Last night I sat watching TV, after having conversations with multiple women all day about not feeling enough. I myself was exhausted from having to defend who I am and what I represent. As I sat there, I was flipping through facebook and I saw an article that a friend shared from Huffington Post, but honestly it was not the article that caught my eye it was the quote that my friend decided to share with the article: “We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone.”
I stopped right there and clicked on the article, then I texted my friend and said thank you; thank you for sharing this article with me, thank you for reminding me that WE GET TO DEFINE WHAT BEAUTY IS. Not the aggressive photographers out there taking photos of people only to body shame them and have us think we have to live to a certain standard, not the TV shows or the ‘news’ that showcase women in terrible ways, not the guy that didn’t want to date you or the person that didn’t think you were ‘good enough’ (whatever that means), NO you and only you get to define what is beautiful to you.
We allow society to choose what success looks like to us, what body we should have, how many friends we should have and how the person busier than you is doing better. As I eye roll writing all of this. Just as Jennifer Aniston stated, I too am fed up. I am exhausted. I am exhausted for me, for you, for my cousins, friends, aunts, the mothers of this world and the “famous’ people that continue to have to deal with it too. I am exhausted that I have to continue to justify certain things in my life and I get frustrated with myself when I do that because I am caving into the way society has made all of us feel.
Thank you Jennifer Aniston for this, thank you for helping woman out there including myself be reminder that we get to define our own beauty. I created Self Love Beauty for that reason, to help empower women to love themselves and know they are not alone in this journey. Please stick with our team as we continue to define beauty ourselves.
Check out Aniston’s article below:
Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I wanted to participate in a larger conversation that has already begun and needs to continue. Since I’m not on social media, I decided to put my thoughts here in writing.
For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”
Every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo, even if it means endangering us or the unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the public safety aspect, I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.
If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance… a subconscious agreement. We are in charge of our agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise. And it begins early. The message that girls are not pretty unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover of a magazine is something we’re all willingly buying into. This conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood. We use celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical “imperfection”?
The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing.
I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction. But I really can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.
This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.
Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.
We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.
I have grown tired of being part of this narrative. Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.” Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one’s fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day).
From years of experience, I’ve learned tabloid practices, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the bullshit.