I had a recent argument with my girl friends; one of the many we usually have whenever we meet up for drinks. We were trying to dictate the terms that classified one as ‘beautiful’. We went on and on, classifying women of careers and culture. Adaeze (I’ve always known her to be opinionated) hit a solid point,
‘So you guys are trying to say, if she looks like Kim kardashian; curvy, pleasing to the eye and ready to get naked she’s beautiful but if she looks like Serena Williams (a bit muscular) she’s not? So slay queens and models are beautiful but athletes and female footballers are not? Please! I simply don’t agree. If a woman has boobs and ass (these days mostly surgery oriented) and dresses shabbily to display these acquired assets she’s so dope, but a simple woman with minimal boobs and ass, not a fan of makeup and is more inclined to dress conservatively she’s not so beautiful? That is totally biased.

I blamed neither Ada nor the rest of us for our different opinions. We can’t all think alike. But then as I thought harder about it, these beliefs we held about the subject matter didn’t spring out of nowhere, something must have stirred us to think that way. Probably a personal experience or what we’ve constantly fed our minds with and it inadvertently channeled our school of thought in that direction. But then again, it’s a personal belief; it is not founded on proof or certainty. The society has fed us images and ideologies of what is beautiful. The definition of ‘beauty’ on looks for as long as mankind can remember. We take a look at someone and immediately judge what we see. Most especially as women, we are doing everything we can to achieve this standard of looking beautiful.

Surveys taken all over the world are coming up with crazy statistics about women wanting to change their bodies. One done by Allure magazine Nigeria showed that 85 percent of women say they want their hips narrower, 93 percent of women say that the pressure to look younger is greater now that it has ever been and 97 percent of women said they wanted to weigh less. Why? to be “beautiful”?

The definition of beauty has dangerously twisted how we see ourselves and one another. Is natural beauty no longer good enough?
But who is to dictate what is beautiful? Your body structure was ordained by God, transcribed from your genes, blessed by your heritage, and voila here you are! Nobody gets to say this person is beautiful and you are not.

Feeling beautiful starts first with feeling unconditional love for one ’s self. It really is one of the most broken commandments there is. God said; ‘Love thy neighbor as thine self’. That means we have to learn how to love ourselves before we can be a true catalyst of love for others. Love yourself as you are right now! No one gets to decide who is beautiful.

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