Book Inspiration #2. “I really hope they know how beautiful they are.”

Photo credit: Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Photo credit: Omar Lopez on Unsplash

I was moved when Lucy shared her thoughts about young women in her interview:

When I look at young women now, I marvel at their beauty. I really hope they know how beautiful they are. Also I notice how people need to be so made up today, with their nails, with their hair, with being waxed, looking almost perfect. That seems like such a hard thing today.

Lucy's words made me wonder. Her kindness and love towards those young women is beautiful and I don’t hear it often, not often enough. Yes, it must be hard to be a young woman today with the pressures to look smooth, polished and perfect. Between social media, photo shop and high definition everything, it can get quite intense. It is quite intense.

This singular aesthetic formula of “smooth and polished equals beautiful,” it is fantastic for marble tiles, sculptures, and silver cutlery, but for people? How was this aesthetic born? Because getting body hair hot-waxed or lasered off and polishing our skin with micro-dermabrasion or whatever really makes someone singularly beautiful? Give me a break. Beautiful is also lined, hairy, asymmetrical, and being unapologetically true to oneself. Let’s give it up for some complexity and nuance to our notion of beauty.

But it’s Lucy’s compassion and respect towards young women, the next and future generations of women, that I find especially powerful. There are many industries - makeup, hair, fashion, skincare, “beauty,” fitness, advertising, magazines - that diminish and devalue women, and instigate conflict between women. Their foundation is built on how women look, how we look to each other, how we look compared to each other, how we compare ourselves to other women. Look what it’s done to our relationships with each other, with our family members, relatives, friends, colleagues, between generations of women.

What can I do about that? What can we do about that?

We can tell young women they are beautiful without makeup.
We can be kind, accepting, and inclusive towards each other.
We can stop making critical comments about how other women look.
We can stop eyeing other women, doing the head to toe once-over (you know women do this to each other).
We can smile in greeting when we see another woman.
We can practice self-compassion.
We can acknowledge our flaws and imperfections.
We can be aware of how the hair, fashion, makeup and skincare products we purchase impact how we feel about ourselves and others, whether we buy it for the approval of others.  
We can notice when we are being sold the mask of fakeness.
We can model how self-acceptance and self-confidence comes from within, not from what we buy or do to our outer layer.
We can listen to young women and love them without the mask of perfection.
We can accept and love our aging selves, and the women who are older than us.