Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2012

Beauty of a Woman

I’m thrilled to participate in August McLaughlin’s blogfest – The Beauty of a Woman.  Check out her blog here http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com.  On Friday, February 10, August will have links to a variety of wonderful blogs about the Beauty of a Woman.

In preparation for this blog, I googled ‘Beautiful Women’.  I was not surprised by what came up:  entry upon entry of the world’s most physically attractive women.  Some of the lists were written by men, others by women and some as the result of surveys, but each and every one of them focused on the physical attributes of women.

We are amazingly beautiful, aren’t we, ladies?

Ironically, research shows that the perception of beauty is about facial symmetry rather than pouty lips or finely arched brows.  The Journal of Young Investigators, Volume 6, suggests that males in the Western World prefer women who have “a small jaw, a small nose, large eyes, and defined cheekbones – features often described as “baby faced.”

But looking at the research and all those beautiful, size 3 women, (always in full make up) was depressing, so I checked out Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.

In 2004, Dove released a study with the following statistics:

  • Only two percent of women describe themselves as beautiful.
  • Sixty-three percent strongly agree that society expects women to enhance their physical attractiveness.
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of women strongly agree that “the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most woman can’t ever achieve.”

When I think of beautiful I think of women who have made a meaningful contribution to the world.  Women who don’t focus on appearance.  Here are some of my nominees for the most beautiful woman in the world:

Louise Hay, who at 61 years of age started Hay House Publishing.  Over 25 years, it has become the world’s largest publisher of self-help and self-actualizing material.  A late bloomer, Louise proves to all women that ‘we can do it’.  And she has a great first name.

Nellie McClung (1873 – 1951) was a Canadian feminist before the term was coined.  Nellie, along with 4 other women launched the “Persons Case” contending that women could be “qualified persons” eligible to sit in the Canadian Senate.  The case was finally won in Canada’s court of last resort and women were   recognized as persons, eligible to be elected to office.   She accomplished this while raising five children and penning novels, short stories and magazine articles.

The most beautiful woman I know personally was my grandmother, Susie Hankel who lived from 1898 to 1996.  To be blunt, Susie was not a pretty woman.  At 5’4” and about 90 pounds, her physical presence was not overwhelming.  She smoked constantly, leaving her left eye permanently irritated from cigarette smoke and her skin deeply wrinkled.  She permed her hair regularly even when the ends were fried, which gave her an excuse to keep it short.  She could walk faster than anyone I know, drank coffee by the barrel and lived her life her way, regardless of what others thought.

Grandma managed the homestead when my grandfather was away, had a huge garden and raised four boys.  She always knew that women were as smart as men – and didn’t mind telling them so.  She didn’t agree that a women’s place was behind her man, especially if he was wrong or incompetent or a fool.  She didn’t believe in big families and had a recipe for birth control that she swore by.  (When you’re done ‘messing around’ for the night, get up, go pee and then drink a BIG glass of very cold water.)

Grandma discovered trousers around the age of 60 and was never seen in a dress again.  She didn’t understand why it was scandalous to be comfortable.  She didn’t own a bra, because she claimed she didn’t ‘have enough’ to bother with one.  She was pregnant when she got married and didn’t care if you knew (It was a dry summer and there was nothing else to do.)

A liberated woman before the term was coined, Grandma enriched my life in ways I can only now appreciate.  She taught me to walk my own path without apology to others.  She taught me to make practical decisions and to never give up.  She forced me to look at life through a different lens than the community around us.  And while that wasn’t always easy, it has paid off immensely for me.

Grandma was honest, forthright and kind.  A woman ahead of her time.  And in my eyes that makes her a beautiful woman.

Who are the beautiful women in your life?  Who are the women who have touched you and made you a better person?

Don’t forget to visit August’s blog on Friday, February 10th, to read a variety of inspiring stories and for chances to win awesome prizes, including a Kindle Touch or $99 Amazon gift card, body image coaching, BOAW mugs and more.

By the way, this post will replace my regular Friday post, so have a great weekend.

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About Louise Behiel

Author, coach, therapist, mother and grandmother. I'm on a spiritual journey and consciously work to grow every day.
This entry was posted in Blogfest, Louise Behiel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2012

  1. Coleen Patrick says:

    I love this–She taught me to walk my own path without apology to others. That is the best lesson ever!
    Anyone who has the ability to genuinely make others feel good about themselves is beautiful to me.

  2. susielindau says:

    What a great story! Your grandma sounds like she was a very strong and beautiful woman.
    I was named after my great grandma Susie. I wish I could have met her…

  3. I believe the real beauty comes from within. I have been blessed with many beautiful women in my life the principle ones being my wife, daughter, and a dear friend.

