No, I didn’t drop off the end of the earth. No matter what certain religious groups will tell you, the earth is not flat. I just got busy… again.

Hope your Thanksgiving, or for those friends in other countries, your weekend went well. Greetings! I have had this song in the back of my mind to write about for some time.

The female species has been cajoled, bribed, bludgeoned, flattered, and manipulated into placing the emphasis on physical beauty over internal substance. Mind you, at certain points in history, men have too, or used other yardsticks: ability to throw a spear, crush heads with a rock, spitting, pissing, making money, pick your useless standard.

We make ourselves sick trying to capture an ideal of femininity that can never be achieved. Even those models in the magazines can’t get there- and that’s with hair, make-up and wardrobe crews. It requires the almighty Photoshop to warp reality into glossy covers. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17j5QzF3kqE

An even more illuminating experiment can be seen in the following video. Four “ordinary” women were asked to participate in an experiment. Have a professional photo shoot, complete with hair, make-up and wardrobe and THEN let the Photoshop wizards go to town.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRlpIkH3b5I

The reactions of the four after seeing their “Beautiful” photos is telling. “Once someone has directed your clothes, your hair, how your body looks and then taken away your imperfections, there’s not much left of who you really are.” Another remarked, “I like my freckles. I think that they add character. The fact that they’re gone– I don’t even know who that is.”

Exactly. Our imperfections define us, make us unique, special. Take dimples, for example. Dimples occur when you have facial muscles which do not work- causing “pits” as it were in one’s facial expressions. In fact, dimples are defined as:

Dimples are a facial muscle deformity.

Yet, we have accepted those failed muscles as a positive. We have found their beauty. They add a special loveliness to one’s expression. Likewise with freckles, well-defined brows, laugh lines, widow’s peaks, hips, and square jaws. If Photoshop is allowed to smooth these all away, how will we know ourselves?

We spend money, time, and energy trying to smooth these things away ourselves. Trying to reach an ideal that doesn’t exist, never existed, and can only exist inside a computer. And that is, by definition- not human. We are human, not perfect- and that’s okay. It’s even… imperfectly perfect.

For my daughters- Katie & Anna- Cause I like you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8

“Try”

Put your make up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim
So they like you. Do they like you? Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong
So they like you. Do you like you? You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try Oh Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you? Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

No
Oh

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you

Here I am in Maui with my family. I will never be a cover girl- even with Photoshop. I am a woman. I’ve borne three children. I live, I love, I eat. I have more curves that I used to. My nose is Roman, my jaw is square, my hair is wild, I am five feet tall (or short depending on your view point), and these things set me apart– in a good way.  Never hide your light. Spend less time obsessing over yourself and more time loving your sweeties. You don’t have to try so hard.

No Photoshop

No Photoshop

 

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.  Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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