There is no place on earth where you can escape from the reaches of the media and advertising, and the lies the media tells you about beauty. They seem to have taken over our lives – in the decisions we make and especially the way we think about ourselves.
Research suggests that mass media is doing a convincing job of making us feel pretty bad about ourselves.
It is also very disheartening to see the impact it has on women’s self-confidence. Anywhere and everywhere you go, it is suggested that you can be better by buying this pair of shoes, this gym membership, this financial investment, this body lotion, this energy drink, this toothpaste, etc. etc.
Media and marketing profoundly influence the lies we tell ourselves. In movies, television and in advertisements, we are fed information about who we should be.
Like most women and young girls, I fell for it too. I was a simple girl born on a small tropical island called Andaman in India, and when got an opportunity to move to London when I was 23 to pursue higher studies, I recall being bombarded by images of how a modern woman should look. Guess what, I began to follow these trends until I found myself living a purposeless life. Through a series of experiences of stressing about how to look good at work, on a date, in a dance class, on a night out, I had had enough! I was tired of trying to become the women from the advertisements!
Six years ago, I carefully began to question these advertisements that I was exposed to on a daily basis, and saw how it always made me feel ‘not-enough’. Watching the mind opening documentary – Miss Representation just added fuel to my fire of not following the media trends, and investigating within myself how I could feel more of myself without the products being peddled by the media.
I wanted to know what true beauty and womanhood was all about! Is it merely materialistic? How about the concept of ‘inner-beauty’? Like a curious cat, I spent the next three years immersing myself in to the studies of all things feminine and I can now proudly say:
‘A beautiful woman shines from within - even when all material possessions are taken away from her and her beauty is contagious!’
So I want to share with you the four lies that media tells you about BEAUTY -
Lie#1 – Wear expensive make-up, high heels & sexy clothes to look beautiful
Media makes billions of dollars every year advertising this point. I am sure you have tried that sexy dress with high heels and make-up too. How did it you feel? Great of course! But my question is how long did that great feeling last! This version of beauty portrayed by the media is what every girl wants. Me too. But what I learnt is that most of us limit our version of beauty to just these external influences. In the end, when we are out of the sexy dress we go back to feeling ‘not-enough’. Even Marilyn Monroe never felt beautiful in her own skin.
Lie#2 – Tuck your tummy in to look beautiful
You exactly know what I mean! In my work with women, I have hardly met any woman who is happy with the size of her tummy. Media shows the perfect representation of beauty to be tummy toned. This in turn has ingrained an unconscious guilt among women who do not have a flat tummy. We do all sorts of things to hide that extra flesh in our tummy while clicking those selfies. Health and fitness media marketing has contributed a great deal to it. What we do not know, is that as women we store our unresolved emotions and traumas energetically in our tummy. In the work of the divine feminine, this space is called the ‘womb’ which is known as the powerhouse of a woman’s body that can create life itself. Yet so many of us are disconnected with this sacred space in our body which in reality is a gateway for opening up to more intuition, creativity, passion, desire and pleasure in our everyday life.
Lie#3 – Looking beautiful will get you the everlasting love
Yes, attraction is an important factor to fall in love, but it is not the recipe to create long lasting love. The media tell us that if we look beautiful it will be easy to attract our soulmates and everlasting love. Yes, the ones that last for a night for sure! However, several beautiful women in long term relationship come up against the wall of unfulfilment. Why? Not because they are no longer beautiful but because everlasting love requires a commitment of growth from both parties involved. A woman, however beautiful, who does not understand the concept of self-love, begins to expect unconditional love and understanding from their partners and end up with unmet expectations. Studies show that men want women who understand them, give them space and allow them to open up emotionally. Such a woman is much more beautiful to men than the one who just relies on external beauty. I remember the time when my husband said that he was no longer attracted to me. My heart broke. These are the last words a woman wants to hear. According to me, I did all the recommended things to look beautiful, however I forgot to do the inner work of cultivating my self-love, which is a magnet to creating everlasting bonds.
Lie#4 – Beauty fades with time
Ageing is a big no-no in our society. The media suggests we start using anti-ageing products as soon as we hit 30, so that women in general are terrified to step in to their 30s. The media recommends that to maintain beauty you must begin to slow down your ageing through cosmetic products and treatments. When I watch old shows from the seventies or eighties or even nineties I now can see that in the past, we used to have greater diversity of age in our programming. Now, the message is that younger is better. Now, not only do you see young people as the dominant group in media programming, but younger people are now even playing their older counterparts. For example, I’ve noticed that young women in their 20s are often made to represent women in their 30s (like myself). In my experience, I am having the best time of my life in my 30s, with more energy and excitement for life like never before. I know my body, understand my body and love my body to the extent that I am able to enjoy it more and more each day. This only comes through working on cultivating body love, and this beauty stays with you forever.
In highlighting these above lies I want to invite you to start thinking differently as you make choices based on media. The next time you watch an ad, a show or a movie, ask yourself: ‘What messages is this promoting about my self-value as a woman?’
As modern day women awakening in our consciousness, we must begin to question all things we are exposed to.
I want to end with beautiful quote by John Keats:
‘Beauty is truth’
Yes, real everlasting beauty can only be cultivated from within.