Defining Our Beauty

When I look in the mirror, with my natural buzz cut, broad nose, full lips and ample bosom and hips, I see my mother. For me, she is the epitome of beauty, ever since I was a little girl, and she will always be my beauty icon.

But even with someone so self-possessed to look up to, I’ve still had my struggles with my appearance. After turning 40, I had to make peace with the fact that my slender twenty-something body was never coming back!

Eventually I embraced the body I have now, but in more ways than I care to admit, I still question my beauty choices and wonder how I measure up to others.

I know I’m not alone in this self-acceptance tug of war. It’s clear when we look at whose images are elevated and whose isn’t that society sees beauty through a one-dimensional lens.

The key is understanding that these mainstream media images don’t define us. When we treasure our unique selves–our hair, nose, lips, bosom and hips–we begin to embrace our own beauty.

I’d love to hear about your beauty journey. The more we share with one another, the more we create a space where self-acceptance is nurtured and can continue to grow.

Stay in touch,

2 comments… add one
  • Marquita Ezell March 26, 2019, 7:02 pm

    I love this post about defining our beauty. It is interesting that you title this piece exactly right because beauty IS NOT and WILL NOT be the same for every girl or woman. One’s beauty can also be one’s difference from others which is so hard for girls and women, especially of African American descent, to accept. Some’s beauty is their thick frame while others’ beauty is their thin frame. Some are beautiful in their light skin while others are beautiful in their darker skin. Everyone hasn’t been taught this and therefore suffer from issues with self esteem and image. As women, we need to know this and really pass it down to our daughters, nieces, cousins, etc.

  • Jennae Petersen March 29, 2019, 8:28 pm

    Self-acceptance is a constant struggle for me. I’m a fat Black woman with natural hair, and so many of the messages I’ve been surrounded with for my whole life are some version of “you’re not good enough.” Part of what forced me to reckon with the way I see myself and talk to myself was having daughters. I want them to love themselves as they are, and I’ve worked really hard not just to tell them that, but to model it. I still have my days when I don’t feel it from the inside, but they are definitely fewer and further between.

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