Lately I’ve had the opportunity to photograph some really beautiful women. Each of these ladies is unique and gorgeous in their own special way.
One woman has beautiful silver hair and very angular features, a graceful long-limbed figure. Another is tall with dark hair, dramatic features, curves all over, and a fantastic pearly white smile. Another woman has long blonde hair, wide blue eyes, amazing skin, and a rocking body. Another woman is a short, petite little spitfire with an open, friendly face and an always ready smile.
If I ever lined them all up, the differences are would be ridiculously clear. Different heights, different body types, different faces.
Yet all of them have something in common that’s kind of been both disturbing to me and makes me determined to do what I can to change it.
Each one of these women has told me that she thinks she’s fat. A couple of them have told me that their boobs aren’t big enough, some have told me exactly what they think is wrong with their face, and all but one of them has gone on and on about her ass… whether it’s too big, not big enough, could use toning, etc. I’ve listened to the chatter about the self-perceived inadequate booty far more times than I would care to say, many times with a sense of mild amusement.
They also all “like” and comment on each other’s photos through my Facebook photography page. They each think the other is beautiful.
So what, exactly is the perception of beauty? These ladies (and there are more of them) are so different in a million ways physically, can appreciate and even admire the beauty and individuality of the others, yet somehow can’t see the beauty within themselves.
Look, I know I’m just as guilty of being my own worst critic sometimes and it’s a pattern I desperately try to break. While I don’t feel sexy or beautiful very often, I have been taking steps to avoid trash talking about myself, whether in conversation with others or in my writing. I think, if somebody else were talking about me that way, wouldn’t I get really angry and indignant about it? Wouldn’t I want to stab them in the face? And isn’t wanting to stab myself in the face just mean? It sounds like it would hurt. Like, a lot.
Regardless, all of those ladies (and myself as well) have been raised in a culture and a society that conditions a woman to always be unhappy with her appearance; to always feel as though she’s too heavy, too skinny, too pale, too dark, too tired looking, too ugly, too blahhhhh… When does it end, though? At some point we, as women, have to stop and turn around societal norms by turning around our own perceptions of self, and in addition, nurture a new society of confident woman through the young ladies that are being raised in today’s fast paced environment.
My photographic mission is to show women that they are far more beautiful than they think and that loving themselves, and self care, is more important than they realize. When a woman glows with beauty they believe in, it’s amazing what they can accomplish in this world and the lives that are shaped and changed by that radiance.
The next time you look in the mirror, I want you to find a few things you find beautiful about yourself instead of picking apart the things you’re not so thrilled with. You might see that lovely, radiant woman (or man) in there after all.