Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I think I'm doing this wrong

More than a week ago I wrote about the 10-day challenge I was going to do.

Well, as you've noticed, I did not do it.

(Side note: No wonder I can't have a committed relationship. I can't commit to more than three days of intense relationship-building with myself.)

Day 4 is when I got derailed. I was supposed to give meaningful compliments. I have no problem doing this, except frequently when I do people think I'm being sarcastic. So, strike out on day 4.

Day 5: self expression. I actually express myself very well. Well, I express myself often. I'm not entirely sure the relationship between quality and quantity in this department.

Day 6 is media resilience. Fortunately, I have a deep distrust of everyone and everything that's selling something. I never look at fashion magazines, and when I look at articles about food, it's never healthy rabbit food or how to lose weight. It's always filled with butter and carbs and looks amazing.

Day 7 is reflecting on makeup. Is it a crutch? Is it a tool? Is it a mask? Is it the way I attract attention? I'm actually reasonably sure it is none of those things. It makes me look better, but I can leave home without it.

Day 8: write your body a love letter. I think you know where this is going.

Day 9: I'm supposed to compare a picture of a fashion model to one of my role models. I will say, Kate Moss looks nothing like Nicholas Kristof.

Day 10 is tomorrow, but we all know I'm not going to follow through, so I'll just do it now: I am beautiful because I actually do like myself. I like that I can run for so long, that I can yell myself hoarse watching soccer and not feel silly, that I can be ready for the day in 30 minutes or less and that I can put my face in the newspaper right next to my opinions and be proud of what I do.

So, clearly I failed. I probably should have seen this coming from the beginning when I started looking for flaws. I found one that turned me off pretty quickly. There are 10 women illustrating these ideals. They all have perfect smiles; there isn't one gap-toothed model in the bunch. They all have hair that looks like it's doing what they told it to. Only one of the 10 appears to be above-average in weight.

It reminded me of the cover of a church magazine several months ago about marriage. The couple on the cover were attractive, svelte, well-dressed and had no doubt been Photoshopped. The man looked several years older than the woman, as is expected. They were the ideal. Except none of us reading it were the ideal. All I saw when I looked at that is women with gappy teeth, wispy, unresponsive hair and huge calves don't get married, or at least not to attractive men.

So if we're going to consider how fashion magazines are destroying how women look at ourselves, we need to make sure it's not happening closer to home. Like, singles wards shouldn't be a competition for who looks the hottest. Church magazines need to show pictures that represent all of the church members, not just the cute, perky, well-dressed ones who are doing it right. If this body challenge was going to be truly effective in getting me to love myself, it shouldn't have provided me with almost a dozen examples of women to which I can compare myself.

I have self-confidence -- arguably too much sometimes. But that doesn't change the fact that I wish I was prettier, more slender and less awkward. Not, of course, that this is anyone's problem but my own, but a girl could use a little help sometimes, y'know?

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