By Holly Russel, Regular ContributorJuly 19, 2015
Every day my Facebook feed is cluttered with them. Headlines like:
7 Photos That Prove Women of All Sizes Look Hot in Bikinis
These 7 Photos Prove That Women's Body Hair Is BEAUTIFUL
New York Photographer Proves Every Woman's Legs are Beautiful
8 Photos That Prove Full Figured Women CAN Wear Horizontal Stripes
Why are we always proving something? Why is it always by conforming to or subverting someone else’s notions of beauty? Why is it STILL all about our bodies?
I understand that many of these projects come from an earnest place of wanting the world to be more inclusive of diverse body types, but how often do you read headlines like:
7 Photos That Prove Men of All Sizes Look Hot in Bathing Suits
These 7 Photos Prove That Men's Body Hair Is BEAUTIFUL
New York Photographer Proves Every Man's Legs are Beautiful
8 Photos That Prove Full Figured Men CAN Wear Horizontal Stripes
You get my point.
We live in a world where it is still considered “fearless” for women to be seen as they are. Ladies, what are we so afraid of? I get that people are cruel, and that how we feel about our physical selves is often incredibly complex, but it disheartens me that the conversation dominating so much social space is still all about our bodies and how acceptable they are to others.
image via flickr.com
We don’t need to prove our worth by being our own brand of beautiful. In fact, we don’t need to prove our worth at all.
And if we want to like and share stories on social media about women who are courageous or bold, we have better role models than someone who has snapped a selfie and put their body in the court of public opinion.
Last week a 9-year-old girl and her mother successfully petitioned to join a boys-only summer program about robotics. Seventeen-year-old Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai spoke at the Oslo Education Summit in Norway advocating for all children to have access to free education. Misty Copeland shattered a 75-year race barrier to become the first black woman to be a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. Charlotte Osei was appointed the first female head of the Electoral Commission in Ghana.
It’s time to change the conversation.
We may never stop being consumed as the object of others’ gazes. We may never fully divorce feelings about our appearance from our sense of self-worth. But we can be a part of spreading stories that are less about what we look like and more about what we do.
Women literally everywhere in the world are taking bold action to make life more livable for others, so I propose this:
For every article in our news feeds about being “fearless” enough to go without makeup or “bold” enough to allow a scarred body to be photographed, let’s share a story about a woman whose courage lies deeper than what we can see in a photograph. These stories – these women – are all around us.
How can you be bold in life in a way that has nothing to do with outer beauty? What bold women have inspired you lately? Tell us below!
Holly Russel has a BA in Journalism from New York University. She’s a Senior Marketing Copywriter for a pet health company and counts dogs among her favorite things on the planet – along with tacos, books, social media, and the City of New York. When she makes it out from behind the computer screen, Holly spends her time practicing yoga, kayaking, and indoor cycling. She lives and writes in Wilmington, NC.
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