In my curled up on the couch, feeling sorry for myself state, I did manage to catch up on a few little things and do a lot of thinking.
Firstly, I am a fan of Ingrid Nilsen and recently watched her video on Real or Retouched and how beauty is perceived. I have to admit that at times I have felt like saying "come on people, we know it's airbrushed, lets move on." But listening to her, I really started to understand that even if I feel comfortable with myself and try and encourage people to be confident in their own skin too, it still doesn't take away this warped vision of beauty that as a society we have.
Secondly, I'm a huge fan of Russell Brand and as I was catching up on some episodes of his show "The Trews" (The truth plus the news) I came across one where he was discussing Page 3 being no more. For those of you who don't know what Page 3 is, it's Page 3 in The Sun newspaper, back in my home sweet home of England, and it basically consists of a topless female. Apparently there has been a lot going on back home to where Page 3 no longer exists. Listening to Russell's view on this and how this big step in taking that out of the paper is a positive thing for society, was simply wonderful. He speaks so intelligently and has so much passion and heart and made so much sense to me. Again, at times I have chosen to just ignore things like this and take the road of "well if those girls want to pose then they are just silly and they're fake anyway" But listening to Russell talk about the negative effects it can have on both men and women really opened my eyes and something clicked.
I'm not without my insecurities', I have plenty, but as I mentioned above, I think my take on seeing 'beautiful people' in magazines was always that "well I'm sure some people look like that" or "well it's all airbrushed so there's no point in dwelling on it." I never really put much thought in to it. Yes I have insecurities but I've been told so many times that we all do, that I just kind of sucked it up. However, when I think back to wrestling and times when I had to do photo shoots or do stupid bikini battle royals (to which if I could turn back the hands of time, I wish I would of had the confidence to tell people where to stick it and NO!) I think about how stressful and anxious I felt at having to wear something I didn't feel comfortable parading around in. At this moment in time I can tell you that I am happy with my body, if I want my bum to be more toned I know enough workout exercises that I can get right to it, but as of right now I stay active and healthy and I am happy with the way I look. In addition, I'm fortunate enough to have a husband who constantly builds me up and says lovely things about me every day. But when you know you are going to be on TV and have photos taken of you, all of a sudden your brain starts going into overdrive and you start to think about all your wrinkles and dimples and try and think of every which way in which you can cover them. Thinking back to these times and watching the aforementioned videos, I suddenly realized how terrible airbrushing, Photoshop and putting one type of female figure on page 3, is for our brains, minds, souls and hearts. It can effect everything. I know some of you are probably thinking "well duh" and I do apologize for the lateness in this realization, but I think hearing Russell Brand, a guy, talking about how his brain gets messed up when all he is shown is this kind of women who symbolizes what every man should want and every women want to look like, finally made my brain click.
I started thinking to myself that it's all well and good if I feel comfortable in my own skin but wouldn't it be nice if I didn't feel like an outsider, like I'm one of those women who is happy with her own skin even if its not "perfect". Is it just me or are all of us women who have stretch marks and cellulite, who don't have bronze smooth glowing skin, who have little bumps and dimples, made to feel like we are someone to be admired? You know like we are so inspiring for being happy and confident with our bodies when they are not perfect? Well who the hell says they are not perfect? Please tell me who defines what perfect is?
For the past few months now I haven't picked up any type of girlie magazine, like Cosmopolitan or Glamour, as I just feel they are so hypocritical and I had read an article in one of them last year that just made me feel sick, so I haven't touched them since. But occasionally I see a tweet from them and I can't help but laugh, today I saw them promoting an artist who had changed Disney characters and added a bit more weight to make them look more 'normal' yet their magazines are full of Photoshop and airbrushing and models who are more or less the same size???!!!
