I am about to embark on a rant, so be sure to sit down and strap in.
I anticipate all readers are familiar with the plus size retailer Lane Bryant (LB). Currently, LB marketing campaign, #ImNoAngel, celebrates women of all shapes and sizes (if you are not familiar with the store or campaign, please check it out). But….it also appears to be taking a potshot directly at Victoria Secret (VS) and its ongoing Angel strategy featuring leggy, thin, supermodel types as the standard of marketable beauty. (PAUSE FOR IRONIC REALITY CHECK: Before it was spun off on its own, LB was owned by the same parent company as VS – so really, its just sisters bickering.)
<<WARNING!! WARNING!! RANT ABOUT TO ENGAGE!!>>
WHO CARES?!?! WHY DO WE NEED TO CARE?!?!
WHY IS THERE A DIVIDING LINE OF BEAUTY?!?!
AND WHY, OH WHY, ARE WOMEN SURRENDERING THEIR POWER TO IT?!?!
All women – ALL WOMEN – are beautiful; every woman contains a spark of the Divine and the power of Creation, no matter the packaging. Energy used to reclaim “beauty” or redefine “sexy” is energy wasted – it goes without saying women are beautiful and sexy, so why do we spend so much time, and money, saying it? Who are we trying to convince? More importantly, why are we trying to convince? (I would love to blame it on marketing and advertising but we all know those are monsters of our own creation and feeding, not the other way around.)
I have seen the enemy, and she is us!
At the end of the day, women are convincing themselves they are beautiful and sexy. Sadly, we surrendered ourselves to outside forces and allowed ourselves to be told when and how to be beautiful. Men (and make no mistake, other women!) dictated terms and conditions of beauty and sensuality, and we accepted those dictates as if they were our own. We allowed our sexuality to be limited, confined, repressed, and now we want to celebrate its reclamation? We applaud ourselves for embracing the beauty we should never have relinquished or ignored.
What’s next? Awarding an arsonist a medal for dowsing a fire he started.
Unlike Dorothy Parker, I have been my own woman since age ten but I was not immune to the pressure of conformity. I received dating advice from my mother (“You gotta dangle a flashy lure! Be yourself after he’s caught.”) and my sister (“Why can’t you just smile and nod?!”), but could not heed their advice. They did not have the tools to guide me effectively, could not relate to my independence, did not understand my rejection of what they considered “norms,” and I was repeatedly warned of endless loneliness if I did not “get it together” by which they meant “buy in – everyone is doing it.” ((IRONIC REALITY: I am married 17 years – when asked, my husband admits I drive him crazy and I am the very best thing that ever happened to him. So much for the strategy of lures and nodding.))
HERE’S MY POINT: Every woman is beautiful on the inside. If she allows herself to be her best self, without limitations or images thrust upon her from the outside, she will know power. If she walks her own path with honesty and strength, she will know success. If she lives her life with hope, belief and positivity, she will make magic — and no ad campaign will sway her from her true self.