Who is the most beautiful woman you know?

Yesterday, because it was just too darn cold to do much of anything else,  I sat down, put my feet up and logged into the Book of Face to see who else was wasting time.  We all know that there are only two reasons the social network continues to exist.  The first one is to waste time.  And the second one, if you are younger than say, about thirty, is to post “Selfies” (photos of yourself taken by yourself)  so that everyone on your Friends list can see you staring into your own camera lens looking a. bored, b. pensive, c. sexy, or d. like a duck.

A confession. I hate having my picture taken.  I would hate taking my own picture even more. How does one smile naturally when one knows precisely when the photo is going to be taken?  I can’t even smile naturally when it’s a complete surprise!  I can only think of about three photos of myself  I’ve ever really liked.  I was a toddler in two of them.   So, there you go.

Many of the Selfies posted online are taken by young women. I’ve had the  psychology behind this explained to me…about how young women post these hoping that the photos will garner numerous “likes” from others.  This validation is a powerful and dangerous thing, in my opinion.  It’s also a set up.  I believe that any female who looks in the mirror and believes that who she is and what she is worth can be measured by how others rate her physical beauty on any given day in the hundreds of days she will spend on the planet is bound to lose more than she gains.

Besides,  I belong to the last generation of human beings on Earth who still knows what a flashbulb was and remembers the old Polaroid pictures that came out of the bottom of the camera wet, smelled like chemicals as they dried, and then faded and peeled off the backing about a month after they were taken. Today, most photos are taken either on cell phones or digital cameras.  Don’t like a certain picture? Delete it!  Take twenty more and still don’t like any of them?  Delete…delete…delete!  Not happy with that mole on your face? Your chin?  Think your eyes are too small? Too big? Too far apart?? There’s an app for that, Ladies.

Frankly, all this “fixing” and Photoshopping of young women’s faces and bodies by the young women themselves troubles me.  What does it mean?

I wish I could tell them this…

The most beautiful women I’ve known throughout my life have also been the most generous and the funniest and by far, the most interesting.  They are the women who care about others. They are readers and artists and thinkers of big ideas.  They know that the number on the scale or the size on the label inside their blue jeans do not define who they are.  They are perfectly imperfect. Perfectly. Imperfect. They know without a shadow of doubt that the only “like” they need is the one they give to themselves every day when they look in the mirror regardless of what they look like. And this is what makes them beautiful.

Because I’ve been around and while I may not know much, this I know for sure. What is on the outside of all of us is fleeting and temporary and so very unimportant. I would urge them to remember this every day for the rest of their lives and then to relax, love deeply, laugh loudly, cry more, nurture everything, and dance their way through this one perfect life they’ve been given because it goes way too fast and there’s no TIME to waste on such nonsense, really.

And I’d tell them to lay off the Selfies, wean themselves from the addiction to affirmation from a society so fickle and shallow and coarse.  They’re better than that. They deserve better than that.

And they are worth infinitely more.

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