10 ways to feel "Pretty Enough" This Mothers' Day
The day after Easter I took a break and went to Ecuador. I had always wanted to see the Galapagos and it cordinated with a meeting my husband had in Guayaquil. It’s amazing what you see when you have no other objective than to enjoy. The overwhelming thing I noticed was women’s bodies and the way they moved. A lot of my work is centered with the media and everyone knows that the camera adds 10 pounds (the camera adds a lot of other things, too). Many of the women I work with are thin and worried about how to become thinner. It felt so good to be in a country where women were a healthy weight, enjoying food, and enjoying their bodies. It made me want to sit and talk to them and, although they were accomodating of my Italian/English translating, issues of self esteem, body image and sexulity would have proved difficult.
Right before I left for Ecuador, I was asked to comment on a new research study that was recently posted in the Daily Mail. The study suggested that older women are more depressed by what they see in the mirror than younger girls going through their “awkward stage.” Roughly 40% of the teens studied said they were satisfied with their bodies, but only 9 percent of women in their late forties and fifties were satisfied with theirs. If you live in the United States, forget the old thinking that as you grow older you also grow wiser. Forget, too, that women over the age of forty no longer value their looks as much as they did when they were in their 20’s. Older women are not accepting of their aging bodies as much as we would like to think. According to Dr. Susan Quilliam (one of the psychologists involved in the study), “Women today are living in an age where female beauty is defined as young, and we have become obsessed with achieving that.” This is crazy; we can’t all be young. The only way you stay young forever is to die that way. When beauty has such a narrow definition few can feel or be labled as beautiful. It’s the exclusion of that definition that is driving women of all ages to extremes.