A few days ago, I stumbled upon a Huffington Post article in my FB feed discussing the current cover of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Let me just say, that I don’t buy this magazine all the time but it is one that I do enjoy reading. My reasons for not purchasing or reading are not because it isn’t a good magazine. Because it is. It’s just that I’m not a big fan of women’s magazines in general. (The last time I bought this magazine was a few months ago because I was interested in an article on the weight loss industry in Australia). What I will say is that of the magazines for women published here, the Australian Women’s Weekly appears to have the most integrity.
Anyway, back to to the article…
For those that have seen and read the Huffpo article, you will know the cover I am talking about. For those of you who haven’t, I will post it here.
The cover shows Turia Pitt, a woman who suffered burns to 65% of her body when she and two others were caught in a bushfire in the Kimberley region of Western Australia whilst competing in an ultra-marathon.
The cynical person might ask what the Women’s Weekly is trying to achieve by placing Turia on the cover? Are they attempting to break the mold by eschewing the airbrushed celebrities who generally grace the covers of women’s magazines? Are they making an attempt to show ‘real’ women? Those who show strength through the very act of being ordinary. Or are they merely attempting to engage more readers using the “sympathy vote”?
I have to say that whilst the majority of the comments on Huffpo were positive, there always has to be some who are cutting and cruel with the words typed from their keyboards. Such is the human nature of people I suppose. I stopped reading after about the first 100 comments and I’m not even sure if some of the more cruel comments may even still be there however, they were said. And I read them. And I was shocked.
One the milder commetns stated that if Turia was truly beautiful, she wouldn’t need to wear makeup.
Thinking about this, I have to ask, does makeup make a woman beautiful? And really, just because I (or Turia, or any other woman) puts on lipstick, does it really matter? Lipstick is only an accoutrement. It don’t believe it defines what is inside a person.
Other comments focused on name calling and questioned her right to be on the cover of a magazine.
Still on the subject of beauty, another Huffington Post article I read in the past week was about a journalist who sent a head shot to many people around the world and asked them to photoshop her and ‘make’ her beautiful. (In my opinion, she was beautiful to begin with).
25 people took on her challenge and the results are truly incredible. Each person (and many of the results are extremely amateur) defined beauty in a different way. The original photo and the 25 others can be found HERE.
Over the past few days, I have thought a lot about what beauty is and why society is so obsessed with it.
Is beauty what is seen on the outside? Do high cheekbones and defined eyebrows make a woman beautiful? Or is it makeup and the clothes she wears?
Is a beautiful woman one who is a size 8 and has long legs emphasised by the 6 inch heels she wears?
Does a beautiful woman have hands that look as if they have never washed a dish? Or nails that have come from the salon?
Does she have large breasts and wear skimpy lingerie?
What is real beauty?
Audrey Hepburn (now there was a beautiful woman) famously said these words:
The beauty of a woman Is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries, Or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman Is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years only grows.
The dictionary defines beauty as something that is aesthetically pleasing to the senses – especially sight.
This prompts me to ask, why can’t beauty be felt?
Why can’t beauty be defined by the things a person does and the way that they relate to others?
Truly beautiful people are those who touch the lives of others. They bring joy and love. Their smile doesn’t just reach their eyes, it reaches the hearts of those around them.
Therefore in my eyes, the Women’s Weekly has excelled with their choice of model for the cover this month. They have chosen a woman who exudes beauty by her very demeanour. A woman who shines as inspiration to those of us who worry about blemishes. A woman who has faced the fire of adversity (literally) and come through the other side with hope, gratitude and love.
Bravo to a truly beautiful woman who sees real beauty in the every day.