I grew up under the impression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I was, and am, a hopeless romantic that trusts body chemistry, pheromones, and a little bit of luck will bring us to the right person if we allow for love. What is attractive to me might not be attractive to the next person- and that’s alright. It allows us to find our person both emotionally and physically. That may also be why I am under the impression that I have the prettiest dog in all of the land, but my dad calls her Frankenstein. And strangers call her a “little porker.”
Where am I going with this? Well, I have a gripe to pick and I’m not sure who it’s with- men, women, society, culture, Kim Kardashian?! Blaming Kim K would be too easy for this, it’s the fault of us all. We are a population in love with a very elite definition of beauty. A simplified and stupified definition of beauty that puts unreasonable pressures on us all. My frustration came to a head this morning due to a commercial for waist training.
It’s fairly self explanatory- you suffocate your internal organs to “train” your waist so it hates existing. And this movement, endorsed by qualified
nutritionists and health connoisseurs reality television personalities (see: Kardashian Klan and Snookie) is actually being sold on television now too. Because, really? Who doesn’t love the sensation of losing sensation? And who actually needs ribs? Or correct organ placement?
Even during the Victorian Era they had a sense of humor for the ridiculous nature of “tight-lacing“. They also understood the need for an adorable partner in crime (the dog).
So here’s my issue: WHY? I understand body modification, clearly. We all know I’m not exactly opposed to plastic surgery. But what is wrong with your natural waist line? As I write frequently about health and working out, I continuously reflect on the reasons behind why I do it all. Health for my body and mind are paramount. But then there is this lingering obsession with physical confidence. Does it come from me? Or does it come from society? So deeply ingrained that we cannot envision a world without the fixation.
This internal dialogue recently came to a head with wedding planning- ladies, have you felt the pressure?! My hairdresser innocently asked me what my workout regimen was now that I’m engaged. I felt slightly ashamed that the night before I downed a “super burrito” and the two sides I chose to eat with it were french fries and macaroni and cheese. I wonder how many people have asked John how he plans on sweating for the wedding? I have a guess- zero. Did John feel guilty about what he ate? I have a guess- no. And this is not a criticism of him, or me, or my hairdresser. Because, not to completely generalize, as a society this is what we expect from men and women:
Leonardo DiCaprio does not need to worry about his “dad bod.” Leo can always galavant with a model or two. Or a tribe of models.
My mom always told me: Pobody’s Nerfect. Not many people are built like Dita von Teese- but neither is Dita von Teese. I want to workout because it makes me feel stronger and healthier, but not because I feel bad about my body. And there are days that I do, as delusional as that may be. How do we fix that? A society that spends millions, if not billions, of dollars telling us we can be prettier, skinnier, curvier, more muscular, blonder, tanner, stronger, sleeker, and more wedding ready.
Perhaps we find the reasons we respect ourselves. We admit something we love about ourselves. And we allow other people to love those things about us too.