I remember when Guardians of the Galaxy came out and all the headlines read "Chris Pratt gets hot." I remember turning to my husband and getting so mad and saying "Chris Pratt has always been hot" It disgusted me that people would only now see him has hot because he has abs. So all of what I am saying applies to men too. Society is polluting our brains and giving us this warped vision of what is sexy and what is good looking. My husband laughed at me the other week because we had gotten on to a topic such as this and as an example I said to Chris "I find Kramer (Michael Richards) sexier than Brad Pitt." I used Brad Pitt as an example as he is someone universally know as a sex symbol. I explained to my husband that, granted I am going off characters and I have fallen in love with Kramer on Seinfeld and I haven't seen many Brad Pitt movies, so there is that connection to Kramer that makes him attractive, but everyone sees beauty differently. The world might see Brad Pitt as a sex God but I personally would take Michael Richards any day. :) The point is, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and its not just about what's on the outside. Magazines need to stop looking through one pair of eyes and focusing on one type of beauty. Yes there are women out there with that smooth bronzed glowing skin, yes there are women out there with beautiful snow white skin, yes there are curvy women and slim women but there's also all us women in between and all of us should be represented and celebrated. (As with the short men, tall men, muscular men, slim men, bigger men, men with scars, men with wrinkles.) The only time we ever see cellulite in a magazine is when they are making fun of celebrities and urging them to get in shape!! And that is another thing that is so ignorant, I for one have had stretch marks and cellulite since I was 16, growing pains if you will, I was always active and ate healthy. As an adult, I wrestled and went to the gym everyday, drank tons of water and again ate healthy, my skin through all its growing in life just happens to stretch that way, I am not ugly or unfit or some disgusting unhealthy person, I'm just me. And yes...I can't wait till pregnancy, I'm sure my skin will have a field day! :p
If you keep up with my blog you know that I enjoy watching makeup tutorials on YouTube and makeup has become somewhat of a hobby for me, but I have to admit that I simply can not watch the videos where these girls are talking about how they edit there selfies. The apps that blur lines and make your skin look airbrushed, they scare me. Moreover, I admit that I love Instagram, it might be my favourite app and I love editing photos and just putting a nice little filter to brighten things up, make my face seem a bit smoother, but just this morning I thought "No no no" We don't see life through a filter. How awful is it to think that we see something we find beautiful and then we change it? We took a picture in the first place because we liked the colour of the flower, or the outfit we were wearing, the sky looked so blue, or the makeup we did was nice, and then we filter it???? I gave up on selfies a little while ago as I would try and take them of my makeup and think "oh gosh no, why does my skin not look so light and smooth like those other girls?" Answer: because they use all these apps to change the final picture. Now, I'm not knocking these girls as I have seen there videos and pictures where they show the world their bare beautiful faces, it's more that it just makes me sad that we now as a society feel the need to filter and that there is now actually technology that means we can do so so easily. In addition, I have had my fair few photo shoots and I know only too well the difference between the altered image and the not altered image. My husband had a photo shoot not too long ago and I remember when we were looking through all his photos, I loved them all straight away. I have one that I use as a background on my phone and when Chris was sending his chosen pictures back to get edited (cut out background stuff and lighting effects mostly) I said I don't want this one retouched, it's perfect. I wonder what it would take for my brain to see those untouched images of myself and be 100% comfortable and accepting of them too. (On a side note, I appreciate makeup hides our true, true selves, but I think it's also art and fun and most of us don't wear makeup every single day. :) )
Another thing I want to mention is that I hope one day as a society we can stop knocking something down to build something else up. I can't stand when I see a magazine cover that reads "Curvy is in" it really irks me. My brain can't fathom how they think that they are being cool and empowering women when they have just knocked down all the women out there who are slim. You'd think by now people were smart enough to understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes, colours and skin and some people are naturally slim, some people naturally curvy, etc. Furthermore, when Meghan Trainors song "All about that bass" hit, I thought it was catchy and great until she said "skinny bitches" and then I turned it off.
One of my favourite places in the world is my Aunties house in Italy. I love visiting my Nanna's family, they are the most beautiful people in the world to me. They live on the hillside in Praiano, along the Amalfi coast, they eat fresh food every day, walk the 100 or so steps to get their groceries each day and they are surrounded by family. They have TV but compared to here where we have all the media, magazines, billboards etc. it feels very much like the simple life. They are the epitome of growing old gracefully, every wrinkle tells a story. Their faces are happy and friendly, warm, loving and kind and I think they are the true beauties of the world. It would be nice if we saw more of that in our magazines. Looking at my Aunties, my Nanna and my Mum, has made me a lot more confident as I'm getting older. The way I look, my skin, my body type, my features, all comes from my genes, my family and I couldn't be any more proud if I tried. That honestly makes me hold my head up high and smile! :)
I don't think I posted this picture before, as it wouldn't fit on Instagram to edit! I have this picture by my bed and I often look at it and laugh at my messy hair and barely there makeup and bug eyes, I thought I might look a bit scary. But now I just see me, so incredibly happy, with my Mum and sisters at my Nanna and Grandad's house eating our favourite 99's and I LOVE it! :)
I know this has been a rather long blog post today, and rather rambly, so I really hope you are still with me and managed to get to the end. :p I think a few of these thoughts have just been building up inside me and when I heard Russell Brand talk I felt so empowered by what he had to say, that it made me want to write and look into what I can do to maybe help change the world instead of just creeping back inside my bubble. I think I'd like to start by using the filters less on my Instagram, it might seem small and I understand it can all be a bit of fun but at the end of the day that's a little step in helping myself to really love who I am and not hide behind even a tiny filter! :) I know it will be hard as I just glanced at my wedding pictures and thought wow, the lady just made everything bright and beautiful, and she really did, but then I think back to my Mum's wedding photos when they didn't have everything edited and airbrushed and I think of how stunning and cute and happy she looked, and I'm like "Come on world, we can do this, we can change for the better and go back to really, truly, seeing and appreciating what beauty you have to offer."
I hope you are have a beautiful weekend and if you have any thoughts on this matter I'd love to read about them in the comments below! Also, if you are a part of any projects or groups that are tackling things like this, please send me links, I'd love to read about them! :) Thank you!
And with that, I am heading back to my blanket and couch and to spend time with my family! :p Be well!
Love Lulu. xx