Monday, March 7, 2011

Witnessing Women's Beauty

Painting by Heather Plett

I have always felt judged by other women.  No matter my size at any point in my life, there were woman telling me I was either too heavy or too thin.  No matter my hair color, there have been women who think it's their obligation to point out my mistake.

For every man who might have complimented me, there were women waiting in line to cut me down.

We are a catty crew.

We are raised to see each other as competition.  We are raised to believe we are never good enough and not nearly as good as that one over there.

We are raised that beauty is our only measure but that we will never, ever measure up.

A mother, a sister, an aunt, a school teacher, the woman at the counter, our culture, a "friend."

Someone, somewhere has taught us our lessons well.

And so we have become blinded by this measuring stick that is stuck in our eyes.  This pointy stick of perfection.

We walk around thinking we are seeing each other but we are only seeing all our own self-loathing, all our desperate wanting, all our own unfulfilled desires, our own feelings of invisibility.

We treat each other based upon these blinded visions.

We see only parts stuck together rather than whole people.

We do no look past our disgust over her fat because we are afraid we could be just like that or that we are already; we do not look past her "perfect body" because we can't see that she is suffering deeply and only desires love.

We see only parts.

We do not see because we do not look for we are so afraid of having that look be returned.  We are so afraid of our own vulnerability, our own naked cravings, and to really see someone, to truly witness another is to automatically be witnessed ourselves.  And that feels way too scary.

We see only parts.

Heather Plett at Sophia Leadership is asking an important question to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.

How can women change the world and
how can we change the world for women?

This is how:

We can witness each other for the uniquely beautiful expressions of the Infinite Divine that each of us is.

We can see the Whole Woman and her Heart rather than just her stomach or her ass or her hair.

We can tell her that her beauty shines from her like the sun.

We can care for one another as we have never been cared for.

We can stop cutting each other down, looking for deficiencies with eyes like butchers.

We can stop searching for imperfect parts and start seeing the Perfect Whole.

Here's a new game you can play every time you see another woman:  Witness Her Beauty.

(It's not too late to have your say; go here and you can link your own answer post to Heather's question.)


Tess said...

Wise words. There's another complicated dynamic between women that goes on: thin woman says, in the presence of non-thin woman "Oh no, I've put on four pounds, I'm so gross", young woman says, in the presence of older woman "Oh God, I can't believe I'm going to be thirty next birthday, I'm so depressed".
In each case there's a kind of double-whammy of horribleness going on: disgust with self and unstated but presumably even more extreme disgust with others.
We (women) so need to get past this.

Linda said...

There is so much wisdom in this post that it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much.

Rebekah said...


These are wonderful thoughts with which to start the week. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us. :)

Heather Plett said...

"Start seeing the perfect whole." I think that's going to be my new mantra when I am with other women.

Thank you so much for these beautiful words. I am so honoured that you participated in 100 Years::100 People::100 Changes AND in the e-book that comes out tomorrow!!

jeneflower said...

Thoughtful post.
Yet I think it is men that have raised women to believe beauty and youth are the only value of women. They seem to only notice the most beautiful and ignore the rest. Why do we care so much about their attention? They don't care so much about ours. Why do we buy into their desires and judge each other by their yardstick?

I am tired of feeling compared to other women at the pool or out in the city (by age, weight, attractiveness, clothes, etc) by men and women.

Another issue women have: I think many women don't like women that are extremely attractive or extremely unattractive. I think that most women who are in the middle range are accepted by most. Some women want attractive friends because it makes them feel more attractive. But they don't want a friend that is way more attractive than them because that will make them feel bad. Whether good or bad it seems to be true. Men don't seem to care about this kind of stuff as much.

The only solution is to stop caring what others think and to just be your best self and love everyone the same.

Yvonne said...

YES!! THANKS, thanks, thanks for that!!!