Who’s ready to stop the insanity?


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Ian Muttoo

I remember the first time I heard poetry slammer, Katie Makkai, define the word pretty.

I remember sitting in my chair motionless; tears streaming down my face; my brain busily trying to commit to memory the words I’d just heard.

I wanted to cheer, to clap, to give this woman a standing ovation.

And I did.

I stood up, cheered, and clapped because this woman’s words had blown me away.

Pretty.

Just a word.

Just an adjective and yet, so powerful, that it has the ability to make many of us feel either elated or miserable.

Yet, who defines the meaning of the word pretty?

Do we assign our own definition, or do we fall prey to society’s definition of beauty?

Do we believe we’re beautiful by sheer virtue of being who we are, or do we allow society to dictate who is or isn’t pretty?

A few days ago, fellow blogger Debbie, from Musings by an ND Domer’s Mom, wrote a blog post titled “Another Fad Diet?”

In it, she discussed how brides to be, in the pursuit of losing twenty pounds, are inserting feeding tubes in their noses for ten days and refusing to eat.

Elizabeth, from Yo Mama, recently blogged about Ashley Judd’s article in The Daily Beast, concerning how Judd found it necessary to provide the public with an explanation of why she appears “puffy” in her new television series, “Missing.”

It appears the media has made speculations and accusations that her puffiness is a result of her having had “work done.”

Judd decided to address the situation as a means to “stop the insanity.”

She makes a valid point.

We must stop the insanity of placing our lives at risk simply to achieve society’s definition of beauty.

And yet, we must ask ourselves, how do we stop?

How do we stop believing we are not worthy if we are not thin?
How do we stop believing that our physical appearance is the only thing that defines us?
How do we stop thinking we are not beautiful if we don’t look a certain way?

This post is not meant to reaffirm that we are all beautiful, although I heartily believe this is true.

Instead, it’s meant to convince you, dear reader, that we must join forces to stop the insanity.

Together, we must redefine what comprises beauty.

And while we may have different definitions, I’m confident we can all agree that in order to feel beautiful, we don’t have to weigh a certain weight, have a certain shape, or look a certain way.

In her article, Judd states that ironically, the conversation about her puffy face was started by other women.

How sad that competition among women has come to this; to women raising false accusations and speaking ill of one another, when instead, we should be bonding over shared experiences, dreams, and joy.

I say it’s not too late to reawaken the sisterhood.

Let us laugh, giggle, and support each other in our grief, pain, and triumphs.

Let us go back to the time when being best friends meant sharing secrets, helping one another, and splitting a stick of gum.

Let us encourage each other so that we can all come to believe we are beautiful; that we are worthy.

The only way we can stop the insanity is by coming together to say, enough.

Let us demonstrate that the sisterhood still exists and it’s on a mission; a mission to stop the insanity.

What say you, ladies?
Are you in?

Note: Lori, from The Ole Master Plan, wrote a wonderful blog post titled, “Worth Doesn’t Equal a Size 4.” Check it out by clicking on this link. Also, please stop by Debbie’s blog to read her informative post on the K-E diet, as well as Elizabeth’s inspiring post, “Making Ashley Judd’s Moment Last.”

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89 thoughts on “Who’s ready to stop the insanity?

  1. I’m in! I agree we have to stick together! Competition is what causes the problems and it’s a masculine trait! Goddess up, ladies! Can’t wait to read the other posts!

    • Jodi, we are super delighted to have you on board! I like the idea of tapping into our inner goddess! Suddenly I’m feeling like I have more pep in my step! :)

  2. Well said, Bella! Great post. Yes, I’m in. And it IS insanity. Kudos to Ashley Judd (love her). What are women competing for, male attention? How crazy is that?! Katie Makkai’s poetry made me cry, too. (esp. when she talked about her mother).

