One of the things I hated a lot about my childhood was that I was allergic to a lot of things around me. From dust to pollen, and even to heat, everything always affected my health or my skin in some way. I remember having skin asthma on my arms and legs for most of the year, most especially near the summer season. It was tiring all the time, to have to apply and re-apply medicine on my arms and legs to make the asthma go away, or torture myself with scratching them and having them bleed time and time again. It was especially awful since I always had to wear long sleeved clothes so that I’d avoid scratching my skin asthma, or that I’d avoid disgusting people because of it. It was especially difficult growing up in a country that had only 2 seasons, hot and hotter, which made the asthma even worse.
One of the things that remind me a lot of those days was a constant companion that I had throughout my childhood, a bar of dove unscented soap. It was this bar of soap in a box with green designs, tucked away in my mom’s closet. Actually, it wasn’t just one box but tons of boxes tucked under her cabinet, well within me and my siblings’ reaches. Everytime the soap in our bathroom would run out, one of us would run to my mom’s closet and grab a box, and proceed back to the bathroom. Overnights and out-of-town events were the same thing, with none of us worrying about not having any soap since there was always more than 10 boxes in stock at any given time. Actually, this scene seems very familiar since I still constantly find myself running to her closet to grab a box whenever I have to pack toiletries for one trip or another.
Around the end of January, it was my greatest pleasure to get invited to participate in a project that tackled one thing I’m a closet-advocate of, the power of Women. Last Wednesday, March 18, I was invited to the launching of Sara Black’s portrait book (by Dove) entitled “When I look in the Mirror”. So together with my mom, without whom my health would not have been an important concern, we watched the launching of a book that featured the real beauty of women, women with flaws but who are beautiful. The whole event was about featuring women who were beautiful despite their flaws, and might I say, Sara Black was just really beautiful, and her photographs were just as amazing. She was able to capture the beauty of all the women who were featured in her book. Women with beauty marks, women who have gone through an event that caused them to have a scar or a burn, women whose genes gave them certain distinguishing characteristics, etc.
Quoting from the press kit, “Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is a global initiative of the brand to build awareness in women of all ages to embrace their natural physical attributes, regardless of how imperfect societal standards say they are. Through the campaign, Dove hops to inspire women to see themselves as unique and beautiful individuals who are not defined by the hue of their skin, or the gloss of their hair, or the measurements of their body parts. When I look in the mirror is yet another positive addition to Dove’s growing roster of projects to strengthen every woman’s self-esteem and build a world of positively empowered women who will not be boxed into society’s limited and limiting definitions of beauty. Through them, every woman can truly say that every woman is beautiful in her own right.”
It is true. I believe, women today need to be empowered that they are beautiful, no matter what physical flaws may be present. Beauty is not only physical, but as the cliche always go, it’s what’s inside that counts. Speaking from experience, I can say that I have never found myself beautiful; from the genetically-passed-on curly hair that I have rebonded every year, to the un-Chinese double eyelids and full lips, to my big hips and only 5’3 height, and to my small child stubby hands and only 6 feet feet, I can go on and on enumerating my flaws. I am not the best example for a woman who considers herself beautiful despite her flaws, but this could be a turning point.
Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and no one is picture-perfect pretty, not even models. Why should we continue to aspire to a body that we know will never be ours? Why can’t we just be satisfied with what he have, and show off to the world how comfortable we are in what God has given us? We should.