As opposed to popular thinking, most women do not dress for men. Most women dress for women. I think we have done this for centuries. And along those lines I think that women get “work” done for other women, with the possible exception of breasts. I think a large part of the plastic movement is done to impress our own gender. I think we need to look good for other women and, as a result, we might just be doing each other in. Eating our own as it were.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if every woman would look to a friend who is aging or is less than perfect and say, “You look great.” There is an oft bandied about phrase which goes, “A smile is your best accessory.” But the truth is, it is! If we feel good about ourselves we look great. Inner beauty has gotten a bad rap for being, well ... inner beauty. Yet there is nothing “inner” about it. If we nail the inner, the outer comes along for the ride.
The world is obsessed with “hot”. We have this burning desire to look “hot”.
What is hot? Really. Isn’t hot chemical? Isn’t hot in the eyes of the beholder? Can we possibly sustain this media image of hot? No one friggin can. But between the “hot” flashes we can, in no particular order, look lovely, pretty, cute, gorgeous, rested, sparkling, happy, sexy, engaged, spirited graceful and ... handsome. I have always been miffed at the use of “handsome woman” as a derogatory term. Some of the most attractive and sexy women I have known have been “handsome”, for the record.
I think Ashley Judd was spectacular, strong and poised in her rebuttal. But thinking forward, what would happen if we all just stopped caring? I know, I know ... but I think we have to spend more time changing our own perceptions of ourselves. And we need to spend conscience time doing this. Like ... equal to Facebook time. We worry too damn much about what others think of us. And people in the public eye have the added worry of what the media thinks of them and as a result, the world.
But here’s the thing. Maybe we have to accept what we cannot change. Because we can’t change what people say publicly or privately about us. But we can change what we put out there. And in the end, the only logical answer is to stop taking the bait. And maybe by doing that, we will change it.
In the meantime, we must find a way to fall in love with the image we see in the mirror. WE MUST! Remember that others do not see what we see. I have a friend who wants to get her neck done. I get it. I see that she has a little middle-aged chin thing going on there. And I admit that when she points it out, I see that. But that is the only time I ever see it. What I usually see is her heartstoppingly beautiful face. And I am not just saying that to ease her saggy chin pain. She is beautiful. But she sees the neck. I know. I have been there. Full disclosure in a later blog.
But the truth is, in the last little while I have worked consciously to not only make my peace with, but to embrace my imperfections. I have been diligent in my attempts to banish them from my psyche. Or at the very least form a truce with them. I have decided to do the best I can with what I have. Because I am aging. We all are.
Jennifer Aniston is going to be an old woman some day.
And it’s not like we weren’t told. This is the life we expected. Getting old was in the offing from the get-go. And yet we seem shocked and panicked by it. And the media rants and the media belittles and the media mocks.
And they do this because they know that we believe them. And in the meantime we hope they will change.
But I think it’s us who have to.
Barbara: Oooh, so many juicy points here I want to respond to. First off, when you mention how most women dress for women, I know you’re so right. I mean, there is some stuff I wear for Phil, but in the every day sitch, I’m thinking more about “fashion” and “trend” and “style” than I am about, well, sex.
As soon as I read this, I remembered a moment earlier today when I was standing in a bookstore in front of the magazine aisle and a young woman stopped not too far from me—and I was tired and so maybe not as conscious as I would normally be. But I suddenly realized I had literally been eying her up and down for several very looooooong minutes. I am sure—given that my relaxed face now looks (okay, okay, in my mind’s eye, Deb, but I am sure in real life too!) like I am an angry, judgmental bitch— that anyone passing must have assumed I was secretly lambasting her, cutting her up, cutting her down. But the truth is, my face looks like that when it is relaxed!!! And I was absolutely LOVING her outfit. I wanted to drink it in. I wanted to memorize it. She looked amazing. But betchya anything she would’ve been shocked and outraged at my blatant staring, and surely would have misconstrued my utter lack of intent. So there’s that.
But I do also want to say that I take up the noble and brave gauntlet you’ve thrown: that we need to be aware of how we judge our physical selves so very harshly—and that we need to STOP IT. If we go along with the old credo that the media likes to scare us, then them openly playing to our insecurities would surely fit in with that, right? Let’s take away that power. Let’s take our own power back.
Can we do it???