4.17.2013

Real Beauty

Take a few minutes and watch the below video.


Dove's most recent campaign is one of the most powerful that I've seen in a long time.


It's so true that, as women, we perceive ourselves differently than others do. We're often our harshest critic - the little things that others hardly notice are seen to us as screaming flaws that we criticize.

Some of the most beautiful women I know suffer from this. I don't think that any of us are immune to feelings of, "If only I lost X pounds", "I hate the way my body looks", "My nose is too big" or "I wish I had her hair". What's worse, as a society we subtly applaud women being insecure about their appearance. It's considered too forward, arrogant or conceded for women to express that they like the way they look and are happy with their bodies.

Why is this? Why is it that more women don't express contentment with themselves? Beyond expression, why is it that more women truly don't perceive themselves as the amazing people they are?

We shouldn't be afraid to love ourselves. We shouldn't be afraid of confidence.

While there are many factors that play into this, I do believe that sometimes we're our own worst enemies. We play into competitive comparisons as opposed to celebrating both ourselves and each other.

Another factor? The beauty industry. We continually are shown picture-perfect models and spokeswomen who don't seem to have a flaw to their name. Perfect skin, hair, body, face... the perfection is never ending and exhausting to keep up with.

And if I'm really being honest, sometimes bloggers can be a culprit too. Hear me out.

I had someone text me the other day saying, "I can't read your Charming posts any more. They're so cute that it is depressing. I'm wearing grey jeans that are too big, running shoes, and an old black tee shirt. Kuddos to you for being able to pull it all together". The funny thing about getting that text was that it was from someone who I consider one of the most stylish woman that I know.

Wow - are my posts becoming unrelatable? That's something I never want to have happen, and something I'd never want to make a reader feel. I looked at my blog through the lens of someone else and thought, I guess I am showing my life as much more picture-perfect than it is. And while I won't be changing my writing style or topics (Honestly, I'm a positive person by nature and have always had a happy disposition), I don't want you to think that I perceive myself as something I'm not, or worse, that I in some way am making you feel bad by only showing the good as opposed to the everyday, behind-the-scenes reality.

Here's the thing about blogging: It's not an accurate depiction of real life. These posts are carefully picked and created for public viewing.

What's not surfaced are the outfit posts gone wrong (There've been many), photos with awkward faces (True story: one time I had a big piece of lettuce on my tooth), pimples that are photoshopped out (Yes, in the name of being honest, it happens), DIY's gone bad (Read my interview on The Chicago Life for a little more context) or the nights in which creativity feels like a chore.

There's plenty of no-makeup-and-sweatpants days that you'll probably never see, and plenty of posts-turned-blah in which I won't hit "publish".
It's important for me to communicate the realities of this blog, and any blog out there for that matter. The fashion and beauty industries (in which blogs are certainly a part of) can skew "reality" a little, making things seem totally different from what they truly are.

But even with off days and behind-the-scenes "real beauty" truths, I do consider myself beautiful. I am generally happy with my appearance, and while I'm scared that you'll judge me for saying that, I'm saying it anyways in hopes that voicing this will encourage you to do the same.

I think every one of us should strive to be better at celebrating ourselves, despite our inevitable insecurities and flaws. Isn't it true, after all, that what we see as flaws are what other people see as beauty?

The Dove campaign is a perfect reflection of that.
Care to dance? Follow my lead.

19 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post, Em! So honest and well written. This campaign is genius.

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  2. I saw the video yesterday and it literally brought me to tears! Love this! xxx

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  3. I'm definitely guilt of the "My nose is too big" comments- yikes! It's funny though when people compliment me on things I hate about myself (like my "shit brown" eyes or skinny build)- it really makes me realize that beauty is subjective. We all need to be less hard on ourselves, and this ad definitely proved that!

