We talk about sexism but aren’t women the worst offenders when it comes to breaking ourselves up into body parts to be judged and assessed? Selena Gomez nailed it this week when the 25 year old wrote on Instagram: “The beauty myth – an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern woman in an endless cycle of hopelessness, self consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfill society’s impossible definition of flawless beauty”.
“I chose to take care of myself because I want to, not to prove anything to anyone. Wind in her sails’. Yes Selena! This is what we need from the holder of the world’s number one most popular Instagram account with its 133 million followers. This is worth celebrating.
The superstar was responding to body shaming comments made online after paparazzi photos emerged of the singer on a yacht off Sydney Harbour, in a bikini with friends, post split with Justin Bieber and post last year’s kidney transplant surgery. I can’t tell you how delightful it is to see a star with so much influence look incredibly relaxed and beautiful in her bikini, displaying those life-saving surgery scars with ease and a slight obtrusion that looks like gentle swelling.
There’s no sucking in of stomach, no arching her back, no sticking out her bum, no side/under boob, no silly pouting – the usual self-conscious, overtly sexual fare of her peers. She’s just hanging out with her pals, male and female, relaxed in her body.
“It was really hard in the beginning. I remember looking at myself in the mirror completely naked and thinking about all the things that I used to bitch about and just asking, ‘Why?’ she told Billboard magazine in November. ‘I had someone in my life for a very long time who pointed out all the things that I didn’t feel great about with myself. When I look at my body now, I just see life.’
I see great beauty in this carefree attitude and what’s more exciting is it signifies a global shift in how we as women perceive ourselves. Our role models are changing. Take singer Alicia Keyes who hasn’t worn make-up since May 2016 and in fact looks better than she ever did with it on. There’s a new ‘take me as I am’ attitude brewing and a slew of new bloggers who aren’t overly concerned with how they look, they want to share information and talk about the big stuff.
Irish blogger Leanne Woodful has appealed to her fellow influencers to talk about Repealing the Eighth instead of just fashion and beauty commercials while newcomer Lucy Sheridan otherwise known as The Comparison Coach is fast gaining traction by encouraging her followers to concentrate on their goals instead of wasting hours on social media. Yes, she does this on social media but acts as a healthy reminder to put the phone down and start living…after you’ve taken in some of her wisdom.
Finally there’s a movement that’s beyond how we look with our clothes off or our make-up on and more about how we feel and what we think. I always come back to that Baz Luhrmann line in Sunscreen:
Enjoy your body
use it every way you can…
don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it
it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.