Thursday, September 29, 2011

{me and my pet peeve}

i have a pet peeve: a great, angry pit bull of a pet peeve which barks at me incessantly and, at times when i neglect it, will latch its jaws onto my ankle and shake me like a rag doll. but i keep it around. 

i felt the familiar clamp of pet peeve teeth last night as i read through some of the blogs in my blog reader. i follow a good mix of blogs, and for every post about cooking, there's one about diys and one funny one and one fascinating one and one artsy one and one girly one and so on. 

and many times a week, i come across a post about beauty.

that's ok. beauty is nice.

but there's something that happens a lot in the blog world and in the real world and probably even in outer space among the alien species that i really can't stand. 

in this particular case, the post was about photoshopping. there was a picture of some gorgeous model who fit every possible requirement for physical perfection wearing a parka not really anything. and the author of the blog post had googled photoshop before and afters and found a picture of the same model before she'd been touched up. then she encouraged her readers, saying {and i'm paraphrasing} "see? you can't look like her! SHE doesn't even look like her! look in magazines and pick the models apart--see if you can spot the fakeness. google search photoshopped models and see the differences!"

and the readers were just psyched. 

"YEAH! models aren't even pretty! they're just computer-enhanced! they look just like us!"

but i'm looking at the before picture and thinking, "i can't measure up to that. not even close." there's a reason models are models. and looking through a magazine "picking apart the models in it" and hoping that any beauty there is computer-generated is not going to help me feel better about myself. 

the point of this whole article was that you need to learn to love yourself. 

but how do you learn to love yourself when you're constantly looking around and seeing how you don't measure up. it's like the sign by the roller coaster that says, "you must be this tall to ride" and you don't measure up and after you leave the line-up, the carny follows you around the fair holding the sign above your head so you don't forget it. 

has anyone else noticed how screwed up it all is?

i think the point needs to be --and i know i've said this before but i'm sayin it again-- not that we need to "learn to love ourselves" or "find the flaws in other women to make ourselves feel better", but that we need to learn that physical beauty is not the all-important thing that we've raised it to be. there ARE women who are naturally beautiful. i know a whole bunch of them in real life. it does me no good to pick out their flaws and wish them ugly. 

we need to punch that carny in the gut and tell him to get lost. who cares about that roller coaster? i'm not willing to waste my time at the fair trying to sneak onto the one ride i can't get onto or moping around with a sign above my head that lets everyone around me know how unhappy i am.

it's kind of ridiculous:

we're buying the magazines and the movies and the beauty products and the clothes and the whole thing is this huge reality beauty contest that's funded by us personally, and then when we encounter people who have reached that "unattainable" goal of being "perfect", we're taking deep breaths into paper bags and reassuring each other that "no one actually is that beautiful, it's okay to look like the before picture, it's ok to look like the before picture, it's ok to look like the before picture." and we're not helping each other out at all because you can't help someone while you're competing with them and we're trying to learn to love ourselves and we're comparing ourselves to the models by the checkout at the grocery store and we're trying so hard to look like the after picture and we're buying the magazines and studying them and reading the fashion blogs and studying them and we're watching each other and comparing and being jealous and wishing and we're hyperventilating and justifying and making excuses and reaching and stretching 
and paying 
and paying 
and paying. 

and then we're turning 95 and dying. 

pointless, much?


  1. let me be the first to say.... some great points here, beautiful.

  2. Yes! I do wish the magazines would stop Photoshopping people to look taller and skinnier and bustier because these people are ALREADY beautiful and I hate the message that even the beautiful people aren't beautiful enough. But, yes, I absolutely agree, we need to stop trying to belittle others just to make ourselves feel better - that's not how it works! You just end up feeling guilty and/or inadequate, when, in fact, if you quite like yourself that urge to compete ebbs away.

  3. Excellent observations!! I know beautiful people who are naturally beautiful, inside and out, people who look great with little or no make-up. And I hear women say "she must spend HOURS to get that look" and proceed to tear her apart, sometimes within ear shot. It does no good to tell those truly beautiful women that the whisperers are just jealous. Words hurt and have done their damage.

    I appreciate the Dove campaign. Now if we could just get the fashion industry on board. But until then, let's be nice to each other. Don't make fun of the fat woman, don't belittle the beautiful woman, don't follow the thin woman to see if she really eats or throws it up, DO NOT compare yourself to anyone else or say "wow I'm glad I don't look like that!"

    Yes you have definitely hit one of MY HUGE pet peeves.

    Keep preaching it Doll, I'm your in your AMEN corner!

  4. Yup! I've started straight up telling people I do not want to talk about (insert celebrity name here)'s (insert body part/hairstyle here) EVER. I do not care. Nor should I.

