Was it any wonder I looked in the mirror and did not meet these unrealistic ideals of perfection!
Thanks loads to Florence for setting up this Blog and having just read her story – it really resonated with me and am sure a lot of you too!
Namely, who WAS the Woman I used to be? And yes I too wouldn’t want to repeat what I got up to as a singleton (unless it was reminiscing with some VERY good friends!) Ha
As a young girl I used to dream of being a makeup artist and having my own Cosmetic counter (think Chanel at Selfridges) but I somehow didn’t have the confidence to follow that particular dream which I now realise could have taken me all over the world (Doh!)
As teenage girl I believed being perfect was everything, not by my family I might add, but I really can’t explain where that particular thought came from as my friends were more into messing around than studying (another story).
Being an “only child” it’s possible I spent hours looking at pictures (and reading the odd article) in Cosmopolitan (you know the one!) which made me think I should “Do this! (Slim to 7 ½ stone) and “Look like this” cue impossibly airbrushed images of beautiful models that incidentally account for 0.1 % of the population as I looked it up recently! Added to that you HAD to “Achieve this!” all in glossy lipstick and stiletto heels at all times! Was it any wonder I looked in the mirror and did not meet these unrealistic ideals of perfection!
It was 2 decades later that one of THE TOP Models, Cindy Crawford burst the bubble on these images by saying
“I wake up in the morning and not even I look like Cindy Crawford!” Even now I breathe a huge sigh of relief when I say this…
But that same Didactic is prevalent in Female magazines today (much to my sadness) but magnified more with the range of media available; internet websites, online magazines, Vlogs, Celebrity culture, HD TV, Films, Newspapers etc weighing heavily on our gauge of “NORMAL” and how we are therefore “LESS THAN” the norm which is not a great place to be, mentally or physically, believe me.
When I had my first daughter I felt so strongly about this that I set up an online magazine called FuturePink.com complete with a zingy sweetie coloured brand to offer an alternative to this “Looking Perfect” culture replacing the rhetoric with articles on How to Make Money, an Agony Aunt, A Gadget Girl, A DIY Diva plus Female Role Model interviews with Janet Street Porter, Sarah Beeny and the lady who coined the phrase “Yummy Mummy”, Liz Frazer, who later went on to be a regular columnist.
What I learnt was that the Beauty Industry is a Multi-Billion Pound industry and it’s in the economic interest to focus on what we look like rather than what we can do. I had lots of offers for sponsorship, namely from cosmetics companies!! I can’t be a hypocrite and say I didn’t want this in one part of my life (see former dream) but I didn’t want it to be part of ALL my life and definitely not this magazine! argh
A few years down the line and I now have two talented, clever and beautiful girls (in that order) I sincerely want to show them a balanced life, focussing on what THEY CAN DO not just what they look like.
Sorry, I can’t in reality say what you look like doesn’t matter, that’s claptrap that does not translate in the real world and I am not going to change it, but I think having a balance is going to give a more realistic viewpoint and make them happier and more confident in their own life.
Talking about what females can DO, I’ve joined Altrincham Girls Football Club committee, marketing and fundraising for them to ensure that the profile of Women’s Football gains momentum and becomes a real career opportunity for girls as well as a healthy life choice with team work, exercise and positivity high priorities.
That’s the legacy I want to pass on to the next generation, if you want to wear makeup, do you hair or even have surgery, do it for your own self-confidence. And when you’ve got that you CAN ACHIEVE A LOT. Don’t just sit in your box thinking “I can’t do this”. Identify and take away that barrier and just DO IT. And stop overthinking.
I can honestly say I am ecstatic that we are now well and truly part of an Entrepreneurial culture for women and men who want to juggle their lives, who are more in control of their own destiny and far more likely to achieve a balance – as long as we don’t beat ourselves up and give ourselves unrealistic expectations!