We have spent many years agonizing about how we look - whether our bodies are "good enough", how we can tackle "problematic areas", how to make our tummy look flat and skin flawless. How to become an object of every man's dream. Bombarded with airbrushed images of thin, stick-legged women, we have allowed to have our beauty standards defined for us and have been pressured into believing that we need to look in a certain way to be accepted. To feel beautiful and loved. We have learnt to subconsciously strive for the unreachable level of visual perfection and developed a number of insecurities along the way.
But times are changing again. There are more and more campaigns using "real women" - plus-sized models with full thighs and large breasts, big butts are definitely making a great come-back as well. The problem is, where is it all taking us? We're going through the same thing all over again. Telling women what they should look like. Why isn't there a single video of how ideal body shape for men has changed throughout history? Is it because we've been made to believe that men should work and provide financial security, while we should just look good by their side?
So, what does it mean to be a "Real Woman" in today's world? Is it really all about our boobs and butts? Will we ever stop viewing femininity through a lense of certain physical features?
Real Women come in all shapes and sizes. Some are skinny. Others are curvy. Each of us is born with a unique set of features which cannot be changed. But what we need to remember is that our body is just a fraction of who we are. And we should never be defined by how firm our buttocks are. Because we are much, much more than that. We have fire-y hears and wicked brains. We are seekers, enquirers, fighters and warriors. And we hold our heads high.
Real women don't strive for perfection, they strive for growth and transformation. They allow as much time for self-development and enquiry, as they do for sit-ups and push-ups. They don't make excuses, they take action. They don't try to hide their flaws, they don't try to escape from their issues and feelings. But instead of acting on them, instead of running away and hiding, they get closer. They accept them. Tame them. And then they let them go away.
Real women treat themselves, and people around them, with love and respect, with kindness and patience - just as they want to be treated by others. They don't judge and compete, they support and empower. They are their own best friends and teachers. Their own therapists. And they're beautiful, feminine and sexy, regardless of how they look.
And if they should ever care about the shape of their bodies, it's not because the body in itself is a goal. It's because they love themselves enough to care, it's because looking after their bodies is a means to health and happiness. Instead of growing muscles as band-aids on deeply rooted issues and insecurities, they dig deeper and get down to the root of the problem. Acceptance. Self-worth. Self-love. Non-judgement. Without these, no matter how beautifully-polished the shell is, there'll never be a pearl inside.
So, instead of redefining the ideals of beauty, let's acknowledge that there should be no ideals. Instead of telling women what they should look like, let's tell them that they look exactly as they should. Instead of pressuring them to fit into pre-defined norms, let's give them the courage and power to reject those norms. Instead of making them focus on their imperfections, let's help them see their own unique beauty and hone it, allowing it to shine through. Let's teach them how to get rid of all the insecurities and distorted judgements they've accumulated throughout their lives and how to approach their issues from a place of self-love and kindness, rather than frustration and disappointment. Let's help them be authentic and fix their injured souls.
We are all real women. Big and small. Skinny and curvy. And we're enough, so unbelievably enough. We just need to learn to believe it. So go ahead - stop, take a minute after reading this to pause with your eyes closed. Breathe deep and as you inhale expand your body and mind with positivity and gratitude. On the exhale, settle into the sensations of strength and beauty. Love yourself more exactly as you are right now in your perfect shape and your beautiful mind.
MAGDA PROCNER turned her organised life upside down when she moved to India to follow her passion for yoga. This decision opened the door to a journey of self-discovery and spiritual exploration. Magda currently teaches yoga around the world. She is a strong believer in the power of smile and laughter, and always trusting your instincts and following your dreams. Follow her here: www.magsyoga.com