Sometime ago while doing research for a piece on body image I ran across this brief video.
Somewhere in a general city in a general office building there were two entrances, one headed “Beautiful” and the other headed “Average”. Women had to choose one or the other to get into a building. There was a third choice, not to choose and not go into the building – but why would anyone make that third choice?
Wait! Which would I? Could I choose?
I was rapt as I watched it the first time, the second time and the third.
As interested as I was, the video also kicked up a lot of feelings. My reaction was more like a gut punch than that of the cerebral youth from poem the “Lady or the Tiger”. I hoped that I would have walked through the door marked “Beautiful” but I probably would have slunk away rather than be forced to choose.
Why wouldn’t I choose being beautiful- aren’t I? Why not? Why wouldn’t I feel free enough, bold enough, loving enough to say to myself that I am a beautiful woman?
I don’t know why. I mean, no one was judging?
No one was standing on the other side of those doors ready to pounce if someone made the wrong choice.
But self image is tough for us.
The video proves that I’m not alone.
What’s wrong with us that we struggle to see our own beauty?
My mom was a true to life beauty-queen. She was smart and funny and generous and a leader. As she got older she got more beautiful along with the elegance that comes with age. And yet, she always asked, “How do I look?” She just didn’t know.
Once, when she got to be my age and we were walking down the street, her hair impeccably done, her outfit fashionable but not flashy or trendy, her demeanor kind to towards everyone; we passed a woman, much older, hunch-backed and bitter. Mom turned to me and genuinely wanted to know whether or not she looked like her.
I have since watched my granddaughter hit puberty and be rocked by problems of self image.
She and her friends went on what they called Japanese Models’ Diet – only eating paper. Well, that didn’t last long, only until after-school mac ‘n cheese snack time. Then they all started getting their make-up tips from drag queen you-tube celebrities (long, hard, sigh). Watching her early self-image struggle made me resolve to act my way into feeling beautiful in order to role model a confidence I might not always or naturally feel.
Every chance I get I describe myself as lovely, beautiful, gorgeous – whether in front of my granddaughter or not. I don’t want to pass down the doubt my foremothers passed to me..
Which would you choose?
Let me know by taking this one question survey, leaving a comment, or both.
Song of Solomon 4:7 (NLT)
You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way