The Beauty Biz
I was sitting in the hair salon and I am always amazed as the familiarity that exists between complete strangers while having their hair done. Swapping stories, discussions of who died, going down the illness list and mad cackling over the antics of all the stars in the magazines at the grocery check out. One woman was especially funny and really could have been a stand-up comedian if she wasn't cooking and cleaning for three kids, their friends, the lonely woman down the street and myriad grandchildren. But one thing she said was a kind of amazing thought-provoking truth. She said she always wondered why she had ended up with the body she did, when her head really should have been on one of those slinky skinny bodies that exude sex appeal and are to be found in the most trendy cafes sipping wine as she is hauling her groceries down the sidewalk to the T. She went on by saying that after all, real women don't look like that and how stupid are men to think they do!
I love her as you can imagine! Even the mailman who had happened to come in was standing listening, and laughed as he went out the door. But there is an interesting truth here. All of us, and I mean ALL of us as women are unique in our bodies. And at the same time, none of us, and I mean NONE of us are happy with our body in its natural state. This has created an entire industry of billions and even trillions of dollars to support this unfortunate thought that goes through our mind at least once each day. I'm too fat, I'm too thin, my hair isn't thick enough, I don't like my nose, I wish my eyes were green, my stomach is too big, my boobs are too small, my boobs are too big, my boobs are not supposed to touch my stomach!
I honestly feel that all the various things we do to our bodies take a toll on the balance and the health of our body. Not just surgical options, but the skin products we use, the number of things we do in our lives just so we look good, coloring our hair, trying every diet, even our clothing choices. How many people have said it doesn't matter if clothing is comfortable as long as it looks good. Are bras really healthy or do they simply conform to social expectations? Do we really need Spanx? Is the style of the moment really what should dictate our daily dress?
The difficulty here, is that this notion of self is not just our own private thought. It is projected in our daily life, and it is reinforced by the men in our lives or the hope of men in our lives. I was even in the store the other day to buy a Santa suit for my 5 year old nephew whom my sister says is desperately trying to create one out of construction paper and scotch tape. My sister is buying out the local store of scotch tape, so I thought I would get him a "real" one. The woman in the check out line was saying to her friend that she had a psychic reading the other day and she expressed the fact that she wanted to lose weight because she felt she wasn't attractive to men with the extra weight. The psychic told her she was absolutely right... that no man would want her with extra weight.
Wow! If even psychics have bought into it, then we've really got an uphill battle to be comfortable with our natural self.