Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Am I Beautiful?

I often write that women should not use the measuring stick of our culture. When you ask yourself, "Am I beautiful?" the answer is yes, no matter what anyone says. And inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. But a friend of mine got me thinking.

She's a size 28 and single. Over the years I've picked up the message that anyone that size is lazy. But I'm trying to teach myself to (1) mind my own business, because I don't know her story and struggle, (2) realize that a large person may be trying to lose weight and that the piece of cake on her plate could be a rare treat, and (3) did I mention I should mind my own business?

My friend is being treated by a doctor for a hormonal problem that affects her weight. She has a new healthy attitude about food. But she still struggles with the question, "Am I beautiful?" She has given me permission to quote her.
"It kills me," she says, "to think my own father cannot look at me and say I'm beautiful. I used to think being beautiful on the inside would be more than enough for me. But there is something inherent in women that yearns for beauty. And if our physical beauty is not affirmed by our own families, how can we expect anyone else to ever see us as beautiful? Or how can we affirm beauty in ourselves? Maybe if I were skinny, I would be married. On principle I do not want to be married if the only thing standing between singleness and wedded bliss is my physical appearance. But there's that little nagging voice inside me, the voice of my father."
Is she right? Is there something inborn in women that makes us yearn to be told we are lovely? Is it something we need to reject because it leans too heavily on meeting a cultural, physical standard? Or can we reject the standard and still embrace our desire to be beautiful?
I'll let you decide for yourself. And mind my own business.

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