Women, show of hands. Who loves how they look when they wake up? You look in the mirror and the woman who stares back has no makeup, crazy hair, puffy eyes, unlifted boobs, and dons her eighth-grade softball t-shirt. At this very moment, how likely are you to take a selfie and post it online for all to see? Maybe under fluorescent lighting and from some unflattering angle. Not likely? Why? Take a moment, as long as you need. Then you may continue reading.
Now, for those of you who live with your significant other. I will call that person a “he” to keep things simple, but we know and appreciate that that’s not how it is in every home. How many have heard him say, “You are so beautiful in the morning!” I can only assume not all men are the same and not all men feel this way, but in my experience and from what I’ve heard from friends, many men tend to think that women are at their most beautiful at that very same moment described above. Take another moment and think.
How do you know what beautiful means? Who taught you? Where do you see it? Did you learn what beautiful is by looking at your mother and grandmothers? Did you learn beautiful by looking at women like Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Emily Dickinson, Susan B. Anthony, and Helen Keller? Did you learn beautiful by looking at the cover of the magazines on the rack in the checkout line? On the runways? In the movies? There are two obvious categories listed here. Which one is more important to you? But which one is more important to you? Okay, take another moment to think.
Now, I’ve already posted about why I stopped wearing makeup. I only wrote about one reason. I do love wrinkles, I really do. But to be honest, I am not comfortable in my own skin. I often look in the mirror in utter disgust. I sometimes consider covering my mirrors so I don’t have to feel it. My makeup ban is a way for me to start working on loving myself. Loving the way I look. When I wear makeup, I’m changing the way I look, which means I don’t have to love the way I look naturally. I can keep on hating it and changing it forever.
But I have come to this conclusion: You can change your looks to conform to your perception of what beauty is, or you can change your very perception of what beauty is.
In the spirit of this same concept, local artist, Asher Sréndás, has mobilized a movement she has dubbed #reallifewoman. Asher believes that we can redefine our largely media-driven perception of beauty with the selfie. She has challenged women to take self portraits in everyday situations and post them to Facebook with the hashtag #reallifewoman. The project’s page, REAL LIFE WOMAN, is set up and ready for you to like. She plans to create an art project with the results. But she doesn’t just see an art project as the result of this campaign. She sees a powerful shift in feminine thought as the result. A shift, ladies, that can put the ball back in our court. A shift that will allow us to celebrate beauty for what it is – the essence of a real-life woman. Won’t you join us?