Beauty can mean so many things to so many people, but here we mean what does it mean to you and how you perceive yourself and how you feel others see you? How many times have you heard people say, 'True beauty comes from within?' You may have heard it said several times by someone from your close family, perhaps when you were a teenager, stressing about your muffin top, the latest bout of acne or another body issue. While you may have believed this advice to be intrinsically true, you probably disregarded it as being irrelevant to your life.
Unfortunately, it seems women rarely grow out of this behaviour and while repeating the same messages to our children and believing it most passionately for them, we still find ourselves clinging like a limpet to the Western ideal of beauty. If only we could lose a few pounds, were a few inches taller, banish cellulite, grow thicker, longer hair, if only we could basically turn into a Disney princess, we believe we would be happy. How can we believe so inherently that true beauty is about confidence and yet so paradoxically that a successful diet will make all our dreams come true?
So what is beautiful?
Some big brands have attempted to show that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign launched in 2004 was conceived after market research indicated that only 4 per cent of women considered themselves beautiful - the campaign used a diverse group of models of all ages, shapes and sizes. But these well intentioned campaigns sometimes end up confusing the messages - the latest ad campaign from Dove shows a group of women who were drawn by a forensic sketch artist, once as they perceive themselves and then redrawn as others see them. Unsurprising the second drawing is considered more attractive. The message is that we perceive ourselves to be less appealing than we really are. The problem is these women, are once again, showing that they want to feel beautiful on the outside in order to boost their confidence. Is it time for that old adage, 'beauty comes from within' to finally become our battle cry?
These contradictions have been passed down the generations, from the suffragettes who fought for the vote while wearing corsets to give them a tiny waist, to the 60's when being stick thin like Twiggy was all the rage, moving to the Jane Fonda feel the burn and wear tight lycra brigade of the 80s who demanded power in the boardroom. Today, we know that most celebrities are airbrushed to within a low-cal inch of their lives, yet we still aspire to be like these images. Our senses are blasted by such contradictory messages. We are at war with ourselves as we struggle to find confidence from within, while waiting in line to buy the latest, greatest face cream or diet aid, while thinking 'Will the latest cream make me feel beautiful?'
Luckily our generation also has its warriors fighting to change the mindset for what is truly beautiful. BeRealTalks, are one such organisation, who are hosting an event called 'Why Size Doesn't matter'. The ladies behind the event have gathered a dazzling line-up of inspirational women to entertain and enlighten you and we are among the speakers they have invited. This is not a self-help group it specifically aims to challenge the beauty and diet myths and to celebrate women in all shapes and sizes - it will explore ways you can be the best you and feel great 24/7.
Please join us on Tuesday 4th June at the London College of Fashion for a great night out. We'll be looking at how dieting and body image tie in with each other and showing you how to approach weight loss and body confidence from a completely new angle so that you feel good about the way you look NOW, regardless of your size, shape and weight.
Tickets and information can be found here: http://www.berealtalks.com/#!talk-information/ctzx
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Be Real Talks is the brainchild of Stephanie Rosilio and Sharon Baker, two busy working mothers who decided to set up events with a difference - events that are fun and carry powerful messages that will inspire people to make positive changes in their lives. The events gather a mix of entertainers and speakers to offer a unique and memorable experience. Be Real Talks will donate a percentage of tickets sales to relevant charities and to support good causes. www.berealtalks.com