Let’s face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something””namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother. If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone… well, then God help her. – In Praise of the 42-Year-Old Woman, by Tom Junod [Esquire Magazine]
BEAUTY and expectations for women in the modern era bare down on all of us in some way. Needless to say this subject is in my wheel house. From beauty pageants to performing, whether on Broadway or in national commercials, looks and the outer visuals made a difference in my life. Surprised? Superficial attributes often trump talent or what you offer in intellect, too. It’s the same in relationships, with the majority men, according to polling, moved more by sensuality and looks than your intelligence.
We’re getting to the point that women can rebut the stereotyping. The equality of the sexes has brought on to the scene a whole new way of looking at beauty, because women and the men who love us are making a point of taking on the old norms.
BeyoncÃ©’s “Pretty Hurts” takes on the pageants in a direct way and is another example of her leadership, as fans look to her for signals, as is the case with all female pop stars.
Then there was the Facebook photo of Bethany Townsend, who has Crohn’s, rocking’ her bikini with her colostomy bag, which went viral. #GetYourBellyOut
Huffington Post covered the Stop The Beauty Madness campaign.
Stop The Beauty Madness is a series of 25 advertisements branded with honest messages that highlight the true “madness” involved in creating and meeting beauty standards. Rice, an author and the founder of Be Who You Are Productions, started the campaign to challenge an internalized belief that a woman’s beauty determines her value.
Rather than attempt to fit more diverse types of women into an already narrow definition of beauty, Stop The Beauty Madness questions the value we place on beauty in the first place. “My main mission is to say if women are worried about their weight and their looks to the point that they’re not actually putting themselves in the world, then we’re missing out on some really extraordinary individuals and some really important conversations we need to be having,” Rice told HuffPost. “Women need to be helping the world move in a more beautiful direction — a genuinely beautiful direction.”
Nothing will change that being thinner than the norm, pretty, and having great looks is a very good way for women to take the focus away from their male competitors in the work place. It gives women an edge sometimes, but then again if you want to be taken seriously being gorgeous can also go against you.
What I’ve always thought is that women should use all of our assets and accentuate whatever can manipulate or move a situation in our favor. Being a feminist doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of our looks or figure or whatever physical attribute we’ve got.
But as Stop The Beauty Madness brings home, it’s not everything and though beauty may open a door, it won’t keep you there or allow you to rise.
What is beauty? A lot more than skin deep.
If you don’t know that wait a few years. Age is a sobering teacher.