I’m not entirely sure when the moment was that I realized I was far less dazzled and far more disenchanted by the goings-on in the vast majority of ladies’ magazines. Within the last few years, thumbing through the pages of Glamour, a magazine I used to read religiously when I was younger, left me feeling a bit disconnected and, well, old. Have I changed, or have magazines really changed that much over the last 20 years? (I’m pretty sure it’s me, and, honestly, I’m more than okay with that.)
Recently, my dear friend and partner in all things fashionable April and I were joking that Marie Claire‘s mainstay monthly column, “What I Love About Me”, is consistently little more than a collection of impeccably put-together girls (rarely is there a subject over the age of 30) who look like they could be models, that Marie Claire ostensibly found “on the street” (right). Each girl’s response is invariably either a humble brag (“I love how my flawless skin makes my unique freckles pop!”) or something completely off the wall (“I love how my pointy ears compliment the sunglasses I wear!”). It made me wonder if Marie Claire prompts these women to say something physical about themselves, or if they’re invited to share any trait they love, be it intellectual, emotional, physical, etc.
During a local blogger meetup last week, Amanda of Dragonflight Dreams and Hilary of OneWhiteFace flipped through the latest issue of Marie Claire, and they agreed with our assessment (Hilary: “This is fake, right? It’s for sure fake.”)
Our conversation got me thinking, “I wonder how the women I know would answer that question. Would they say something physical about themselves? Something intellectual? Something completely random that I never would have guessed?” So, I found out. Here are some of the fabulous women in my life with their responses to the question, “What do you love about yourself?”
Lisa, 49 (my fantastic co-worker): “I love the fact that I can laugh at myself.”
Anca, 33 (a dear friend and an all-around amazing person): “I love that I never, ever give up hope. When I feel like the only bearable way is to simply give up, I somehow succeed in finding my way toward healing. Hope has never left me and I plan to never leave it, either.”
when things get chaotic and ridiculous.”
Shelby, 32 (the absolute best and most radiant yoga teacher in all of Austin): “I love my lips and my smile. And I wear bell bottoms a lot. And I’m happy… from the inside.”
Sometimes I’m the only one who laughs!”
“I love that I am the biggest nerd I know, and most are none the wiser.”
There you have it: real women who are beautiful inside and out, sharing what they love about themselves (and just some of the things I truly love about them!) in completely open, honest, unfiltered responses. Some traits are physical, some mental and intellectual, each from a woman I respect and admire. I like that I am seeing more articles like this one in the mainstream, ad campaigns that at least attempt to break the mold of what “true beauty” really means, and photo shares like this that demonstrate the idea that people (not just women!) come in all shapes in sizes, and that’s a good thing. Marie Claire: this is what I’d like to see more of, and I have a feeling I’m not alone.