    • Lady, I think Katie’s poem resonates with a lot of us. My mother, thankfully, was not like her mother, but I have felt the pressure to be “pretty” many times in my life. I’m so grateful to have finally understood that exterior beauty comes up short when you’re lacking inner beauty. I’m thrilled to have you join us! :)

    • And the fact that you feel this pain means you have great empathy, lady–one of the best qualities a human being can have, lady! Good for you! Thank you for your sweet words. I am tickled pink you think so! :)

    • Corinne, I’m so happy to have left you speechless! hee hee! I know this must mean that you are inspired and ready to join us to redefine beauty! :)

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Corinne! I’m glad you asked what we can do! I think one of the things we can do is to post links and start discussions on our blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter so we are constantly initiating conversation about society’s erred perception of beauty. The definition of beauty is subjective, hence, we can discover what makes us beautiful. We can encourage other women to do the same and we can acknowledge the beauty in other women, instead of competing with them or feeling threatened. We can compliment, say an uplifting word, and teach others to accept themselves the way the are. We can teach our young girls what the true meaning of beauty is and encourage them to be self accepting. W can promote exercise as a way to stay healthy instead of a way to lose weight. We can start our day with positive, self-affirming messages. We can refuse to buy products, magazines, and designers who only market their products to a specific body type. We can send letters to companies who send out negative body image messages and tell them why won’t patronize them until they make changes in their advertisements. We can start get together over coffee and discuss what makes us unique, beautiful, amazing! The sky’s the limit, Corinne! Take your pick! :)

    • Una, I knew I could on you! Yay! This makes two “yays” and if you know me well, you know I don’t say “yay” unless I’m extremely motivated! hee hee! Jodi’s a star with star power! She always has the right thing to say! As do you with your inclusion in our revolution! :)

  3. Thanks for a great post! I remember my sisters and I all struggling with the definition of pretty. Oddly enough though my mother always said I was beautiful she always called herself ugly. I found it very strange since people always said we looked alike. Those of us who are mothers have to realize that the way we view ourselves and others greatly effects how our children see themselves. Thanks again for a great piece!

    • Kathy, thank you for enhancing this post. What you say is so true–as parents, what we say and do does have an impact on our children. I’ve always made sure to fortify my children’s self-esteem and encourage them to feel good about themselves. There’s nothing better than self-assured children! In regard to your mum, I remember my mom sometimes saying she was having an “ugly” day. As a child, I could never understand what that meant since she always looked the same to me. :)

  4. I Am Soooooo In, Bella. I think you must know that already.

    Ashley Judd is a great role model for women & so are you.

    We must stand up and SCREAM, “NO MORE.!!”

    Until we do this , nothing will change, and we will be judged on our exterior rather than our interior.

    Isn’t it ironic? —–That people, media, etc…are more interested in our big boobs and beautiful face than our beating HEART <3

    xxx

    • Kim, love, I knew I could count on you! Absolutely, lady, lets scream, “No more!” Change cannot take place until we find our voices; until we dare take a stand against the craziness of putting our health at risk, mental and physical, only to reach society’s definition of beauty. And you’re right–it is utterly sad our heart takes third place to our buttocks, breasts, and everything in between. And whatever happened to our beautiful minds? They’ve practically blended into the woodwork! Lets put our heads together and figure out how to conquer this beast! XOXO :)

    • Susan, hello and welcome! I am so happy to have you on board! We really have to create awareness of this problem. So many young girls succumb to the pressures of society and as a result, are prone to suffer from eating disorders and other health conditions. This has to stop! Joy from me to you, lady!

  5. Bella, you know you can count on me. I’m in, for sure. But we’ll never eradicate the insanity of which you speak until the media is in, too. And that’s a sad statement about our culture, a downward spiral that was released long ago. Like models who starve themselves, and magazine publishers, and fashionistas who revere them. And little girls who grow up to fast and are allowed to dye their hair and wear heavy eyeliner. It’s so embedded. But, for what it’s worth, I’m in.

