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More than just a

number on a scale

Beauty is the whole package, body, soul and spirit, however, if we only go by what is generally found in the media, women are minimised to their looks and everything that truly matters is ignored. 22◄ Golden Pen

We are more than just bodies. But you wouldn’t know that if you looked to the media for the truth about females. And you wouldn’t know that if you listened to the way so many of us discuss the topic of how we look. “I’m so fat. Look at this cellulite!’ Women get older, but not in media. Extreme thinness, anti-aging, appearancefocused “fitness” and sexual objectification are a few of the

By Elaine Fraser

dangerous ideals we are faced with. It has been said that Photoshopping is creating a new idea of normal. Henry Farid, a Dartmouth Professor who specializes in digital forensics, put it quite succinctly: “The more and more we use this editing, the higher and higher the bar goes. They’re creating things that are physically impossible. We’re seeing really radical

digital plastic surgery…big breasts, tiny waist, ridiculously long legs, elongated neck. All the body fat is removed, all the wrinkles are removed, the skin is smoothed out.” SELF magazine’s editor said this about making Kelly Clarkson thinner in her cover shot, “Photoshopping is an industry standard. Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best…But in the sense that Kelly is the picture of confidence, and she truly is, then I think this photo is the truest we have ever put out there on the newsstand.” The truth is, this wasn’t what Kelly Clarkson looks like currently. The article inside the magazine focused on Kelly’s happiness and health in life no matter what her physical size was, so the cover was false on a number of levels. If we rely on the media to set the standard none of us are going to be pretty or skinny

enough. These messages are telling you that you need to be someone you’re not and create unrealistic expectations. My hairdresser is a gorgeous 22 year-old glamour queen. She had botox because she had one wrinkle in her forehead and was distracted by it. I sat there with foils in my hair, face revealed under harsh lighting with the normal lines found on a woman in her 40’s and wondered, if you think that about yourself, what do you think about me? I couldn’t

In just the last decade, there has been a 446 percent increase in cosmetic procedures in the U.S., which raked in $12 billion in 2010 alone. This reflects an appearance focus that is unhealthy....”

believe this gorgeous girl thought she needed to get rid of one tiny line. The problem is that lineless and expression-free starts to look normal and ideal, while real-life faces with expression look abnormal and ugly. In just the last decade, there has been a 446 percent increase in cosmetic procedures in the U.S., which raked in $12 billion in 2010 alone. This reflects an appearance focus that is unhealthy. Making ourselves fit the physical image is costly. Spray tans; laser hair removal, tattooed makeup, collagen lip injections, facial fillers, lash lengthening prescriptions to anti-cellulite procedures, poreminimizing and anti-aging products have become a part of the normal beauty routines in the last decade or two. Each year, women put hundreds of billions of dollars into the Golden Pen ► 23

One of Elaine’s books on the subject of beauty.

latest procedures, products and prescriptions to try to reach that bar the media is raising. The messages telling us we are not worthy of love, happiness or success unless we are unattainably beautiful, thin, and sexually desirable are lies, but they are powerful. I believe women need to work on developing characteristics that will endure long after our looks fade.

who others love being around will create an enduring legacy. I don’t think that we should neglect our physical self within healthy parameters. Research has found that girls who feel good about themselves and respect their bodies – regardless of what they look like -are more likely to be physically active and eat healthy. They are less likely to gain unnecessary weight and they make healthy lifestyle choices far into the future. Those parameters are up to each one of us, but if we Enduring beauty is the only focus on the physical side whole package. Working of our lives, it is empty and on building our lives, often disappointing, leaving us contributing to society by feeling a lack of purpose and using our unique gifts and frankly, exhausted from all talents to make the world a the striving. When we begin better place and to be a person to see ourselves for what our

Enduring Beauty

24◄ Golden Pen

beauty really entails, and not what industries would have us believe, we can begin to build beautiful lives, not just beautiful bodies. Qualities such as being a great friend, caring for families, creating art, giving your time and just being kind are the things that make people truly beautiful. Think of all the beautiful people in your life. Are they all the most physically perfect people? Do they look like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt? If they’re like my friends, they are normal people who are attractive because of what they mean to me and what they contribute to the world. There are so many reasons to build beautiful qualities in our lives and also to judge others, not according to the perfection of their appearance, but by the content of their character. (Shades of Martin Luther King Jr.) Jennifer Livingston is a news anchor for WKBT-TV in Wisonson. Earlier this year Jennifer received a letter from a viewer who took issue with the fact that Ms Livingston is overweight. “Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain,”

the letter said. “I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.” Her reply, “The truth is I am overweight. “You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see?” “You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside — and I am much more than a number on a scale.” We are all more than a number on a scale. We are whole people with a body, soul and spirit. If we spent as much time and effort on our internal beauty routines as we do on our physical routines, how outstanding would we be? Taking the emphasis off appearance focused activities and looking outside of ourselves to help others, along with working on characteristics like love, joy, peace and generosity, we will become a beautiful person who projects healthy confidence and positivity to the world.

Audrey Hepburn sums it up well: For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.  As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

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More than a Number on a Scale - Article by Elaine Fraser  

This is an extract from Golden Pen Magazine's Issue 5, 2012. To obtain a free copy of the magazine visit

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