My current read on my kindle right now is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.
This book is F@#$%& blowing my mind, you guys! Blowing my mind.
I found this book after it was recommended by the kick-ass blogger Jes Baker of www.themilitantbaker.com (who is a body positive warrior, you have to read her and her work) and I am loving this book. From my Google search, it was published in 1990, which is six years before I even finished high school! So it's an "old" book, but it reads like it was written today!
The basic premise is that "beauty" is not objective, and it's a totally mythical construct in that it is something made up and manufactured as an idea/ideal in order to sell women beauty products and to keep us feeling inferior. Think about it: if you were totally, completely and one hundred percent happy in your own skin (if you have no idea what that feels like, think back to when you were a child, of say, 10), would you need to buy all the bullshit products we are sold on a daily basis? Would you want to go for plastic surgery where they cut your body open? Would you even wear make-up?
I realise that this "problem" of women and "beauty" is not a new one, and this one book clearly will not change the world, but I still urge all of you to read it and be aware of how this social construct called "beauty" is sabotaging our self-esteem and robbing us of our hard-earned money and making us feel less-than and like we are all in competition with one another.
It's part of why I braved posting a "real" pic of myself on Facebook the other day. There IS a new wave of reality out there, where real women are showing themselves for who they truly are, in their real skin. It's wonderful to see!
So yes, because I am now 39 and will be 40 next year, I guess my unavoidable signs of aging are what are getting me to question all this. I am struggling more and more to "look pretty" and am tempted to spend more and more money on my face and my body than ever before. But I have always sensed the bullshit, it's just catching up to me now that my looks are "letting me down". But the truth is, my looks are NOT letting me down. How sad and fucked up that I even could think that about my own body and face? My body and my face are just that: a body, and a face. They are just doing what EVERYONE's will do: age. It's normal.
But do you see how our media has poisoned us against our own precious selves? The poison is so very hard to escape because it's in our own minds, deeply embedded there. To hate your physical form for being itself is a maddening way to live.
And even worse, is that there is this subtle "war" amongst women in terms of beauty. If she is beautiful, she is winning, and if I am aging, or, heaven forbid, gaining weight, I am losing. And so, then, when we do gain some weight, or get wrinklier, we feel like losers.
I say, enough with the madness. This has got to stop. I can't live like this anymore, hating myself for being a human being.
The truth is, I don't yet know how to truly love my physical self. It's not easy. I have been conditioned since fairy-tale days (think Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty) to believe in the myth of beauty. But I hope to free myself, one small, tiny step at a time.