Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Lately there has been an upsurge of reworked fairytales. This year in particular the show Once Upon a Time, which has just been renewed for a second season, has become a popular favorite, and not one but TWO movies were released with a new twist on the story of Snow White. I have to be honest, of all of Disney’s princesses, Snow White has always been one of my least favorites. I understand that the movie was made in 1937 when the world had a different view of how women are supposed to function, but the what I dislike most is at the core of the story (no pun intended). Snow White embraces the competitive nature among females which I see and hate every single day.

I go to Indiana University where more than 40,000 students go to undergraduate school and a bit more than 50% of them are women. I have been on this campus for three years, and it still amazes me to people watch. When I sit on a bus, or walk through a building, I’m always struck by the same thought,” Every girl at IU is beautiful.” Every girl here is beautiful in their own way. I saw a girl the other day with the most beautiful pale green eyes, a girl that dressed impeccably for her shape, a girl with beautiful multi-colored hair, and more girls than I could count that looked so animated and passionate about what they were talking about that you couldn’t take your eyes off of them. Maybe its that after eighteen or so years of required classes we come to college with the feeling that we can do whatever we want, be whoever we want, and we finally begin and end the search of finding out who we are. Who knows? All I know is what I see everyday on campus, isn’t what these girls see when they look in the mirror.

I’ll admit I’m not a very religious person, but I do know that one of the commandments is Love thy Neighbor. Perhaps its obvious to someone who has done religious study, but now as an adult I always wonder why one of the commandments wasn’t Love thy SELF. Because for me, that seems to be the real issue in the Snow White story. Sure, Snow White is innocent, sugary-sweet, and beautiful…but if the Wicked Queen really thought that she herself was beautiful, and was confident and happy with herself, she never would have relied on a mirror, albeit a magic mirror, to tell her what/who beauty is.

And that is one of the biggest issues for women in the 21st century. With access to the internet, and magazines, and all of this photo technology, we rely on a mirror of our own to tell us what beauty is. The only issue with this mirror is that it IS STILL MAGIC. The pictures of women in magazines are photoshopped and airbrushed. Heck, with access to easy and free photo technology you can make your teeth whiter, get rid of blemishes, and even try to make yourself thinner. Many women scrutinize themselves and wonder why they cannot achieve the look of perfection that the women in the media have. And that makes us doubt ourselves, which is horrible.

How a 14 year old girl snapped one fashion magazine back into reality

If you have time, please watch this video of 14-year-old Julia Bluhm’s campaign against air brushed photos in teen magazines. It’s great to know that there are young women out there who understand that these pictures are fake and that are happy enough with themselves to want to see pictures of real women in their magazines.

Unrealistic ideas of what beauty is have made women everywhere doubt themselves, and have made us become more competitive with each other. Sure when I look at the girls on IU’s campus I see how beautiful they are, but I do constantly compare myself with them. I wish I had green eyes instead my dark brown, I wish I could instinctively dress better for my shape, and I wish I could pull of multi-colored hair and still look beautiful and totally bad ass. This month’s Glamour magazine had an article about how women stereotype skinny women as conceited and bitchy and overweight women as lazy and kind. The article goes much more in depth, but the real issue here is that we are constantly judging each other, and that is wrong.

Instead of getting positive reinforcement, we are constantly met with negativity. In this way we are WAY more competitive than men. Men can compete, and when the game is over, they can still be good friends. Women can’t, and this kind of an attitude can cost you friends for no reason. Because in the end, you are still a package deal. Sure, men are more visual than women and they will scrutinize what you look like first, but in the end they will keep you around if they like who you ARE. Beauty comes from within. So the next time you look in a mirror, I challenge you to love thyself. Pick three things about yourself that you love and make sure what you wear compliments them. For me? I love the shape of my eyes, I love my legs, and I love my hands. So today I’m going to outline my eyes, wear short shorts and heels, and give myself a manicure. No one can truly love you until you love yourself. You’re beautiful. Embrace it and believe it.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Marilyn Monroe, who shows us that all the world of men CAN adore you even when your thighs touch. “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous, than absolutely boring.”

May 12, 2012. Every day life. Leave a comment.

Is it still just the thought that counts?

