How our reflection is killing our self-confidence

Get ready, the Diva is ready to rant this month!

Pick up any glossy magazine on any day of the week and by the time you have turned the last page you can be forgiven for feeling a little inadequate. The airbrushed images and messages simply support our unrealistic goals of perfection. The messages are powerful and very subliminal. If you brought your attention to the content once in a while, it’s likely even after a cursory glance, you will be thinking..

* My hair is not long or thick enough
* My nails are not strong or long enough
* My lashes re not full enough
* My stomach’s not flat enough
* My teeth are not white enough
* My skin is not smooth enoug/li>
* My skin is the wrong colour
* My nose is the wrong shape
* My lips are not full enough
* My boobs are too small and not pert enough
* I have too much cellulite
* I am the wrong size, shape, weight and my silhouette is all wrong!

Add to this the pressure to lose your baby weight within weeks, be a yummie mummie, a vixen at work, a siren at home, a well balanced career girl with domestic goddess tendencies, and a supermom and it is not difficult to understand why so many of us are in the throes of an all out identity crisis permanently!
When did we become not enough?

If we do not love ourselves, how do we expect men to?
They are bemused by our body battering. They want our feminine curves, our soft bodies, our vulnerabilities. Quite often they feel powerless to convince us of this. They don’t care if we have a tummy or cellulite (most would not even be able to point to this if their life depended on it!), they would not even notice if we put on a few pounds or stones, in some cases and I challenge you to evoke even a millisecond of recognition on the subject of orange peel skin!

What we interpret as imperfections men cherish as our uniqueness and our vulnerability. They don’t want to change this, they love this. They know it is unreal and impossible to look like a supermodel, their logic and common sense tells them this is fake – even the supermodels don’t look like the magazine covers in the flesh. They care not a jot about this. And maybe, just maybe they feel threatened by all this talk of perfection, because it may be their turn next??

If you demand perfection in all things, what does that say about you? How come they can see that the models are fake yet we refuse to believe?

Our body hang-ups are ours and ours alone.
If we hate looking in the mirror and can say nothing positive about our reflection, then we are simply chipping away at our self esteem and how can we be role models for our daughters with self hatred screaming back at us? We need to step up and own this issue. We need to find our courage, our voice and inner strength to stop disfiguring our authenticity and stop feeding our insecurities with hate, drugs, surgery, addictions, obsessions, diseases and self flagellation. We need to recognise our greatness and know that we are so much more than what we weigh.

Believe me when I say you are not alone in coming to terms with this identity crisis. It is shameful and it is global.

Up to seventy million people (mostly women) globally suffer from an eating disorder. 1.5 million Of these are in the UK. These disorders are among the top four causes of premature death, illness and disability amongst women aged between 15-24 years old. 10% of women with anorexia die from it.

94% of all women’s magazines have a picture of a model or celebrity on their front cover that would be considered thin, if not clinically underweight. The average model is now thinner than 98% of the female population. The average dress size in the UK is 16, yet a size 12 model is considered plus size.

Not surprisingly women are more than ten times more likely to have issues with their weight than men. In the UK we spend over £11 billion a year on books, magazines, special foods, classes and other aids to weight loss. 95% of all dieters regain their weight loss.

A survey in the UK in 2009 by Youngpoll.com found that a quarter of the 3000 teenage girls questioned believed it was more important to be beautiful than clever.

BARBIE DOLL BEAUTY GENERATION – STUFF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR�
The pressure to conform to the ‘Barbie doll’ beauty ideal has been fuelling by the beauty industry for decades, but now, particularly in the past 10 years as we have welcomed images of women as portrayed in porn as empowering and the sex industry has gone mainstream, a more serious, aggressive player has entered the market for our hearts and souls – cosmetic surgery. From Botox to total body lifts we are bombarded by adverts telling us we really can be perfect, it’s a modern day miracle and our right! All of this is simply escalating our body hatred but, with our permission, or so it seems to me?

We talk about lap dancing, pole dancing and Burlesque as being empowering, we idolise WAGs, glamour models and porn stars and we belittle and insult professional women and bully young girls, who refuse to buy into this ‘doll like’ version of beauty. Whatever happened to sisterhood?

Now, don’t get me wrong I am all for a little enhancement, I see nothing wrong in working with what you’ve got, but this need to re-invent and distort our natural beauty beyond make-up and traditional female adornments is a little worrying and cannot be sending positive messages to our young girls.

My message – stay authentic, know who you are and what is important to you.
Be strong,
be kind,
be bold,
be beautiful,
in fact just be YOU,
because YOU are enough just exactly as you are.

In the words of Oscar Wilde ‘To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance’.

Fall in love with you today.

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