I’m in the middle of reading The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. This book sends a powerful message and this is what stood out for me so far: Women! Despite being socialised from a young age that our true and primary value is our appearance and that success, sexual enjoyment and self-worth is reliant on being beautiful, thin and sexy, this message is just a construct of society and is keeping us from achieving our true potential.
My attention was brought to this quote on Instagram and it reminded me of the message in this book. The world is truly constantly telling us not to love ourselves, it tells us we need to do better, spend more and change what is not seen as acceptable. But the fact is you do not need to obsessively strive for ‘beauty’ to be a successful, powerful and fulfilled woman. The only path that the beauty myth leads you down is self-loathing and empty, meaningless wasting of time.
Your true value is genuinely within. You can achieve wonderful things everyday when you start to love yourself and accept yourself. Self-acceptance is the foundation of true acceptance of others and empowering and all-encompassing love. Women are drawn into this war of beauty where we distrust, dislike or idolise those who are more ‘successful’ in the beauty game. The reality of this is that we are often jealous of those with a set of genes which we can never replicate. We instil attributes on others based entirely on appearance, often a contrived appearance which doesn’t reflect true reality. We then lead ourselves to believe that we cannot hold these attributes because we do not have the same nose, lips, hips or hair. This is ridiculous.
Women are given confusing and conflicting messages throughout their lifetimes. We must look beautiful to be successful and valued, both by men and women, and yet beauty is seen as threatening and is often use as justification for sexual violence because ‘she was asking for it’. And I mean violent words as well as actions. How is a woman supposed to navigate a world like this and be left with any scrap of self-worth? Well, the simple answer is to reject the beauty myth. You are worth so much more than how many likes on a selfie on Instagram. You are so much more complex and interesting than how far apart your eyes are spaced and how full your lips are. Your value is in your depth, your personality, your interests, your feelings, your relationships, your goals, your nuances and idiosyncrasies. You deserve career success, sexual fulfilment and love regardless of your appearance. Women and men who reject this beauty-is-value culture can free themselves and women they love from tedious and futile pursuits of superficial gains which undermine self-worth and self-acceptance. It is not easy but it is vital for taking control of your self-esteem and learning your true value as a woman.