    • Monica, sadly, what you say is true, all true. And yet we shall use this to spur us forward, swords drawn, to conquer the media beast! If enough people come together, we can leash the monster. I want to think that it’s possible to restructure the way society thinks. It’s going to take time, of course, but we can do it. Dove has taken a few steps in promoting positive body image and body acceptance. Many fashion magazines are now featuring full figured models in their glossy pages, and yet this is not enough. We shouldn’t settle for just a few pages when the majority of women weigh much more than the rail thin models in fashion magazines. Even more important, we’re shouting from the roof tops that all bodies are beautiful–thin, fat, average. One person can make a difference, so imagine a crowd! Chin up, lady! We’ve got this! :)

    • Sulekha, my friend, I knew your name would be on the list! You are one hundred percent correct–what good is a pretty face if we don’t cultivate our other virtues as well? There’s more to you and me than just a face. We have intellect, humanity, empathy, generosity! Now we just have to convince the masses! :)

  6. IN, IN, IN! Bella. Feeding tubes? What’s next? And shame on the media, for doing that to Ashley Judd. It’s the 24-hour news cycle that’s driving some of this–a voracious appetite for stupid gossip, often demeaning to women. Great great great post!

    • Jann, I am so glad that Ashley Judd has taken a stand against these shenanigans. It’s important that celebrities also join the campaign of body acceptance since they can reach so many people. And really, if a woman like Judd gets picked on, what can the rest of us expect? It really is ridiculous that after all she’s done, all the media can concentrate on is whether she’s had plastic surgery or not. Ridiculous, I tell you! I’m so glad you’re in! :)

    • P.S. I heard about the feeding tube “diet” while I was over at a friend’s house, watching “Dancing With the Stars.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I turned to my friend and said, “Are they f***ing serious?” Sad.

    • Ellen, that’s what I mentioned to Debbie. It’s incredible what some women will do in the pursuit of being thin. I’m sorry, but I will not put my health at risk simply to lose twenty pounds. Sad, indeed, lady.

    • Ellen, isn’t this video amazing? I don’t know how manmy times I’ve watched it and it always has the same effect on me. It truly is powerful and inspiring! I’m sooo happy you’re joining us, lady! XOXO :)

  7. I grew up in the skinny ‘sixties and ‘seventies, The pressure was most definitely there. I remember I got my first “girdle” when I was twelve. It was downhill from there.

    And by downhill, I do mean from then until now. I still hear my mother’s voice – “That girl is fat.” We are sitting in the mall having coffee. There are lots of things we could comment on or discuss, but that’s what she remarks upon. It happened frequently.

    I say nothing.

    I remember seeing a clip of “Charlie’s Angels” right after Farrah Fawcet died. It was like a sock in the gut. They were wearing fitted bell-bottoms with wide waistbands that showed their shape. Those girls looked like sticks. I could not believe how thin they were.

    I never thought that cosmetic surgery would catch on the way it has. Implants. Liposuction.

    Beauty is between the ears.

    Great post.

    • Eloise, our mothers didn’t know any better. Thank goodness that we’ve learned the negative effects these comments can have on our kids. I once remember my mom telling me, “I think we should save up to get you a nose job.” I was horrified and confused as to why she would want me to change my piggy nose! hee hee! The ladies from Charlies Angels were way too thin, you’re right. Thank goodness we’re starting to embrace that beauty comes in all sizes, ages, and shapes. “Beauty is between the ears.”–I love it! And ain’t it the truth! :)

    • Sanchari! Yay! I’m over the moon that you’ve decided to join us! I think we’re on the way to making positive changes! :)

    • Melissa, I love, love that you’re ready! Now that speaks of a woman who’s in charge of her destiny and is committed to reaching goals! Thank you for your sweet words. I’m honored, friend. :)

  8. Powerful words. Katie is amazing and so are you. I’m in and my first project is to shut down my own self-critical voice. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m going to do the work.