  5. *gulp* I kinda feel like a ninny for making this whole website last week. :-[ I do see your point. But I also see my teenagers looking at models in cosmetic ads and actually wondering if this magical foundation will make them look like the model - when even the model doesn't look like the model (as shown here But, like I said, I do see your point. :)

  6. oh my goodness, chantelle! haha, i was definitely NOT talking about you. i hadn't seen your new blog yet {yeah, i'm super behind on my blog reading lately... :S}
    i can totally see where you {and this other young lady i referenced in my post here} are coming from too. and maybe, for some people, that IS enough. to look at models and actresses and be reminded that they're imperfect too. for me, it just drives me further into insecurity and has me looking at everyone around me {not just actresses and supermodels} and trying to make myself feel better by making them look worse.

    advertising is tricky though. the whole thing is very annoying! fame--WHO STARTED THAT?

    i hope that didn't sound like i was blasting you. i think we're both going at the same issue; we're just approaching it differently. :)

  7. So so true. I think the world would be a much better place if everyone stopped worrying about their looks and just smiled at someone and held the door open for them.

  8. So so true. I think the world would be a much better place if everyone stopped worrying about their looks and just smiled at someone and held the door open for them.

  9. amen, sister! seriously. i took an advertising class in college and the entire time we analyzed crap like this and then what other people have to say. uh, it doesn't matter that they're photoshopped to look like that, because the before picture isn't horrible. and also, it does matter because we SHOULD be happy with what we've been given and not just continuing to get to somewhere we're NEVER going to be because something newer and better and prettier will always come along and we'll just keep reaching for that thing that's riiiiight there, but not quite. it annoys me, too. i stopped reading magazines, but not TV, which could possibly be worse. i don't know. <3 you're beautiful no matter what the magazines/tv/billboards tell you.

  10. This reminds me of being "dumped" by a female friend because I wasn't pretty enough to be her friend. Physical beauty is overrated. Obviously, you can still be a huge be-yotch underneath your flawless skin and perfect hair. I'd rather have acne for the rest of my life than belittle someone, especially over their looks.

  11. Oh I didn't think you were "blasting" me, no. :) I don't picture you as a "blaster". :) Too sweet for that. I must say, though, that I find it amazing that someone as naturally GORGEOUS as yourself (big blue eyes, blond hair, sweet smile, lovely nose, cute chin, etc and so on...) has insecurities about such things! Just amazing. I always thought people who looked like you walked around feeling pretty daRn content about their exterior! :)

  12. We women can be our own worst enemies. Always judging ourselves against others, judging others against others...ugh, it never seems to stop!
    I find it interesting that even the most 'beautiful' among us still don't think they're beautiful and don't like in themselves what the rest of the world finds so attractive. We're never happy.

    Great post :)

  13. Thank you so much for this. Seriously, it took me a long time to realize that my body just isn't meant to be 5'10'' and a size 2. Not to mention my wallet wasn't meant to pay for an entire Anthropologie wardrobe.

    I can't wait for the world to realize that our current conception of beauty is so flawed.

  14. just stumbled across your blog girl, love it! and i loved this post because you made some really good points!! we are definitely our own worst enemies!
    xo TJ

  15. Wonderful post. I think I've told you like 612 times, but you're awesome. =]

  16. Can I just say that I felt like I have LIVED that last paragraph?! Some days are harder than others, but oh do I try not to live that way anymore. Thanks for posting this Suzy! So much wisdom in these words!

  17. thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. i love hearing everyone's thoughts on this stuff and knowing i'm not the only one thinking and feeling this way. :) you guys are fantastic. and i even found a couple sweet new blogs just now! {hi ladies i've never seen round these parts before!}

    chantelle: haha, well thanks for the kind words. :) i'm just as insecure as the next girl, if not ten times more. which is probably why i get so riled up about this stuff; i want to just not care!

  18. The moment where it goes wrong is when you start comparing. There will always be other people who are prettier, smarter, more whatever. Which means that even when improving your own weak points you will never be happy (no foundation is going to cover that). Also there seems to be this notion that if somebody else has something, there might not be enough of it for the rest of us. Here is where jealousy kicks in. If somebody is pretty it doesn't mean you aren't. I'm happy you brought the subject up. I think every single women gets insecure every once in a while. That's OK. It's just how we choose to deal with it when we do have these feelings.. :)

  19. (Oh btw, totally off topic, I am now officially following you, which I was already kinda doing. But all of that is not my point. The point is I keep feeling like the last pup from the 101 Dalmatians.... )

  20. It's like 6am so I'm not going to try to write something clever, but I really enjoyed this post and I'm glad I began my day with it.

  21. Gah, Suzy I just love you!
    This made me smile...
    it's nice to know that someone else feels this way too!


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