly denying themselves food, and they didn’t look like supermodels either. I observed many, many, women who were obviously eating diets too heavily saturated with sugar. The rolls of fat hung off of their bodies and protruded awkwardly from the contrived bathing suits that they wore.
I think of all of this time, and energy, and money, and effort, that all of us women are spending in an effort to become the image of a woman that we will never ever be. How many places could I have traveled? How much time could I have spent studying, or creating? How many languages might I speak today if it were not for my lifetime pursuit of looking like the woman who everyone wants to look at? It is pathetic and I am ashamed of myself. No more.
There are endless arguments to what I am saying here, but this is my answer, flat out: take care of your body. It is your greatest gift and the singular vehicle through which you have the ability to accomplish everything that you want to in life. Make sure that you feed it well, and know where what you are putting in your mouth came from. Secondly, move. Never stop moving and stretching your body in ways that make it feel good. And in regards to beauty; focus on your soul for once. Nothing on the outside defines beauty. Beauty comes from compassion, kindness, insight, and intelligence. Beauty is cultivated through creativity, and bravery, and a will to be the beautiful creature that the universe has always encouraged you to be. The rest of it…those women in magazines…they are all just a brilliantly orchestrated lie. Do you want to waste your entire life in the doomed pursuit of looking just like they do, or are you brave enough to be yourself? Do you want your daughters, and your sisters, and your nieces to waste their lives on the same fruitless quest, or do you want them to really live? Maybe it is time to figure it out.