    • Shary, thank you for your kind words. I love that you’ve already started to invoke change! Kudos to you! You see, this is the kind of inspiration we need! We need to silence our destructive inner critic and while it may not be easy, I know you’ve got this beat! You go, girl! :)

    • Diane, I will take that piece of gum, but only if we share it! Sisters unite, lady! Thanks for the kind words. I’ve jotted your name on the “Sisters That Are In” list! hee hee! :)

  9. One of the things getting a little older has done for me is to make me oh so contented in my own body and with my own looks. If anyone else doesn’t like this it really is their problem and not mine. I think women are their own worst critics.

    • Elizabeth, I agree wholeheartedly. I think that while the media is guilty of feeding us bogus information, we’re guilty for buying into such tomfoolery. Change has to being with ourselves. Like Shary mentioned in her comment, we must stifle the inner critic. We have to stop becoming depressed because we don’t look a certain way, or worse, that we don’t look the way we did ten years ago! Just tonight I went to dinner with the Son and the waitress asked me how old he was. When I said 20, she said, “I can’t believe you have a son who’s twenty!” My inner critic would not have been this generous. Instead, she would have probably said, “You look like his granny!” hee hee! Yes, lets silence the inner critic! :)

  10. Definitely, Bella. If I learned something from my current job, it’s that women need to just learn to stop listening to other people and take a good look at themselves. A good LONG look. Then realize that their lives and bodies are their own and the only ones they will ever have. If they don’t like it, they should realize that only they can change it, but that shouldn’t mean they can’t love themselves while they’re changing.

    • Sing, it, sister! Laura, I couldn’t have said it better myself! I’m all for women losing weight to help their health, attitude, state of mind, and so forth. But like you mention, it’s important to love ourselves as we go through the process. I hear so many women hating on their bodies all the time; in dressing rooms, in public restrooms, and even while standing in line at the supermarket. It’s like they can’t love the skin their in and have to trash it viciously. It breaks my heart. Well, I’m sorry. My hips go out to there but I’m loving them. And that’s all she wrote! hee hee! :)

    • Mrs. Allnut, it’s so important to promote young women to practice self-love; to love their bodies and accept that physicality is only what makes up a part of who we are. Indeed, I want to echo your words, “We are beautiful, powerful, and wise!” Besos and sisterhood! :)

  11. So true, Bella. I wrote about this a little last Friday.

    We need to be in the practice of building each other up, not tearing down. And if we are upset with another person or don’t like them (it happens, sometimes with legitimate reason) let’s not pawn it off with insults about their weight, height, or perceived physical attractiveness.

    You are beautiful Bella, inside and out. We need to start telling each other that more (and we really need to believe it when we hear it. :) )

    • Amber, I’m going to have to check out that post of yours! I’m afraid I missed it.I’m with you, sister–attacking other women simply because we’re upset is no way to solve the problem. Surely there are more constructive ways to find a solution or a middle ground. Thank you for your kind words, lady. They have truly made my day today. Lets compliment and support each other, confident that this will have a boomerang effect and before long, hatin’ on other sisters will be a thing of the past! You too are beautiful, Amber! :)

    • Amber, don’t you love the domino/ripple effect? Thank you for including the link! I’ll be dropping by your place later on today to check it out! :)

  12. Great post! As ladies we have to see our own individual beauty instead of trying to compare ourselves to something else. We like the reflections we see in our water dishes :)

    Bella and DiDi

    • Bella and DiDi, thank you for your lovely comment! You ladies are beautiful! Your water dishes are telling the truth, my friends! :)

  13. I’m 100% IN!!!!
    You say it in such a beautiful way. I don’t have a printer at home, but I will scan your post and print it as it will help me with my daughters. Every single day I tell them and repeat that their beauty shines from within. They are beautiful, when their heart is clean from hater and their smile clear from sadness. That is beauty, and YOU Bella are beautiful! Thank you

