Confession: at different times in my life I repped for Avon, Mary Kay and Beauticontrol. I binged on “What Not To Wear” and gobbled up the notion that looking glamorous was the key to self-esteem. Recently, I watched the trailer for the documentary “Gray Is The New Blonde.” It suggests there is power in letting your hair grow out naturally gray. This quote stood out for me: “When you see a woman growing her hair out and she’s got like four inches of gray, and then whatever color below that, you should know that woman is really fucking strong.” But, that statement did not impact me as much as the rest of the clips which noted why our society frowns upon women going gray- the media, friends, and family members all expressing their dislike. The beauty and cosmetic surgery industries are certainly not in favor. My gosh, nobody makes any money if we’re all satisfied with our appearance!
Our culture’s obsession with staying young-looking is less about the veneration of youth itself and more about money and control. It involves keeping women feeling insecure about their looks, so they will spend their hard earned dollars on the latest makeup, of-the-minute fashions, anti-aging serums, Botox treatments, liposuction, and I don’t even know what the hell else is available these days.
Unfortunately, the fallout from obsession with youthful appearance includes, in most women, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, a sense of powerlessness, a decrease in the perception of our value as humans. WTF? Because you’re not a size 4 and wrinkle free? How many women do you personally know that struggle with body image issues? Um, all of them?
Fuck that. Change the paradigm. What if, instead of spending an hour (or more, Yikes!) a day in front of the mirror “getting ready”, invest that time into personal and spiritual growth? We could foster a deeper connection to our authentic selves and to others. We could be healing our souls through reading, journaling, making art, sharing stories in sister circles. Instead of spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars on beauty treatments and new wardrobes, what if we invested in therapy, soul-nourishing books, yoga classes, mind-expanding travel, and spirit-healing retreats? Would womankind view itself compassionately and with admiration then? Don’t we all crave this?
The nurturing strength and potent wisdom of women is what the world hungers for right now. You know this. Genuine feminine values are needed to bring the world into balance and teach humanity to be human again. The genuine feminine values I refer to are empathy, respect, compassion, nurturing, inclusiveness, connection to and care of the natural world. These are in short supply in general, but especially in corporate culture and ethics, workplaces, political systems, even some churches. We cannot simply watch, hope, and rely on female political and cultural leaders to manifest a revolution on our behalf. I would like to see our societal values tied to consumption and the acquisition of wealth and power replaced by values that empower and heal people and the planet. I believe that when women honor and foster their innate valuable traits, skills and strengths not tied to physical appearance, and then speak their deepest truths, we can begin to manifest that shift in major ways.
Essential ingredients to a global shift in consciousness are internal personal evolutions in each of us individually. We start with freeing ourselves from rules that no longer serve us. Rules about how we should look, feel, or act. We start by probing deep inside for sparks of strength, divinity, and wisdom- and our OWN core values. We fan them into flames of determination and power and unique voice. We wield them in personal spheres of influence: at home, at church, with family, on the job. We can be our own inspiration out there and wear our wisdom proudly. Girrrl, it’s gonna look so good on you!