I don’t read women’s magazines, but recently I started getting Shape Magazine as a free gift. To my surprise (and disgust), Shape Magazine isn’t really about health at all, it’s literally about shaping or re-shaping your face with Botox, Restylane, face lifts, working out 2 hours a day 6 days a week and eating a VERY limited diet.
Last month Shape featured an article about what kind of “maintenance” a woman should do in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. Of course as the years progress and age takes its toll (because aging is negative apparently?), so do progress (and increase in frequency) the amount of surgeries and Botox. I’m a healthy and beautiful 32-year-old woman, that aside Shape says in my 30s I should be getting Botox and facial fillers. Really?
It’s been about 6 or more years since I put down my last women’s magazine because I felt most promoted a very unhealthy body image. My preference then was Women’s Health Magazine and as far as I can remember, they mostly discussed natural ways to give yourself a facial, healthy recipes, and fun or new exercise tips. It would seem “health” magazines have changed and now the woman of the 21st century has a new standard to live up to – we can’t age.
Looking back in history we can see women have struggled throughout time for legal rights, equality, body image, self-worth, and now we are fighting our age? Well maybe some of us are, in my case I’m fighting to LET myself age and reset the standard for what a woman should really look like.
It doesn’t help that our role models are actors and models who have naturally good genes, a personal trainer, and disposable income which is spent on stylists and the best plastic surgeons in the world. These people are our role models, whether we agree or not. They flood our visual landscape on billboards, television, and of course the Internet. We may not believe consciously that these people affect us and that they are background noise we can avoid. We are wrong. Our subconscious mind is very sensitive and absorbs these messages whether we like it or not. I would say women, the more sensitive of the two sexes, are the largest group of victims.
I don’t know what happened to the Gloria Steinems or other women’s advocates of our country, but I think it’s time a younger generation of women stand up and say this is not okay. That this way is neither healthy or even real.
Our commercialized, robo-boobed, ideal woman is NOT a woman. In fact, some would argue that woman ceases to exist at all, yet so many women destroy themselves every day with critique, vigorous workouts, and disciplined diets with the hopes that they too will look this way.
Another fact that needs to be recognized is a large percentage of celebrities are not educated beyond high school. Most are actors or performers who were chasing the spotlight and had no interest in education beyond learning what it took to become famous. The ones who make it were and still are that way, along with an alarmingly large percentage of the US; everyone wants to be famous.
Education, is extremely valuable when it comes to self-image and self-worth. If a person attends an undergraduate university or beyond, they are exposed to the arts, music, science, mathematics, engineering, design, history, languages, and much more. A person in college, has the opportunity to excel in a variety of professions that are highly rewarding. It is true, celebrities who are famous make 30 times what the average American will ever make, but if you consider the amount of work they have to do to remain relevant; plastic surgery, 2-5 hour daily exercise regimes, limited diets, PR strategists, dodging the press’ inquiries of their personal lives, it would seem to me (an educated person) that no amount of money would be worth that, specially if only 2% even make it to that level. It’s also worth mentioning that uneducated people are more likely to believe they need to do these things in order to be valid.
I’ve had money and I have not had money, my personal happiness never depended on how much or how little I had. I’ve also been very thin and I’ve been overweight, I wasn’t extremely happy either way, except when I was overweight I didn’t have to work as hard. For me, my happiness swells when I accept who I am wholly and completely. When I take the time to tell each part of my body that I love it and there is no need to change it. When I value my many abilities and talents, happiness is present. When I say to myself, “you are powerful,” I am truly happy.
Meditation and yoga have been valuable tools in my search for finding that quiet place in my heart that no person or message can touch. In a sense we are all trying to get there, no matter where we are from or what walk of life, all of us are looking to be happy. If we all knew it was the simplest of answers – acceptance and appreciation, maybe the world would be a better place.
Women are truly masterful, capable, and the most complicated creatures on the planet. If we spent half as much time recognizing this instead of obsessing over physical appearance, we would be a highly evolved sex. Women are leaders. We possess spiritual and intuitive powers, that truly enchant everything in our reality.