    • Nikki, your lovely comment makes my heart sing! Thank you! I’m so glad your children hear such wise and wonderful words from you. It’s important to teach our girls to be strong and confident. You’re on the right track, lady! You too are beautiful, Nikki! :)

  14. Bella, count me IN!! Lady, this is one beautiful post (and thanks for the shout-out!). I can’t believe this nonsense about outward appearances is still prevalent. Of course it doesn’t help that designers and clothing manufacturers are trying to save money by skimping on fabric nowadays. Just trying on the same size you’ve always worn can be disheartening, as it clings like a second skin! And that makes all of us think we’re fat, when we just really aren’t. It’s time to stop the madness. Get off the bandwagon. Support one another. Love one another for WHO we are, not how “pretty” we might look. After all, looks are fleeting; true beauty only gets better!

    • Debbie, I’m so glad you approve! I’ve added your name to the growing list and I’m so pleased we’re doing this together. You started a wonderful movement by writing that post and prompting us to wake up to the “out of control” madness this weight loss craze has spun into. I’m with you regarding this stingyness on material by clothes manufacturers. That, or they’re using elves as models! hee hee! I love your words of “True beauty only gets better.” Ah, it reminds me of something my nana used to say. She would say, “Women are like wine, they improve as they age.” And ain’t that the truth! Today three women sat down next to me to have coffee. Every one of them was wearing beautiful clothes and lipstick. There was so much glamor at table, it was unbelievable. The best part? They were all smiling and laughing! No complaints of bad knees, wrinkles, or hair loss! That’s what I’m talking ’bout! :)

  15. I’m in.

    It’s sad how often women belittle other women, by discussing their looks in a negative way, calling them sluts, whores, monsters, ugly, disgusting… Sometimes they do it out of malice, or competition, or whatever; and sometimes they do it “for their own good”, like friends telling friends (or mothers telling their own daughters) that they’re not pretty, that they’re terribly fat (after gaining a pound or two during winter), or something like that.

    It needs to stop. We should be helping each other, not offending and hurting each other while we try to feel a little bit better about ourselves – as if hurting other women could possibly make us feel better. It just hurts us too.

    Err, rant over. :)

    • Ivana, lady, you’re not ranting. You are speaking your mind and what you say is true. As women, we have to speaking out against each other and instead, speak respectfully to each other. The labeling, whether it’s done in jest or as a way to hurt and demean, has to stop. We have to stop the bashing, the insults, and the judgement. I’m glad I never listen to anyone who takes a jab at whether vacation time has assisted me in packing a few extra pounds. I am who I am and a few kilos aren’t going to change that. Thank you so much for adding to the mix! :)

  16. I am with you! I am currently writing a post on Ashley Judd’s statements because pretty and I have often been at odds. We women have got to re-define pretty if not for ourselves for all the “beautiful” girls to follow. I see my daughter (whom I am told looks just like me) and I find her perfect yet I look in the mirror and see a million things I would fix. I don’t want her to inherit that. Thanks for getting this big ball rolling!
    :-)
    Traci

    • Traci, your comment is brilliant! I love that you recognize that while you tell your girl that she’s pretty, you’re still thinking you would “fix” your appearance. In recognizing that you do this, you’ve taken the first step. Good for you! I’m so excited that you’re writing a post about Judd’s statement. Please do return and post your link so anyone visiting this post can drop by and read it as well! I’m looking forward to reading it! :)

  17. Holy smokes, where have I been? Clearly, under a rock somewhere. This is a gorgeous post and I’m honored that you linked my rant about a woman’s worth. Gracias, chica, and most definitely I AM IN. When character is valued above appearance, as Dr. King stated, the human race wins. Hugs to you, Bella!

    • Lori, I am so happy you are in, although after your wonderful post, I knew this would be the case! I’m glad that you wrote the post about Ashley Judd. We are creating awareness and keeping the conversation going and that’s so important. I love the Dr. King quote! There has never been a bigger truth, lady. Hugs to you, sister! :)

  18. I’m in, Bella. I am SO in.

    Seems to me that any woman who denigrates another woman is doing so out of her own insecurity and pain. There’s no need or time to be hateful if we love ourselves and are making our own lives work.

