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.