People magazine is at it again with their “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” issue. This time, it’s no shocker really that Beyonce was picked for this “prestigious” award. Yes, she’s pretty and all, but I for one, would like to propose that they celebrate women who meet an entirely different set of criteria.
Hitting the stands this Friday, Beyonce–a nine-time nominee for the title–beat out other so-called beauties like Sofia Vergara, Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Miranda Lambert and even Kate Middleton. To Beyonce’s credit, I have to say that I love her confidence which appears to come largely from being a mom:
I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt because I’ve given birth. I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth.
But, in my opinion, she should have declined the award. As should all celebrities who are chosen to be honored strictly because of their appearance.
In a world where 10 million girls and women are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, and millions more who are struggling with binge eating disorder, it’s pretty irresponsible for any woman in the public eye to continue perpetuating the idea that our worth and our value is tied to our looks. Imagine the statement–and the impact on women all over the world–that Beyonce would have made if she said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
It’s also just as irresponsible for any major media outlet to continue celebrating females completely based on the way they look.
In a society where the average person sees 5,000 advertising messages a day–many of them about weight and beauty, the media has a tremendous impact on how girls and women view themselves. In fact, one study of teen adolescent magazines over the course of 20 years found that in articles about fitness or exercise plans, 74% cited “to become more attractive” as a reason to start exercising and 51% noted the need to lose weight or burn calories. Another study found that 1 out of every 3.8 TV commercials send some sort of “attractiveness message,” telling viewers what is or is not attractive. In short, researchers estimate that the average adolescent sees over 5,260 “attractiveness messages” per year.
That’s a whole lot of people telling females what is–and isn’t–attractive. No wonder we have so many negative body image issues in this country!
In light of this, here are some ideas for you, People magazine, about other more important awards you could be handing out to women:
– World’s Most Kick-Ass Athlete (who isn’t a pro). Let’s celebrate real, everyday women who are out there working hard to stay in shape and do something healthy with their bodies. The ones who have kids at home and have to hit the gym at 5am just to fit their workout in. Or the ones who have cancer and still manage to get to the pool every morning because they refuse to give up. Or the ones who are committed to losing weight and started running this year, even though it takes every ounce of energy they have. Those are women who deserve to be celebrated.
– Women of Every Size and Shape. Let’s quit with all the this-is-what-beauty-looks-like. Because one look does not fit all. Just like there are millions of women in this world, there are just as many different descriptions of what real beauty looks like–and it has nothing to do with what’s on the outside.
– An Unexpected Woman. There are so many women out there doing great, impressive, respectful things in this world. How about honoring them? Women who are helping to cure cancer, serving the homeless in Haiti, teaching our children with true compassion, and caring for the sick in developing countries. Let’s celebrate women who are actually doing something. Because the way you look is not doing anything for the world.
Of course, this is just what I’d like to see on the cover People–real people who are being honored for something real.
If you have suggestions too, by all means, weigh in.