Beauty > Skinny
Reader Amy sent me this email recently:
I have a suggestion for a blog post. I would love you to write something about being beautiful and not being a “straight size”. I am so sick of beauty and skinny being equated. . . I know I am beautiful to my husband and I take care of myself and look as good as I can for what god gave me. I am so over people thinking you can’t be beautiful AND overweight. Soap box over. :)
I never thought I was beautiful. I mean, I knew I was fat, and that I could pass for sort of okay-looking, but beautiful? I don’t think so. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties when my paramour said, “You’re like a big, fat, beautiful doll,” that I started to see that maybe, indeed, I might be beautiful.
Beauty is not what is paraded in front of us in magazines or movies, or on billboards or television. Those are some pretty powerful images, but at the end of the day, they’re just images. An image of beauty only scratches the surface: beauty encompasses so much more. How many times have you met someone and the longer you know them, either for minutes or years, they become more beautiful right before your eyes? And how many times has the opposite happened? You are slightly stunned by someone’s physical beauty but when they open their mouth, the beauty is nowhere to be found.
Deep down, we all know that beauty is so much bigger (see what I did there?) than what our current cultural obsessions say it is. And I believe that human beings are born from beauty, they are born into beauty, and they strive toward beauty their whole lives. This means that we are enveloped in beauty, whether we like it or not. It also means that beauty is always available to us, because we are available to ourselves and to each other.
Like Amy, I’m tired of popular culture telling me that I can’t possibly be beautiful if I’m fat. So the misanthrope in me kind of loves proving them wrong. Every time I wear something that shows my figure, or that breaks some sort of archaic rule, or that draws a compliment, I am contributing to the fall of this wrong-headed notion that beautiful equals skinny. Beautiful can equal skinny, of course: it’s just that skinny does not have the market cornered on beautiful.
The only way to take down this ignorant assumption is to prove it wrong every chance you get. That means putting your beauty out there for all to see, in all the ways that you see fit. It also means believing people when they tell you that you’re beautiful. Too often, women refuse to acknowledge that, in fact, they have great legs, or skin, or hips. Too often, a compliment gets tossed unceremoniously right back to the giver: “Oh, this? I got it at Target. Five bucks.” You can’t blame the culture for diminishing your beauty when you yourself do it.
Let’s stop that. Let’s smile and say “thank you” when someone tells us we’re beautiful. Let’s tell strangers they’re beautiful when they are. Let’s tell the people we love they’re beautiful, because they are. I’d like to close this as Amy does: beautifully yours.