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.”

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May 12, 2012. Every day life.

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