By Julia Musker
While I amble through life attempting to be a positive role model for girls and even women (I’m 28 and still not sure when I will consider myself a woman) by touting positive body image and embracing the flaws that make you you, I am guilty of false advertising. Just in this last month I can honestly say that I have uttered such things as, “If I made a lot of money I would get a nose job,” “I should really do something about the wrinkles on my forehead,” and, “I never used to want a boob job, but I can see why women get them.” Even as I said those words aloud to friends, family, and even my boyfriend, I felt shame that I was even considering that the way I looked wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, or just simply, enough. But why?
Debora Spar, the successful president of Barnard College, wrote an article in The New York Times that really hit the nail on the head regarding aging and the beauty dilemma that comes with it. When high-powered, influential, females give in to cultural idealization of youth, it sends, as the author points out, a hypocritical message to younger women about empowerment. Why are we all striving to look the same with non-wrinkled foreheads and plumped up lips? Yet, if a woman admits to getting work done she can be criticized for spending money and time on something so superficial, while a woman with cellulite and gray hair gets touted as an anomaly. Ladies, what is happening here!?
According to Brene Brown’s research, in spite of amazing advances and empowerment for women, body image is still the number one shame trigger for women. Body shame is the central issue in the onset of eating disorders. And, lest we forget, anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental health issues.
Here at AWW, we want to revolutionize the way women relate to ourselves and each other about beauty — from fear, shame and “I’m not enough just as I am” to compassion, love, and accepting the natural changes that are part of growing older.
Sound off AWW women!
What do you think about plastic surgery and the double standards that come with?
Do you think there will ever be a shift to embrace the aging process instead of defying it?
Julia Musker is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in Pasadena. In addition to offering in-office sessions, Julia is developing a model she calls “Walk It Out” – taking clients outside of the traditional office setting and meeting them for walks on tree-lined streets. She is currently building her practice under the supervision of a licensed clinician. She enjoys working with adolescents and adults struggling with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. She loves fitness, hiking, nature, crafting, and freelance writing for health and fitness blogs. For more information, check out her website, www.juliamusker.com.