  4. Amazing story. Your grandmother sounds like an incredible woman!!! She reminds me of my Mom, the most beautiful woman I know!

  5. It is grand to be participating in the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest alongside women like you… I think it is astonishing that only 2% of women think they are beautiful. It is time to change that, isn’t it?

  6. I. Love. Your. Grandma! What a great woman she was. She had spunk and wasn’t afraid of it, that’s the kind of role model you want to have around. Especially love that you focused on strong women for your post.

  7. Your grandma sounds like a hoot – and a fascinating person! Your description of her reminds me of my great-aunt Marie, who will celebrate her 95th birthday next month. Thanks for sharing your own beauty with us!

  8. Louise, I wish I could have met your Grandma! What a beautiful tribute to her and a reminder to us all that being strong enough to walk our own paths is the road to beauty.

    • Lynette, it is amazing to me, that we have to be reminded to walk our paths. (Me included) we all know better and yet we struggle. strange programming we’ve been given, isn’t it?

  9. Pingback: Beauty of a Woman BlogFest « August McLaughlin's Blog

  10. Louise, I am in love with your grandma. What an awesome woman and and an incredible role model. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. gingercalem says:

    I can tell for a fact that I would have ADORED your grandma. She actually has a lot in common with mine! I found the statistic of only 2% of woman would describe themselves as beautiful really sad. 😦

    Great post, Louise!

  12. Vicki Batman says:

    I love the women you chose and especially your grandma. What a wonderful person she was.

    Beauty is found in the heart and soul, in kindness toward others. I hope more companies embrace REAL women cause we aren’t those skinny winnies.

    Thank you for a thoughtful share.

  13. Louise, I love your grandma. She sounds like quite the character and must’ve truly been an inpirational role model for you. I can so relate to her discovery of trousers and never wearing a dress again. Go Granny! 🙂

    Thank you for the awesome post!

    • yes, she was a hoot. the stories I could tell. She never let life get her down. She was very sick at around 40 and was told she was dying. She scoffed at the doctors – she had things to do. It was a slow recovery but she made it and lived to a ripe old age. smoked every day of it too.

  14. I wish I’d known your grandmother, Louise.

    My mom is an inspiration: she’s 86 and is as interested, empathetic, and tolerant as ever.

  15. Oh Louise, what a lovely memory of your grandmother. She sounds like a kick in the pants!

    Beautiful women are everywhere if you’re quiet and patient enough to look for them. You see them protecting each other and children and standing up for what is right even in the face of adversity. Strong, coureageous women are beautiful. Any woman strong enough to blog about her flaws is beautiful.

    Thanks for being part of this wonderful Friday blog fest! The posts have been incredible so far!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a jansen Schmidt

    • Jansen, I agree with everything you’ve said. WE are slowly realizing that to change the world, empower a woman. Our ways of conciliation, affirmation and collaboration are the keys to success.

      And yes, the blog fest has been amazing. We all have different yet similar takes on the topic and every post has been meaningful.

  16. Michelle Beattie says:

    well, I can relate to your grandma’s comment about not needing a bra!

    I love women like this. Someone who knows herself to be straightforward, and tells it like it is. For me, someone who is always positive and supportive and who doesn’t need to bring others down to raise themselves up is beautiful.

    Nice post, Louise!

    • Hmm, weird things, since I posted a reply earlier, mIchelle. Thanks for stopping by. Grandma never worried about others’ opinion of her. she never noticed – she just did what she felt she had to do. as far as the bra goes, she was never a fan – thought they’d damage circulation LOL

  17. Cynthia says:

    Wow, your grandma sounded cool! There are things she did that people wouldn’t do even today…I would have loved to hang out with her. I don’t smoke, but I do drink a lot of coffee!

    • Near the end of her life, Grandma had a series of small strokes one night. She couldn’t sleep, and she insisted on smoking, since she was awake anyway. The care attendants at her facility brought her a leather chair and floor standing ashtray and a rolling chair for them, since she refused a wheelchair to the ‘smoking area’ but was determined to smoke.

      amazing to me that cancer didn’t get her. She died peacefully in her sleep at 96. God Bless you Granny. You taught me a lot.

  18. Julie Rowe says:

    My grandma has made a huge impact on my life. She’s often my inspiration for many of my quirky characters. She’s always late for dinners, events, etc. She was 6 days late for her own wedding and will most likely be late for her own funeral. I want to be like her when I grow up. 🙂

    Thanks Louise for sharing this wonderful wisdom!

  19. Wow! Now THAT is a beautiful woman! I just love hearing stories of strong women, especially from times past.

    “She taught me to walk my own path without apology to others.”—- I’m posting this on my wall. What an inspiration your grandmother is to us all.

