In the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, I noticed this ad for le parfum that seemed very similar to those I am often surrounded with state-side. However, attempting to be more body positive, fat positive, and critical about media representation, I decided to analyze more. Upon further inspection, I realized that the woman in the photo is completely air brushed and manufactured for the ad campaign. There is no possible she exists in such a form naturally. So, I point her out to my mother, and we start to deconstruct the ad. Her neck, her legs, lengthened. She’s been digitally altered to perform to the socially constructed and manufactured standard of “beauty.”
Though I am girl/boycotting Dove, their video shows the process of taking an already very pretty woman and transforming her into the manipulated image of womyn we are constantly seeing:
Recognizing the inundation of images that repeatedly, subtly and overtly tell me to dress up, wear cosmetics and hair products, be thinner, smell nicer all so that I look prettier*.
*pretty as defined, of course, by such cosmetic and fashion industries.
So, I’m beginning a process, a journey, not just for myself but for every individual around me. I am becoming educated, looking critically at advertisements and commercials and figureheads of campaigns and motivations of companies.
I am moving and shaking to have body-positive movement in my own life, combating my inner fat-phobia, and expressing that in love towards myself and others and by not partaking in fat-negative language.
MY NEXT STEP:
is beginning a RUHCUS.
Where do I and you begin on this challenge?
My RUHCUS comes in two parts.
- Part I:
My tummy. Oh how we have had this love/hate relationship! I was taught to suck in… in fact, I didn’t realize until this year that not EVERYONE sucks in their tummy. Woah. I became fascinated looking at other womyn’s stomachs, to see, to gauge how comfortable they were with their bodies (as if I could tell from looking). Finally, I made the decision to stop doing it myself! Even bigger woah.
Even more important, I think, to be comfortable with my body, is to not suck in for pictures. For those of you that know me personally, know that I always, always have my camera. Especially, since I am currently in France on vacation, the camera is out to play and my new decision is getting some exercise!
When I told my mother (who I am vacationing with) this plan, her eyes became huge and she gave that look. Though she’s completely supportive of my body-positive ways, she’s still very shocked at what that entails!
- Part II:
My non-makeup’ed face. I still remember my mom talking highly about her great grandmother who had passed as “a woman who woke up and put on her face everyday.” This was what a woman was to me, for many years. Three years ago I took the plunge and discontinued wearing foundation (no one seemed to notice, to my relief). Then, I stopped wearing mascara (which no one, again, seemed to notice, but was such a huge deal personally!).
Now, it is rare to see me without eye-shadow and eyeliner, though not much else. The few times I went without, I had comments from a well-meaning lady that I looked sick. Yet, I am choosing to believe that this was just because it was different, an unusual occurrence in the life of Amanda.
My partner is very encouraging of this, thinking that I am more beautiful without makeup (but not less-beautiful with, which was a nice clarifying statement). My reluctance to have days without it, though, has helped me to recognize that I am hiding behind such products (light as they are) to feel beautiful… not just MORE beautiful (which I am not criticizing that process!).
So, for 30 Days, I proudly plan to take a picture of myself, to be posted with all my other pictures, sans maquillage et ventre au’ naturel!
Proud of my face without makeup and my natural tummy!
So, my RUHCUS begins… how will you approach your own radical healing process of loving your physical self?