In a culture where the beauty standards are changing every ‘five seconds’, almost every woman want to know what beauty is. I started to ask myself this question too because since I was a little girl, the standards of beauty had already been set – perfection!
Then it suddenly hit me, the answers I had been looking for all along is inside me. This is not to say I don’t battle my own insecurities. Like when I was teased with the name ‘shortina’ which almost made me believe ‘tall’ is the standard of beauty. This is not to say I wake up every day feeling pretty… trust me, there are days when the make-up feels insufficient. This is not to say I have not tried to starve myself when my English Teacher called me ‘Turkey’. Many years down the line, I have realized that beauty transcends the physical, and it is as easy as owning who I am flaws and all.
Beauty is SPIRIT. Beauty is Kindness. Beauty is eyes that cry every night but smiles like nothing happened in the morning. Beauty is Strength. Beauty is Determination. Beauty is Ambition. Beauty is non-conformity. Beauty is Wisdom. Beauty is the scar you don’t see. Beauty is Timeless. Beauty is the light in your heart. Beauty is Compassion. Beauty is Empathy. Beauty is Authenticity. Beauty is Vulnerability. Beauty is Confidence. Beauty is Honesty. Beauty is Loyalty. Beauty is Passion. Beauty is Enthusiasm. Beauty is something you just cannot fit into a box.
In my search for what is beauty is, I found out that we ‘see’ people but we really don’t ‘know’ them. We are all living chapters of an uncompleted book, raw talents and creativity, life experiences that are happy, sad and some, bitter-sweet. According to New Global Study for Broader Definition of Beauty, about 2 percent of women would describe themselves as beautiful. Are you a part of this 2 percent population? The healthyplace.com further states that an average woman sees about 400 to 600 beauty advertisements per day, and by the time she is 17 years old, she has received over 250,000 commercial messages through the media.
When we let mainstream ideas of beauty get to us, its effects are catastrophic. How do we then create a damage control for the generation unborn? It begins with a radical change of mind set, a societal rebellion, and the courage to find and speak your truth at all times. Redefining Beauty is a personal journey which requires asking yourself certain questions, such as; what is beauty to me? What are my insecurities? When do I feel most beautiful? What do I find beautiful in others? What would beauty look like redefined? Journeying down this path will take some time as we are so used to the generic definitions of beauty.
To feel more beautiful, experiment with a body weight that feels comfortable to you and is healthy. Discard the idea of ‘normal’, you can be curvy or slim and still be extremely attractive. Accept that there will be weight fluctuations throughout your life cycle, and your weight does not define you as an individual.
Avoid conformity! Experiment with hairstyles and clothing that expresses, and feels good to you. I am extremely happy with the natural hair revolution as it has helped a lot of women in redefining what beauty is. Natural beauty does not have to be your standard of beauty either; it is really about choice and personality.
Make friends with women from different ethnic groups, racial groups, age groups, and size abilities. When we allow ourselves to experience diversity, our socially constructed ideas of beauty will begin to change.
Shatter the ‘perfection’ mentality. It is okay to have bags under your eyes; it is okay to have scars, pimples and freckles. There is no rule that says our bodies should be free of lines, marks or scars. Such bodies do not exist.
I have discovered the tremendous power in my voice and when you make your voice heard, people listen. Therefore, I challenge you to speak up. Have conversations with your sisters, friends, mothers and aunties about beauty and what it means to them. Think about how you define beauty every time you feel inadequate. Think about how you define beauty every time you look in the mirror.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Hugo Felix