It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.
Lately, like many of you, I have been waging an assault on clutter. I have been digging into the recesses of my closets, drawers and shelves and tossing, recycling and reclaiming my possessions. During this frenzy I came upon some old photograph albums and took a break to sit down with them.
I sorted through pictures that I had not seen in decades and to my shock and delight, I discovered that I was quite a good looking young woman.
Who knew? Not me. I was never happy about my appearance. Never satisfied with my face and body. Would that I had that strong, supple, sexy body now.
What a waste!
This is nothing new, of course. In my experience most women don’t see and appreciate their own beauty. There is always something to complain about. To fret over. To work on.
The Dove® Soap Company has a wonderful program called Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem. Their slogan is, “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”
They recently funded a study called “The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited.” The research found that:
Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004).
Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful.
70% of girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.
57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks
67% of girls ages 13 – 17 turn to their mother as a resource when feeling badly about themselves compared to 91% of girls ages 8 – 12
80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty.
More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.
How sad is that? And how stupid given the overwhelming number of beautiful women and girls on every corner in every country.
I serendipitously found the following quote in the fabulous book, Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver:
“When I was in my thirties, I had these little square hips left over from being pregnant and I just hated it. I kept thinking, ‘All those years before, I had a perfect glamour-girl body, and I didn’t spend one minute appreciating it, because I thought my nose had a bump in it.’ And now that I’m old, my shoulder hurts and I don’t sleep good and my knuckles swell up, and I think, ‘All those years in my thirties and forties I had a body where everything worked perfect. And I didn’t spend one minute appreciating it because I thought I had square hips.’”
So, sister Queens, let’s start making lists of what we love about ourselves, our appearance, our personality, our presence. Let’s make really long lists.
What do you love about you?
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.