There’s More to a Person Than Pretty Packaging
A friend shared a post written by Mayim Bialik in which she discusses the reasons behind choosing to ignore convention and dress to both please and respect her own values and beliefs. Despite the flack she’s received, accusing her of “slut shaming” and the like, she sends a strong message to us all: choosing what we wear and how we present ourselves publicly should be our own choice and does not, by any means either approve or condemn the choices of others.
I’ve read posts by and about Ms. Bialik recently and am impressed by how such a brilliant and accomplished woman writes without ego or affectation, addressing her subject with neither judgement or guile. And yet, people still see fit to attack her words. Still, she takes their attacks as an opportunity to share her beliefs rather than sharing or perpetuating the vitriol. Her article not only resonated with me but sent my ever-changing brain into a virtual tail-spin of topics, some only loosely connected.
When I was a teenager, there wasn’t as much pressure to conform as there seems to be now. In fact, I was fortunate to grow up in a time when there was a lot of pressure not to conform. For a girl like me who had curly hair instead of straight and the ample hips of my heritage rather than the stick figure perpetuated by Twiggy, it was more of a blessing than I realized at the time. In fact, the only pressure to conform came from my mother and as a pretty typical teenager, I did my best to thwart her.
Ms. Bialik’s article showed me just how difficult it is for young women today to just be themselves and to love the body they have, imperfections and all.
Loving your Own Body Beautiful
As my mind struggled to assimilate such a foreign concept (I choose to spend much of my time in what would be considered workout wear. It’s comfortable, it suits my lifestyle and it’s easy care!) I thought about the young women who share my preferred dance venue. Many do fit the skinny-girl-with-long-straight-hair mold. Of those, some dress fairly modestly while others flaunt it all, leaving little to the imagination. The rest are somewhere in between. But the ones who stand out for me are those who don’t have perfect bodies, yet wear what they want to and pay no attention to what others might think. I find this both refreshing and impressive in a world of body hating, they love the skin they’re in. Some of us could learn a lot from their attitude.
One young woman in particular comes to mind. She is as full-figured as any of Peter Paul Rubens’ most buxom ladies. Some nights, she is dressed relatively modestly while others, she puts it all out there with neither modesty nor shame. Even more, she seems to have a following of young women who also dress to please themselves, if rather more modestly than their leader. It is clear that she is loved and respected by her peers and is friendly and open with everyone.
People being people, I suspect there are the haters who will make derogatory remarks, if not to her face, behind her back. They’ll laugh and point and make rude comments about her clothes and her weight, but she chooses to love herself, and that’s all that matters. Above all, it is clear that she doesn’t judge others by their outer packaging either. Her circle runs the whole gamut from adorable and perfect to as plain as white paint, but she treats each with the same amount of love and respect.
After reading Ms. Bialik’s article, I find myself hoping this young woman is just the beginning of women reclaiming their right to love themselves without heeding or yielding to societal pressure or someone else’s idea of how they should look or behave. Expecting us all to look, act and behave according to a single set of standards is to turn us into a world of Stepford Wives…and we all know how that turned out!
Further Proof That Everything Happens for a Reason
I have long lived my life believing that everything happens for a reason. We experience good things when we are following our true path. Those not-so-good ones are lessons which either help us get back on track or teach us something which will be valuable later when that true path gets bumpy or even difficult to find. The lessons make us stronger but they also fill our virtual tool-box with things we’ll need to continue our journey. Thus, I believe the recent upsurge in articles and posts by and about Ms. Bialik are just another part of my own journey. One thing is for certain. I will be avidly following her website, Grok Nation from now on. Posts like the one on wardrobe choices make me see that it is in my best interests to pay more attention to women like her or the one at the club who are all about empowering women to stand up for their individuality and to expect those choices, whatever they might be, to be respected.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the article which I find particularly empowering and impressive:
I am a fun person who likes to dress up and who loves my curves and loves to find ways to wear clothes in my personal and professional life that I feel honor my body, my industry, and my desire to not get attention I don’t want. I also am driven a lot by my desire for comfort and not having to constantly diet or exercise every day of my life to meet the standards of the industry. But I have never and will never tell people what to wear.
I hope someday all women will be able to take control of their own body image without the distraction and unnatural influences of a society which sets unrealistic standards and expectations.
My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for women who use words and actions to speak out against the disempowerment of women.
2. I am grateful to live in a society where women can exercise their independence.
3. I am grateful for reminders to love and honor myself in spite of or maybe because of my own packaging.
4. I am grateful for Universal head slaps which push me forward on my own path towards achieving my purpose (or purposes, really!).
5. I am grateful for abundance: information, observation, love, friendship, caring, kindness, compassion, understanding, peace, hope, harmony, health, philanthropy and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!