Guest Author - April Alisa Marquette
Someone is always suggesting we change, enhance, or modify our look. Every season, manufacturers of cosmetics and clothing tell consumers that updating their look is necessary. However, as Ethnic Beauties, aren’t we already fine? I say that we are, for it is not what we wear, the things that we acquire, or even those items that we hope for that make us beautiful. Who we are -- our inner beings -- are what make us beautiful.
I happened to be reading a book on beauty this past weekend. In it were lovely photos of women like Jada Pinkett Smith, Pam Grier, Cameron Diaz, and Salma Hayek to name a few. The thirty or so celebrated women in the book were interviewed. All were asked to give their definition of beauty. Although the answers varied, there was a common thread. Each woman, considered beautiful in her own way, stated that beauty was a belief, a state of mind. Each said, in her own unique voice that beauty, to her, was a kind of knowing that causes a woman to glow.
Many of the women also spoke of the double standard. Often we hear that as men age, they look more distinguished. However, as women age, we are bombarded with the idea that we should change our look. We even receive subliminal messages. They whisper that fine lines and gray hair are unacceptable. It is suggested that we slide under a surgeon’s knife, to correct our ‘flaws.’ In the book however, renowned singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell offered something that caused me to smile. She said that sometimes a surgically altered look nullifies the character in a woman’s face. She said that afterward, others can no longer see how the woman has lived, how much she has laughed or cried. I liked that statement the moment I read it.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe to change one’s look is fine—if it is something a woman has chosen to do. However, I do not believe we should be pressured into taking steps that we otherwise would not. If your skin is supple, or if it has the capability to be, then why not be grateful? If you like your hair, or lack thereof, then you are already fine. If you are a woman who adds extensions, or wears wigs, weaves, colorful scarves, or hats, for whatever your personal reason, then you could already be fine. Do your brown or other colored eyes serve you, and keep you from walking into walls—even if to do so you must wear contact lenses or glasses? Then you too are most likely fine.
Is your inner woman someone worth knowing? Is she compassionate, or maybe even passionate about some cause? If you believe in something, or if you’re on an eternal quest, is that not something to be proud of? Do you listen well; or maybe you’re the woman who tells fantastic jokes or captivating stories. Maybe you write poetry, or songs, or take fantastic photos. You’re a momma, a wife, a lover, jilted, or still in, a quilter, a painter, a teacher, a seamstress, a preacher, a dreamer… Perhaps you’re that one who can figure things out, before others. Are you basically happy with you? Are you an achiever? Have you done something, ever, that you can be proud of? Or perhaps you were that one who encouraged someone else to take a leap of faith. Does someone love you, even if it is your mother, or your cat or dog? If you can clean up nicely, or not; if you can, or cannot recall a time when you’ve looked hot; if you, my lovely, are any of these things and more, then you are quite possibly already fine.
Remember, it matters not what others suggest…the choice to change, or not to change, is yours and yours alone, because you are...quite possibly already fine.