    While the media plays its part, healing starts with each one of us, individually, refusing to buy in to notions of beauty.We are disconnected from our bodies, seeing only the value of the outer and not shooting for inner, radiant health. The body finds its way and shape naturally when we treat it with loving care, not to lose weight, but to feel healthy and strong.

    • Nadine, thank you so very much for enhancing this post. You have brilliantly explained the importance of self acceptance and self love. Indeed, it is up to ous to make the changes if we are to get back on the path of accepting ourselves unconditionally. I for one am tired of hating on my body. I want to put an end to the madness of standing in front of a mirror wishing my tummy were flatter, my hips narrower, and my butt smaller. I belive that in writing about these issues we can evoke change. We can turn ourselves around and start seeing exercise as a means to stay healthy and not simply to lose weight. Thank you, lady! :)

  19. Bella, I don’t mean to be an interloper here, but I had to let you know that your post moved me to tears. I’ve spent my whole life trying to be good enough for…what ever was there and now that I’m a father, all I want is to be good enough to arm my kids with the self esteem and sense of worth that I lack. I wrote this post, “Confrontation” a while back for a writing prompt. I see you are very popular and hope only that you may have a few moments to read and that it proves worth your while.
    Thank you so much for what you have written and for linking to that amazing poem. I can’t stop crying…I feel so tangled with deep emotion and years of sadness.
    http://reasonable-thought.blogspot.com/2012/03/confrontation-frightful-visage.html

    • Mike, hello and welcome! I am honored to have you here. I hopped over to your blog as soon as I read this comment and I was moved by your beautifully written post. It’s never too late to change who we are and to embrace a stronger, more knowledgeable “us.” In modeling a stronger self esteem and self belief, both your children and you benefit. I’m delighted you liked the post and that you were able to share a link to your blog. Confrontation ain’t got nothing on you, friend! Good for you! :)

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    • Nadine, I love your post! Love it! It goes to prove how we can keep the conversation going and create awareness at the same time! Thank you! :)

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  22. Bella,

    Count me IN, love handles and all :)

    I adore Ashley Judd & was glad she spoke out against this nonsense. It is my hope that enough women get a clue so as to change this tide of insanity that is indeed infecting (not a typo) the current generation. It breaks my heart to see what women of all ages put themselves through to attain the unreachable standard of beauty pushed by media and pop culture. Great post!

    • Coco, you’ve used the perfect word–infecting. Because that’s what the process of socialization is doing, infecting us with the notion that beauty only comes in certain weight, size, age, and shape. Hogwash! I hope more women will wise up to the fact that society doesn’t have to define beauty for us. We’re all beautiful in our own unique way. I’m thrilled you like the post, friend! Thanks for your input! :)

    • Imelda, I am honored that you’re joining me and that you’ve reblogged this post! Thank your for your support and encouragement! This is a perfect way to get the message across! :)

    • Hi Mike! I have joined Tara’s conversation and put in my two cents! Thank you so much for the invite! I am honored. :)

  23. Please count me in. I just came here from Savvy Working Gal’s post inspired by you, & I am blown away at how many of us are struggling to change perceptions. So uplifting to know I’m not alone in questioning “status quo”. I will be blogging on this topic soon myself — my way of passing on your inspiring message. Thank you, Thank you, & Thank you again, several times over. xoxo

    • Andi, your comment has made my day! Thank you! I’m so glad you’re joining us in the effort to create change! You might like to read the post where I included the Son’s definition of masculinity. I’m certain you will approve! http://gypsyroxylee.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/one-mans-definition-of-masculinity/
      I look forward to reading your blog post. Please do post another comment and provide the link so others can read it as well. We can also tweet it in the effort to keep the conversation alive. You’re welcome, lady! So great for you to join us! :)

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