One of the biggest challenges I face in my career to help women see their beauty, is overcoming the powerful sequence of thoughts that they have made undeniable truths in their minds.
You have to ask who owns your thoughts?
Nearly every client has a “problem” area that most others can’t see. Thoughts have power. Opinions become fact. Religious wars are just that. So why are we waging wars on ourselves?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
For each woman that has a problem area, she has a story of the first time she was made aware of the problem. Most often it was by being teased. I wish I could go back in time and cradle that little girl’s face and ask,
“What makes THEM more right about YOUR body?”
One historical opinion that was made fact is the decision that pink is for girls and blue is for boys.
Prior to the 1940s, most children’s clothes were white and unisex (both wore frilly outfits!).
If you had multiple children in that day it was much easier to keep up by dressing them in hand me downs and bleach when needed. When colors were introduced boys originally wore pink because it was a brighter and more energetic color and girls wore blue because it was more serene. I won’t even go into how I feel about boys being allowed to be rowdy and girls being taught to sit still.
So when and why did it shift?
Think about how many marketing dollars have gone towards making you feel less than. Think about how difficult it is to fight the messages you get hundreds of times a day. Think about how those marketing dollars can change the course of history.
In the 1940s clothing manufacturers saw a golden opportunity. Once you start selling clothes for each sex, you double your sales.
Now if subsequent children are born as opposite sexes, you have to buy a whole new wardrobe. Once we could find out the sex prior to birth it became popular to have the nursery decorated for the gender and ready before birth. It plays upon a parent’s excitement and requires being modified far more often. A new baby in a year or two? Now you have to redecorate again.
I let my son’s beautiful hair grow long because he has precious curls I value more than money.
When he was younger, I let the “why is your daughter dressed like a boy?” questions slide off my back. Recently he came home from school and I told him we were going to cut his hair. He stared at me with those big eyes and said, “I’m so excited. I don’t like it when people tell me I’m a girl. I tell them I’m a boy!” And my heart broke into a million pieces. In Europe (where I spent a good portion of my life) it’s totally acceptable to allow boys to have long hair.
So while we (Americans) feel that it is a fact that boys have short hair and girls have long, it’s actually an opinion.
An opinion that we push on everyone. I still bristle that my kid can’t look unique (and entirely beautiful to me and his dad) without being teased.
Let’s look at vintage jewelry. What we consider a time honored tradition regarding engagement rings is actually fairly recent from a historical view.
Diamond engagement rings have only been popular in the last 75 years. And the origins might surprise you. At the heart, it’s merely social status based on that society’s economy. Keep up with the Jones. The emperor’s new clothes.
Suddenly, because of marketing pushes by diamond companies, diamond rings became a measuring stick of how much he loves you.
They tapped into the most base of emotions: whether we are loved enough or not.
I recently went window shopping for props and couldn’t help but try on some rings. (A girl likes to dream.) I saw one art deco ring and put it on my left hand and was told firmly that it was a right hand ring. I get that there’s a way things have been done, but 75 years in the history of man is just a blip in time.
One jeweler shamed me that if my guy was truly invested in me he would spend x dollars.
And she told me my marriage was doomed to fail.
WHO SAYS?! I can wear whatever I want on whatever finger I want. I’ve never been one to conform and the hypocrisy and pushy sales tactics make me want to buy a ring for my middle finger. Followed by choice words.
First, let me set something straight. I don’t value diamonds as the only currency of proving love.
I get that others do and I respect that that’s how they feel. If you have one and you love it, more power to you. Flaunt that beautiful sparkly bling.
How old were you the first time you learned that diamonds were the only way? When did you learn that he must spend x-months of income to show you he loves you?
I bring this back to loving your body.
If marketing (aka incessant repetition) can make opinions turn into facts, can you go back to those first moments of being shamed and reframe that moment? That was someone else’s opinion. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s truth.
When it comes to your own body, you have the power.
Give us your thoughts!
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, Iman Woods.