|Miss Hendricks rockin' it|
At work this week, we were emptying out the staff room of all our old magazines, giving them away before tossing them. Luckily I snagged an old but relevant November 2010 copy of Flare, which had the ever gorgeous Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame on the cover. I love her. Plain and simple. She's fierce and fearless and she is somewhat of an anomaly in our skin-and-bones obsessed world. While average women are hungering to see something 'real' instead of the mainstream media image of women, Hendricks certainly delivers. Her curves are bombastic-electric, and she owns it.
In her feature article though, she waves off that she's doing something new, or that she's the messiah of 'real life models' - and she's right. Curves and volume have always been timeless, classic, and gorgeous whether Hendricks is on the planet or not. The difference is that she's one of a handful who a) get popular recognition for her gorgeous body and b) inspire empathy in the millions of girls worldwide with body issues. And there are her predecessors, of course: Giselle Bundchen. Mae West. Marilyn Monroe. Elizabeth Taylor.
And me. And maybe you.
So. What do you think qualifies real beauty in this ever-pressured world?
|The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel|
My randomly bringing up beauty or the conventional definition of it HERE of all places isn't as random as you think. This is a blog (mostly, but not exclusively) geared towards women, and mostly brides. And we all know that the pressure to look 'amazing' or 'better than normal' is at it's peak on that one special day. I mean, there are tons of shows out there on network television that condemn brides for 'back fat', or abusively encourages them to keep up the offensive with the 'battle of the bulge' (The Last 10 Lbs or whatever's popular on Slice right now comes to mind). Then of course there's every single bridal magazine with its section on 6 week sure fire fitness/diet programs, or temporary weight loss solutions for The Big Day. Luckily, on the flip side, there are some really inspiring shows out there in TVland right now to combat the usually negative ones.
And it's not as though I myself can't get obsessive about the whole dieting/eating well thing. I had a free breakfast at a staff meeting this morning and I ate 2 donuts. My auto response to this 'egregious failure as a human' was "WELL, YOUS GONNA BE EATIN' FRUIT THE REST OF THE DAY!" And unfortunately, this complex of guilt surrounding what we put into us and how it correlates to our looks is hauntingly common. And then if we 'stray' from what is an acceptable food intake routine, we get upset and punish ourselves later in order to feel remotely better.
But why punish? Come on. I love food. And though sometimes I can get a tad crazy ("How many calories are in an apple?!"), when it comes down to it, I connect good eating with good people and good memories. And the point of this whole rant is . . . you should feel GOOD about YOU, and what you put into your body. I'm not telling you to staple your sweatpants to the sofa and put a whole cake in your face (tempting, I know), but if you're eating carrot sticks and peanut butter and whole grains and you're still not losing weight, or you still don't feel like that image of 'perfection' you're constantly chasing isn't within reach, your life is not over.
|My favourite model of all time, Crystal Renn|
I used to be plus sized, overweight, self loathing and unhappy. I'm a short girl of a measly 4'10, so when I gain weight it shows. And I get depressed about it. Fifty pounds ago, I had been overweight my entire life, and though my parents were kind and subtle about encouraging me to eat better and exercise, I wasn't motivated. I was just mad. I wasn't getting dates, other girls with skinnier legs and less in their heads were getting all the boys, and it was because I was fat and unacceptable. And all that misery and unhappiness gave me zero confidence and a billion insecurities which didn't make me a nice person to be around.
But am I telling you that it was losing weight that fixed all my problems? Hell no. When I was chubbier (and I still am!), what I needed was to love myself for me, and to not have beaten myself up so terribly. Because let's face it, there are millions of loud and proud big ladies out there (Joy Nash one of my ultimate favourites with her Fat Rants) who focus on who they are rather than how they look, and when they show it, people gravitate towards it. Pretty-skinny seems like the ideal, but that pretty-skinny girl is probably just as insecure about herself as the 'fat' girl. And if the fat girl is more confident about herself, guess who's going to be the happier one at the end of the day.
You are not your face. You are not your body. But you have to live in it. And if you want to make this limited run of time on this planet good for yourself and for those around you, treat yourself with dignity, respect, honesty, and joy. Most of all, laugh about it! Because believe me, you've got more going for yourself than your dress size, and it's those things that the world is interested in. On your big day, remember that you deserve to feel beautiful, because you're only as gorgeous on the outside as you feel in your heart.
Opening up the floor again! Respond, respond, respond! What do you think constitutes beauty over the usual societal claims of it?
PS, keep an eye out for Miss Charlie's follow-up with plus-size dress options/tips!
PPS, TODAY IS MISS CHARLIE'S BIRTHDAY! Yay!
PPS, TODAY IS MISS CHARLIE'S BIRTHDAY! Yay!