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  4. I loved this ad–I watched it yesterday and then sent it through to a bunch of friends–it was really touching! I'm guilty of being too hard on myself, so it was a reminder to step back and realize that the things I see as "flaws" other people hardly notice. And I get what you're saying about your blog–personally, I've never felt that it was unrelatable but I often have the same conversation (with myself) about my blog. I'm a naturally very positive person, so that reflects on my blog, however my life is so far from perfect, it's actually laughable. I definitely have bad (and really, really bad) days–I just don't use my blog as a space to "vent" about things that really have no place on the internet. Frankly, it's uncomfortable when someone uses their online space as a way to bitch about all the things "wrong" with their life or be rude or mean. I'd much rather read a happy blog like yours!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment!

      I'm so happy to hear that those feelings are relatable. 100% agree that some things don't have a place on a blog of this nature. I'll never use this happy creative haven as a place to vent or write negatively...it's just the wrong venue, in my opinion. Those bad days will be spoken about with loved ones and with people that I trust, not with the public.

      It's hard to find that balance sometimes, but I agree, I think that readers would much rather read happiness than negativity. Even if it's not a true reflection of "real".

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  5. I literally just watched this video and it really hit home on how true it all is. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard myself say "I wish I wasn't so fair skinned" or "I wish my hair was darker" etc. It really is terrible and needs to stop.
    Love this post!

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  6. i loved this!! so beautiful.

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  7. You are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Thanks for sharing this post. Love the Dove ad too.

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  8. This was so powerful and brought tears to my eyes!

    Jayme @ Her Late Night Cravings

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  9. I saw this yesterday... It was very moving for me... I'm not perfect, nobody is, but I am happy with how I am. I am a very positive person, I may not be stylish or a fashinista, I love to wear Tshirts and my black Converse...But This place, your blog, my blog, and other blogs out there are a lil bit of our positivism for the world.

    Thanks!

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  10. This post is so wonderful. I cried watching that video this morning. Like real tears, cried. I think your post beautifully transitions from the acceptance that Dove is asking for - to the way women view themselves in general (really. what's the deal. let us be proud, society!) - to the way we put ourselves out there via our blogs.
    I think it's human nature to want to put your best foot forward- it's what we do. So it's really not surprising that you post the best of what we have on your blog. I try really hard to make my content "me" and to write about the positives and the negative of various situations, but all in all, I like having a positive spin. I like to live life with a positive spin. ce la vie!
    Jenn
    With Luck Blog

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  11. Amazing video and I LOVED this post. It was well written and I don;t think I could have said it better myself.

    XO Lourdes

    PS... the reaction of the women when they looked at the portraits side by side touched my heart!

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  12. Emily this is so amazing. I think you're absolutely spot on with everything you've said here- it is FAR too easy in the blog-world to compare yourself to others and how they look and act, and forget that people really only tend to show the good bits. And oh my god, women can be awful to themselves. It really is so rubbish. Here's hoping that campaigns like this start to help things a little. xx

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  13. I've watched this advert again and again!! I love it and it's wonderful, yet so true. We see ourselves so differently than others do and sometimes we should listen more when our loved ones say we are beautiful and smart, because this exercise just proved that we don't always see the beautiful side to ourselves, when we should!! I loved their reactions...so beautiful! xx

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  14. Thanks for sharing this campaign, what a compelling experiment.

    I think it's okay to say you like your appearance. We need to appreciate that our bodies allow us to live, breathe, create, exist, explore, feel and more and without these vessels we wouldn't be here. So appreciate that yours is yours, it's unique and will never be just like hers, but that's what makes is special.

    I don't want this to come off as rude, not my intention at all, but I would challenge you to come to a place where you can say you're happy with the way you look. I know you said you are generally happy with your appearance, I would gently nudge you towards a place where you can drop the word 'generally'.

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    1. *makes us special*

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    2. You know what, Megan? You're right. The "generally" needs to be dropped and we all should be as proud as possible of our appearance, even with flaws. I'm working on that! It's encouragement from feedback like yours (and of course from campaigns like the above) that helps me along in that journey.

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  16. I'm literally speechless. This video was really fascinating to watch. I'm really happy I stumbled upon your blog and this video; leaves you thinking...
    =)

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