    And I just LOVE Louise Hay! I’ve found great revelations through them and in fact, just ordered Heart Thoughts which I can’t wait to get in the mail!

    • Ingrid, thanks for stopping by. Grandma would have been embarrassed by this attention and she would have pooh poohed it. but that’s how she was. did what she felt she had to or wanted to and went on with her life. For example, during the depression, she often brought money into the house playing cards with men. She was a farmer’s wife in Northern Alberta but she didn’t apologize for her skills. she just took her winnings and fed her family.

  20. Lena Corazon says:

    Louise, your grandmother sounds like one of the most amazing women I’ve ever heard about! Talk about gumption and fierceness. 😉

    I admire the women in my family so very much, because they all have their own brand of quiet (and sometimes not-so-quiet!) strength. They’ve taught me to trust my instincts, to be confident in myself, and to never be afraid to take the road less traveled.

    Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your grandmother with us!

    • Lena, how lucky you are to be surrounded by so much strength. lucky you.My sisters are all strong women. it doesn’t necessarily make them easy to get along with, but I have to respect them.

  21. Debra Kristi says:

    Fantastic Louise! Thank you for sharing!

  22. Kecia Adams says:

    Hi Louise. I loved this post. You brought your grandmother to life for us. My grandmother was also a huge influence in my life. She and my mother didn’t really get along, but I adored her. She was a librarian and encouraged my early love of books by reading Green Eggs and Ham to me over and over, as many times as I wanted! Near the end of her life she had to use a powerful magnifying glass to read but she still loved to discuss the “latest” books. She was a mid-westerner who had relocated to California in a model-T with her family (2 brothers and 4 or 5 sisters!) during the depression. She loved to tell stories about her travels, both in America and later in Europe. When my daughter was born, we went to visit her and she held my baby for hours, even though she’d just recovered from a broken elbow. 🙂 I miss her.

    • Kecia we are both blessed – to have had such interesting loving women in our lives. Interesting that my grandmother and my mother didn’t get along either. but they were at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of life view and ‘go along with’ view point, so it’s not surprising. thx for stopping by

  23. I can feel the love you have for your grandmother through your words. She sounds like she was an amazing woman. How lucky you were to have her in your life.

  24. Your grandmother sounds rather like my Nana, who was similarly politically uncorrect, a Depression-era survivor, and strong character. Though she wore shorts and too-tight t-shirts well into her seventies, and painted her eyebrows with bold-but-uneven strokes in coal black, she taught me a lot about resilience. I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t imagine what my Nan would say to something in my life.

  25. Loved your post, Louise, your grandma sounds pretty awesome.

  26. Lawna says:

    Your grandmother sounds like a fantastic lady! I would loved to meet her. She sounds like my Aunt, who was really like my grandmother. How blessed you are to have known such a wonderful lady.

  27. mkstelmack says:

    I’ve always been curious, Louise, about who is telling women the ideal size is flat, tall and skinny. I read an online article about men’s ideal woman based on a study of what porn they watched. The favored body type was way more curvy than the fashion magazines suggest. I wonder if a survey of the fashion directors of the magazines would show that it’s women creating this unrealistic body type. Great post, BTW.

    • i Totally agree Moira. it’s not men who are telling us to look this way. But if you look at Barbie dolls, and every tv show and movie out there – the majority show this body type. And when we’re inundated with certain consistent images, we come to assume those images are correct.

      another place this shows up is violence. People are afraid of ‘bad guys’ coming into their homes or abducting their children, when the greatest risk is from inside the home. more kids are abused by perps they know than any other. Serial killers make great entertainment, but they’re not rooted in reality the way domestic murder is. and yet that’s not entertaining so we don’t see it.

      Calgary police went on more than 10,000 domestic calls in 2010. that’s 300 a day. and yet we don’t hear about that.

      i’ll stop now. LOL thanks for stopping by.

  28. Loved your blog. I have always loved the writings of Louise Hay and have treasured the women in my family who passed down their wisdom and beauty.

    Thanks for reminding me of that.

  29. Pingback: ROW80 Update 7 + Grammar Song « Fabio Bueno

  30. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Hi Louise, I’m finally making my way to the Beauty of a Woman posts that I missed during the blog fest. I sure enjoyed reading about your grandma. Spunky lady! The Dove statistics make sense. I feel the same way the majority of women do. Women who are beautiful to me are those who are kind on the inside so that it shines through their eyes. There are many gorgeous women on the outside but are haughty and their inner ugliness makes it hard to see any beauty in them.
    Nice post, Louise.

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