Monday, December 10, 2012

Real Women

"The tomato hides its griefs. Internal damage is hard to spot."
- Julia Child

When I think of women and their obsession with perfection, I can't help but think of the movie The Stepford Wives. "Ideal, "perfect", robot "women" at the beck and call of their men.

The robots: The Stepford Wives.

But is that what men really want?

I venture a guess.


And those that do? Well...good luck to them!

There are only so many Victoria's Secret model-Martha Stewart-porn star-Nobel Peace Prize winner-all-rolled-into-one women out there.

And I rather enjoy these men can stuff it and I'll eat mine with someone else.

In her book Moving On, Sarah Ban Breathnach poignantly says that "(t)he neurosis of perfectionism is feminine self-loathing disguised as self-improvement. It's an insidious, invisible addiction the's difficult to recognize because perfection is culturally sanctioned and socially approved."

She goes on to say that "(d)omestic goddesses are bad for your health, especially women care-aholics who perpetually tend to everything and everybody but themselves."

"Perfection. It's a good thing."
Shaddup Martha!

And Sarah strikes a chord in she often does! 

I wrote on the topic of perfectionism in my post Pobody's Nerfect.

Society and the media it has built has indeed made perfection something to strive for. Or is the the other way around? 

Perhaps it is the media that has largely shaped society's obsession with being perfect.

Lose weight! Get better skin! Wrinkle be gone! Boobs should be bigger! Your personal style sucks!

I know it has not done me any favours. 

And yet I admit, I continue to graze glossy magazines and take in countless images of impossibly spotless, styled homes, wonderful wives/mothers and photo-shopped, size 0, beautiful women. 


Most think the before is nicer than what they have.
So where does that leave us?

The "before" looks beautiful.
The "after" looks plastic...fake.
Perhaps that's because it is!

Which one best represents you most of the time?
I'm more like the second pic. Except she is skinnier and her hair is not pulled back in a ponytail.

God forbid we have any body fat...especially when we are contorted into strange, sexy body positions wearing stilettos!

Why, oh why do we do this to ourselves sista-girlfriends? is pretty hard to escape.

Media is everywhere and everywhere is media in this day and age. Unless we all decide to become Amish and make do without any form of communication with the "real" world, then we are gonna see it. 

I has been around a long time.

Yup. It started way back when.

Which begs the question: What IS "real" anyway?

Well...we can all start answering that question by looking in the mirror. A mirror with no smoke. And looking without our anti-rose-coloured glasses on.

WE are what real is.

Even the Dove gals look a hell of a lot "better" than  most real women!
Never mind the VS models!

Now I am not saying that striving for mediocrity is what we should be doing. We all need to stretch ourselves, have goals and not get stuck in that "I don't give a shit" mentality that only renders our lives stagnant. 

But we need to be realistic. REAListic!

I recently discussed how images in the media can have a detrimental effect on young women in my post Celebrity Gossip Girls

Now I don't have any daughters myself...but I think it is also important to communicate with our sons about what they are taking in via media images and messages. 

...and my boys love I am convinced they will eat quiche!
But...yes. I digress.

We can - and SHOULD - chase our dreams...but if our dreams are based on the unrealistic images that we are bombarded with a million times every day than honey...that is gonna involve a lot of tread milling. And I mean that both literally and figuratively. 

Reach for your dreams. As long as they are within the realm of REAL possibility.

Sure - we can garner a great deal of INSPIRATION from these images. I know I do. I even shared an example of how I do this here

But the buck stops at - and with - how you internalize things. 

Just like I don't believe The Bible can be taken literally, neither can anything else we see or hear. It is always someone else's interpretation and seen through someone else's eyes and someone else's ears.

Someone else's reality. Or perhaps someone else's IDEAL reality. 

So let's give ourselves a break.


Like Julia Child said about tomatoes, what appears perfect is not really so.

Looks great!
But who knows what lies within.

Perfection is simply a term.

And a myth.

That person staring back at you above the (cluttered and not as shiny as you wish) bathroom vanity?

That's real. 

The real me with a smile.
i do have changes I want to make in my life, but I know  (intellectually, at least!) that I am great just the way I am!

So smile at her.

I guarantee....REALLY!...that she will smile back.

And I offer some of mine to always!



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