March 29, 2010
Posted: 05:13 PM ET
By Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff, authors of “Queen of Your Own Life”
Editor’s note: This week, “Queen of Your Own Life” is one of Larry’s Picks – written by Kathy Kinney (Mimi, on The Drew Carey Show) and Cindy Ratzlaff (marketing expert), the book shares techniques they call “the seven best gifts a woman can give herself.” In this exclusive blog, Kinney and Ratzlaff talk about how women are “beautiful, intelligent and valuable” no matter their age or physical appearance.
The girl must be young because then there was the hope that she had a lot of good breeding years ahead of her. It was desirable that she be pretty so there was at least a 50/50 chance of the offspring not resembling the family dog. With the bargaining chip of a young, pretty daughter a father could send her off with only some warm baked goods for a dowry and in return, could expect quite a number of fine heifers, and possibly a couple of goats, from the family of the future husband. A young, pretty daughter could mean the difference between a long hungry winter for her family or a time of feast and abundance.
Thankfully, those days are long gone and now that we have the vote, most likely will not return. Unfortunately, the idea of equating youth and beauty with our value as women is still all pervasive in our society.
How ironic that just when a woman reaches mid-life – with so much of the hard work behind her – children raised, careers negotiated and hard won wisdom gained, the message she gets from media and advertisers is that not only is she no longer attractive or desirable because she’s aging but she’s not even valuable. It gives the old saying, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry,” new meaning.
We know it’s a visual world but to judge a woman by her age and find her lacking is not only foolish but just plain rude. In a society that is still so youth oriented that it often seems like most advertising companies are run by pubescent thirteen year old boys, how can a woman claim her power and be proud of her beauty, gray hair, wrinkles and all? There are tried and true ways to protest unfair practices like taking out ads in the paper, marching on Washington or staging non-violent sit-ins. But those won’t work here because the truth is that this is an inside job that must start with how we, as women, understand what beauty really means.
At Dictionary.com, the definition of beautiful doesn’t say anything about looking young, having no wrinkles or for that matter being thin. It says that beauty is “having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about; delighting the senses or mind.” Realizing that beauty is not about youth and perfection is the key. Especially now, with so many women all over the world flocking to be pulled, pinched and whittled away at so they can look like the ideal woman who does not actually exist and as those fabulous Dove commercials have shown us, is just an airbrushed and photo shopped myth.
When you go to an art museum you don’t want to look at the same painting reproduced exactly the same over and over again a thousand times. The enjoyment of visiting a museum is looking at the hundreds of works of art, each with the unique perspective of the individual artist. It’s the delight in the details of each painting, the brush strokes, colors and quality of light playing off of one another that gives us pleasure. The same is true for us as women. Our unique experiences, wisdom, humor and compassion make us each an original work of art perfect and beautiful just the way we are.
Beauty comes from the inside. A woman’s naked face, gray hairs and softer body are beautiful because they tell the story of the life she lived. Her laughter, struggles, courage and determination combine to make a powerful source of energy within to illuminate her face so that she and the world can see the remarkable story painted there. What we think and feel about ourselves is reflected on our faces and in our eyes.
So how does a woman claim her power, beauty and change the world? By being herself and letting everyone around her from husband, friends, daughters and sons see that she is beautiful, intelligent and valuable because she feels that way about herself. It’s a surprisingly simple, but powerful way to change the way the world—no protest signs required.
Filed under: LKL Web Exclusive
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