I have noticed that there are more and more pictures on the Facebook newsfeed of individuals or their family members that often state “ Here are my beautiful children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren. People comment by stating “ Yes, they are so beautiful”. The word beautiful has become a standard description for girls. It actually means pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically. Now I can understand how proud we are of our kids and their kids, and yes in our eyes they are beautiful, but why not use other words to describe them as well?
The culture continues to perpetrate the myth that we must all look beautiful, not be beautiful internally. The products keep rolling out that are supposed make you attractive. Billions of dollars a year are spent on hair and facial treatments. Clothing is becoming more and more scanty and tighter and tighter, to show off legs and cleavage and butts that might just add to the look of beauty. I was in Las Vegas recently to speak at a conference and I was in shock at how many women were strutting around with clothing that was barely there. They all had the same hairdos, long, so they could swing it around, and high heels that made them look like they were teetering on the edge of a precipice. I wondered if they had any mirrors in their rooms.
It might sound like I’m jealous, but I’m not! I’m simply disappointed that we have not transitioned to a place where we acknowledge women and men for strengths, virtues and values, rather than just their looks.
Last Wednesday May 28th Maya Angelou passed. There was a great outpouring of admiration and gratitude for who she was and what she stood for. She was an activist, a dancer a poet, a writer, a woman of truth, who also had great compassion and empathy for humanity. Those who described her rarely referred to her looks, but rather to the generosity of her heart and soul.I had the opportunity to hear her speak at a conference and I was so impressed with her ability to share the wisdom she obtained from a very difficult life. Her words filled with compassion and her demeanor made her appear incredibly beautiful. She made a great difference in many peoples lives. In many ways she reminded me of my grandmother who always had something to say to make difficult situations palatable. She took care of herself, but how she looked was never as important as what she said.
I think the following words by Dr. Angelou say it best. “I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a woman who teaches by being”.