Have you seen the Facebook challenge where one woman nominates another to post a photo of herself devoid of makeup and hairstyling? The purpose of this exercise, if I understand it, is to celebrate the natural beauty of all women and to recognize that what’s on the inside is what makes a woman truly beautiful.
I started wearing makeup when I was two, the time I resourcefully pulled out Mom’s dresser drawers to form a ladder to its surface, where her Avon awaited. After a 12-year hiatus, I began using makeup again as a sophisticated eighth grader and never looked back.
This puts me at a disadvantage on those rare occasions when I venture out in public without my Maybelline. People tend to look at me with concern. “Are you feeling all right? You look tired.”
I never know whether to milk it for the sympathy or to admit I’m fine, this is just my face. It makes me regret ever starting with the cosmetics.
On the flip side, women who don’t wear makeup daily look especially awesome on those special occasions when they do. My beautiful daughter-in-law, Dara, is one of these smart ladies. My advice to young girls? Don’t start! The best cosmetic you can ever wear is a genuine smile.
Here’s the beauty challenge I’d like to propose, if I could have my wish: for every woman to hear the words “you’re beautiful” from someone she loves every day for one month and watch what happens. We’d see a lot more healthy women. Healthy women are happier women. Happy women make for happy homes. Happy homes make for happy communities, and happy communities make for a happy world.
Too simple? Of course. But what could it hurt to try?
The January, 2014 cover of People magazine featured Christy Brinkley, at 60, modeling a swimsuit. Someone left a copy in our coffee room at work and the conversation among my female co-workers and me sounded like:
“Well, she’s obviously had a lot of work done.”
“Maybe if I had a personal trainer…”
“The picture’s obviously air-brushed…”
“Maybe if I had her money…”
“She doesn’t have to work, she can exercise all day…”
“Maybe if I had my own private chef…”
“Maybe if I had my own private hair and makeup professional…”
It felt as if we were trying to convince ourselves that, given enough money, we’d all look just as good as Brinkley. I hate to break it to you, girls, but all the money in the world isn’t going to make any of us look that gorgeous. If seen next to Christie Brinkley, I would get asked if I were her mother, even though she’s five years my senior. I’d reply, “Actually, I’m her grandmother. Lookin’ pretty good for 105, eh?”
The magazine’s cover promised to reveal Brinkley’s diet and fitness tips. It didn’t mention her four divorces.
In her book, Do You Think I’m Beautiful?, AngelaThomas maintains this is the question attached to the soul of every woman; that inside each of us lives a skirt-twirling little girl who secretly aches for a fairy godmother to wave a wand and transform her into the princess she has always longed to be. To make her beautiful. Captivating. Adored.
I believe beauty and the appreciation of it were placed in us by our maker, that true beauty is an essence given to every woman at her creation. But, like so many gifts, this fallen world has distorted beauty into something so twisted people are willing to mutilate themselves in its pursuit. Meanwhile, our hearts cry out for a love that comes only from the one who made us. The one who first saw us as beautiful, and the one who always will.