I hate to reference the movie Easy A again….WHAT AM I SAYING? I LOVE Easy A. Forget that, lets get to the quote. When the character Brandon, played by Dan Byrd, accuses Emma Stone’s character Olive of liking being thought of as a floozy, she demands to know why, to which he replies, “Because at least you’re being thought of.”

I’d love to think that someday we will outlive idle adolescent drama, or that it will no longer hit home as it plays nostalgic melodies on our heart strings. However, I seriously doubt I’ll ever see that day. So for now, I’ll get to the point. We are immersed in a culture where we love, and desperately need, to be thought of. However, in our new technological world, it no longer seems that, “it’s the thought that counts.” We comment on photos, write on people’s facebook walls, and post our inner-most thoughts to the internet, whether in 140 characters or less, or through a blog post like this. In times like this where it seems every act of affection is, in a way, PDA, it is nice to hear stories of gestures of love that only served the purpose of telling that special someone, “I’m thinking of you.” 

When I was in highschool I went on a trip to Europe with my choir, and I had a very amazing roommate. She was seriously dating a boy, and I could tell that a two week separation was going to be hard for both of them, especially because it was summer and they actually had free time to spend together. When we got to our hotel room and started unpacking, she found a little picture of the two of them in one of the pockets of her suitcase with a note that said, “Missing you already.” Throughout our trip, she found more and more pictures and notes stashed throughout her luggage. He didn’t shout from the rooftops that she was his, or that he was proud of her; he didn’t have to. And she didn’t feel the need to tell everyone what he did. I only ever heard what was on that first note, and if I hadn’t paid attention, I wouldn’t have known that she had gotten anymore. His gesture of love was for her alone.

 When a friend of mine alerted me to the website  www.cardboardlove.com, I quickly became infatuated. The  website consists of many posts from 2009 to 2010 of a man writing love letters to his girlfriend on pieces of cardboard. It seems that it started out as one love letter on cardboard, and then eventually became somewhat of an inside joke. Even though I don’t know the couple, or really anything about them, reading the sweet things that he posts for her just makes me smile.

Sometimes the people in our lives just need to know that we’re thinking about them, that we love them, and that we want and need them in our lives. It’s not necessary to write thousands of love/appreciation letters. Just like bringing flowers on every date, the gesture can get old. Sometimes it just means reminding them that you think that they are perfect just the way they are, flaws and all.

 I found an idea on Pinterest of a Valentine’s day gift where you take a deck of cards and you write a reason why you love the person on each cards. 52 reasons why I love you. 52 things, is a lot of things, but the more creative you get, the better. When my, now ex-boyfriend, got into a car crash and was in a not-so-happy place in his life, I sat him down and started reciting him the things I loved about him. I never got through the entire list, and I never had to. But I know that my words had an impact, and that it was worth it to have that moment be just ours. Until now. ❤

May 9, 2012. DIY projects to love, Every day life, Love stories, Valentine's Day. Leave a comment.

Hot Summer in the City

…of Bloomington, that is. I’m not talking about the hot-stickiness of a humid mid-western summer, where the heat is oppressive and even the loud whirring of my over-taxed AC is welcome. I’m referring more to the “It’s getting hot in here,” lyrics of Nelly’s oh-so-popular song from my youth…minus the taking off all of your clothes part. Summer is always the hottest time of the year, but this summer I’m going to be dedicating myself to writing about a new hot trend: the Cheesy and sometimes awkward Romance Novel. With books like Fifty Shades of Grey hitting number one on the New York Times Bestseller list and being mentioned in articles, like the one in the June issue of Glamour, society is embracing the romance novel. And what better way is there to feel hot….even when you’re in an air conditioned apartment, or inside at your desk at work. So, for the entirety of the summer I will be reading romance novels and commenting on their common themes here. I’ll be talking about what I love, what I hate, what I find absolutely ridiculous, and if possible, what I find moving  or emotionally trying. Stay tuned for perplexed posts and other cliches involving the word hot, from songs, movies, or my brian: Some like it hot, hot-wired, hot-rod, etc. I hope we can ride the heat wave together while keeping our cool. Until next time, stay excellent.

May 8, 2012. Every day life. Leave a comment.