The Natural, Beautiful Woman | Teen Ink

The Natural, Beautiful Woman

March 20, 2014
By PaintTheWorld SILVER, Statesboro, Georgia
PaintTheWorld SILVER, Statesboro, Georgia
9 articles 1 photo 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”
-Oprah Winfrey


Plus sized Barbie dolls, anorexic models, “Real Women Have Curves” photos, and airbrushed women on the cover of magazines. What do all of these things have in common? They are all the distorted images of “beauty” in society. The old saying is, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” However, we shouldn't define ourselves as “beautiful” based on what someone else says; it should be something we can determine on our own.

Trends on what is beautiful have changed drastically over the years. During the Renaissance, women who would be considered obese today were considered exceptionally beautiful. Soon the tiny-waist obsession took hold and women began to wear corsets to achieve this look. The popularity of the corset continued until about the early 1900s, and then took a drastic change in the “Roaring 20s.” Women began to wear shorter hemlines and cutting their hair short. Some even would bind their chest to get the boyish look they desired.

While these trends may seem strange to us, we are undergoing yet another change. Most of us have grown up seeing rail-thin models on the cover of magazines. Women this size did not appear in the spotlight until the late 1960s and early 1970s; that’s about forty years of the same style. However, I am noticing a slow transition in what is considered attractive. The media is putting the spotlight back on plus-sized girls, and having more of a negative effect than was probably intended.

For years, plus-sized girls have been discriminated against. They have been the victims of hurtful and degrading words from their peers. But now, there are pictures all over the internet supporting them. “Real women have curves!” While I am all in favor of boosting the self-esteem of a person, I am not in favor of tearing down others in the process. The words, “Real women have curves,” are implying that thin girls are not attractive, and therefore just shifting the intolerance towards small girls.

It is never okay to approach a larger girl and tell her to lose weight, but it seems to be perfectly acceptable to tell a naturally slender girl to gain weight. People will tell small girls to eat more as a joke. While it may be funny to the person making the remark, it can be very hurtful to the one receiving it. Some girls just cannot gain weight; their metabolism will not allow it. Simply “eating more” will not change that.

Personally, I have been on both ends of the spectrum. In elementary and middle school, I was constantly made fun of for being slightly overweight. I wasn’t obese, but I definitely wasn’t the smallest girl in my class. However, as I got older, I lost the majority of the weight and was much smaller than average. Now, as a high school student, I have people come up to me all the time and tell me that I need to gain weight, call me anorexic, or even poke me and remark how thin I am. To them, it is a joke, but to me, it’s something I cannot do anything about. Honestly, I would rather people not say anything. I don’t like seeing pictures on the internet that tell me I am not a real woman because I don’t have curves any more than a heavier girl would like seeing a photo telling her that she was too big to be beautiful.

So, what is the real definition of beauty? Health, confidence, integrity, kindness, love, etc.: these are all things that make up a truly beautiful person. We should not allow our confidence to be destroyed based on what society’s standards of physical beauty may be. We cannot compare to models in magazines because nothing about them is real. Photoshop is a remarkable program that can do some astounding things; including making women look drastically different on the cover of a magazine than they do in an original photo. As far as weight is concerned, being healthy is all that should matter. Everyone has a different body type, and we cannot strive towards a body that will never happen naturally for us.

Self-confidence is stunning. A woman that holds her head up will catch the eye of more people than one who walks with her head down and is always afraid that she may not be good enough. While it may be difficult, finding something beautiful about yourself will prove to be more positive than worrying about what Facebook tells you is beautiful.

Instead of tearing each other down about our appearances, women should be building each other up and providing positive encouragement. Criticism should be given rarely, and always constructive. We need to develop our own idea of what is “beautiful”, stick to it, and ignore all else. Maybe one day the media will catch on to the idea that “HEALTHY is beautiful.”

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” –Audrey Hepburn



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