“It’s confronting to see these big signs and feeling I had to choose and be self-conscious of how you see yourself, and perhaps how the rest of the world perceive you.”
In the “choose beautiful“ campaign, Dove installed a choice of two doorways, one with a sign that reads “beautiful” and the other “average”. Women passing by the building were asked to walk through one of the doorways according to how they perceive themselves. The little experiment that was carried out worldwide showed us once again how little women think of themselves.
“I went through the ‘average’ door”
“Really? Oh my God!”
“Yeah…I didn’t even hesitate.”
Although I wasn’t much surprised, it saddens me the see a lot of these beautiful women stare at the menacing signs and end up choosing to go through the “average” door.
“…that my choosing is because of what was constantly being bombarded at me, what I’m being told, or is that what I truly believe.”
Growing up, few of us have been told we’re beautiful. In fact, throughout our lives, we are constantly bombarded with criticism and unrealistic standards of beauty. It’s common for girls to think that they’re not beautiful enough, no matter what they do, that there will always be a hundred, if not thousands, of girls out there who are more beautiful than they are.
Girls are often taught to believe that it would be better to stay humble. We are taught to scrutinize every inch of our bodies to always find the things that we can make better. We are also taught that it is better to keep a low profile about our achievements and to stay in the background. We are taught to deny the compliments thrown our ways and reply with a sweet “Oh thank you, but I really am not.” We are not taught to feel proud about ourselves and we are definitely not taught to embrace the feeling of pride from admitting that we are beautiful.
Growing up, I never believed I was beautiful. My skin was always too dark, my ears were always too big, and my hair was always too curly. It wasn’t until I said “fuck you” to the world and embraced myself as I was, flaws and all, that I started to feel powerful. Soon enough, people started to see me as the beautiful person I feel inside.
I often have some friends come up to me, beautiful girls, to ask me to help them “become beautiful” or to “actually look like a girl”. It saddens me every time this happens because I truly believe that they are really, really beautiful, but they are too afraid to admit that. It’s scary to confront the way you see yourself, but after you’ve learned to accept yourself for who you are and be proud of it, you will feel more powerful than you’ve ever felt in your life.
I don’t think beauty is about having a toned bikini body or the perfect eyeliner flick, and it’s definitely not about being more attractive than other girls. I think true beauty comes from within. I believe that beauty comes from admitting your flaws and feeling proud of who you are. I believe that beauty comes from being strong enough to challenge everyone who put you down, and show the world the wonderful person that you are. I believe that everyone is beautiful and the world will be a more beautiful place if everyone dares to admit that.
Don’t let anyone dull your sparkles!
Prameswari Noor Andytaputri is a redhead and a pie enthusiast with a strong affinity for cats. She can often be found with her head deep within the pages of a book, but she wouldn't mind putting the book down for an amicable discussion on mythologies, gender issues, or the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
*A version of this piece was published in Prameswari's blog