Defining Aphrodite

So, I saw this video clip with Robyn Lawley, and I felt refreshed after watching the interview.

  • First, it’s a mind-bender that someone as beautiful as this woman does not fit the standard image for a model in the fashion industry.
  • I am so happy to see someone defending a body type without ridiculing another.
  • I am sad that I was amazed not because of the negative comments she has received but because of her amazing self acceptance and inner positivity…such a rarity in women.
  • I am even sadder to know that we as consumers define “ideal”—we have sustained a nearly impossible image to emulate.

This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that I have found myself thinking about the je ne sais quoi of beauty that we’re actually expected to know (and project).

I stumbled upon “A Beautiful Body Project” a few weeks ago. Specifically, I stumbled upon this poem: Milking Millions off Women’s Self-Doubt.

I felt a little like I was reading something from the Beat Generation…which, I know, seems melodramatic (or silly at the very least). But to me, the Ginsbergs and Kerouacs of the movement challenged societal norms and asked the question that no one could answer: why?

Not that women’s lib was part of the Beat message…but for as many gains that we have made in society from the 1950s, our increased exposure to media and propaganda has created an additional challenge on society: superficial self doubt. It is a nasty disease, and industries thrive on ineffective, short-sighted treatments.

I often ask myself why I think a certain thing is normal, and that really started after I took one of the required women’s studies courses at college during my sophomore year: the professor brought up an advertisement for feminine deodorant spray, questioning why we as a culture think that the smell is something that needs to be masked; the room was silent.

I know a handful of women who are extremely confident in everything about their outward appearance, and I am envious because that is not me. I’ve never cared what other people look like. I was brought up in a family that wasn’t visually perfect by societal standards, and I was never made to feel like anything was more important than the presentation of good character. Yet, surrounded by so many airbrushed images and veiled messages, I don’t quite measure up. It’s a difficult thing to admit, and an even more difficult thing to feel.

“Self-esteem doesn’t come in a bottle. You were born beautiful.”
                                                                              -Alok Appadurai