I was looking at some fashion blogs a few nights ago and came across a post on Already Pretty about the things we're told are not attractive. Is it our knees? Are we to hide our chests that are too large, or make our small chests look larger? Or, as she says in this blog post, does it even go as far as to say our underarms aren't attractive?
Who comes up with this and why do we believe it?
I grew up with an old-fashioned mother who taught me to hide my chest and didn't think women's knees were attractive. I've always been a fan of miniskirts and happen to be quite tall. So, I forgot about the knee thing pretty quickly. And I finally started wearing more flattering shirts that - gasp - showed some cleavage on occasion. I've even recently started being a fan of tank tops. The heck with a large chest and who cares about the underarms? I mean, seriously.
But one of my biggest insecurities came from years of hearing about how pale my legs were. I was told I had great legs...long, and in good shape. But, they were just too pale. So, over time, I stopped wearing my favorite cutoffs. In fact, I stopped wearing shorts altogether. But, I'm a natural redhead - and we are quite often pale. We don't tan, we burn. And we just have to learn to live with it.
Perhaps it's because I grew up all over the country and many of my friends have darker complexions than I do. Their legs always looked better to me. But, then women - especially younger women - tend to compare, and want what we don't have. If we are tall, we want to be petite. If we have brown eyes, we want blue...and, of course, as a redhead my eyes were supposed to be green. And the red hair - which my hairdresser always loved - I hated, because I stuck out.
Fortunately, we grow older and realize that it's the unique things about us that make us individuals. And after many years of being the new kid with the funny accent who was too tall and too pale, and wanted so desperately to fit in...well, now that isn't so important anymore now that I'm older. Now I want to just be me. Red hair, tall, dark brown eyes...and pale.
I can't say all my insecurities are gone, nor will they ever be. But, I can say I'm a bit more accepting than I used to be. The funny thing about it is that now I'm with an African-American man who I really feel is my soul mate. He is the one I should have been with in the first place (not that silly blond fellow I married - and thankfully divorced - back when I was way too young to get married). My guy has beautiful cocoa-colored skin. And he loves my red hair, and encourages me to show a little cleavage, and wear tank tops, and loves my miniskirts. And the funniest thing of all: He doesn't think I'm pale at all. Go figure.