When my oldest son was a preschooler he would occasionally ask us for things that were just not going to happen–big things like
Can we go to Disney World tomorrow?
and little things like
Can I have some more ice cream?
When the answer was no he would smile and with all the self-assurance in the world say Well, maybe. He liked to keep hope alive.
Sometimes it worked and a second serving of ice cream found its way to his bowl—it’s hard to resist the smile of a cute three year old—but usually the dishes were done and we moved on to other things.
It’s healthy to have a bit of optimism and hope, even a little fantasy is good, but a well, maybe life loses its charm when we find ourselves at the expensive end of manipulation.
Women want who we are to matter more than how we look. That is the truth. There are countless essays, blog posts, and articles loudly exclaiming we don’t care what *THEY* say—THEY being the media, the magazines, the cosmetic companies, the fashion police, the talk shows, the food industry, the fitness gurus, the well-meaning friends, and occasionally the face in the mirror.
We raise our fists–No, I will not be your version of pretty. I will be me. I will be real.
And THEY smirk.
THEY know they’ve already won. THEY know they’ve already measured, defined, and packaged beauty, put in a box, wrapped it in pretty paper, and tied it with an expensive bow. THEY gift beauty to us the way a benevolent overlord gifts his serfs a bit of earth: it’s yours…for a price.
Can I afford this beauty? Well, maybe.
The price is never being sure if you are enough. The price is always thinking beauty is within your grasp and then being told it’s just out of reach.
Have you seen this new face cream? It’s the newest thing and we promise THIS actually works. It’s made from the husks of the seeds of this grass that only grows on piles of moose manure drizzled with refined emu oil. I love the smell of moose feces in the morning. We haven’t tested it fully yet–as long as it doesn’t hurt you much we’re golden with the FDA. Yes, it is expensive, but isn’t your beauty worth it? I mean you can’t find self-worth if you’re all blotchy, honey.
We know we’re getting fed a line of moose crap but, well, maybe this really does work.
It doesn’t. At least not the way you want it to. THEY can put it in a nice bottle.THEY can have a celebrity endorse it. THEY can list off its “amazing” properties. THEY can even list alces excrementum as one of the ingredients. But eventually you’ll remember moose poop by any name still reeks.
THEY are ruthless. Sometimes THEY pretend to back off from the hard sell and use words like radiance and restore (cue Tinkerbell’s harp music). ThenTHEY haul out a line of cosmetics with taglines that basically read “make-up so natural it’s like you’re not wearing any make-up at all”. Good grief! They are taking a page right out of The Emperor’s New Clothes playbook! And apparently, like good little peasants, we’re still buying it.
Well, maybe? NO!
No more well, maybes.
Wanting to feel beautiful is not a crime–hell, it’s not even a sin—but we don’t need to go broke hoping the alchemists have finally created the perfect potion.THEY may feed us lines about crows feet and dark spots and stretch marks and belly fat and THEY may politely tells us if we show signs of life we will never be beautiful and THEY may tease us about a mysterious fountain of youth in a bottle, but we’re not children anymore and we know the difference between a happy fantasy and a con. We know the emperor was naked.
It’s time for the serfs to revolt. We get to decide what beauty is, not them. And,well, maybe, if we stop buying their phony magic THEY will just disappear…like wrinkles coated in refined emu oil.
(P.S. I know of no product that uses moose feces, just in case you were worried.Refined emu oil, however, is absolutely a thing!)