Beautiful Misery

cabinporn1

Why the pictures of cabins?

We’ll come to that later.

For the past week my facebook feed has been crowded with people sharing or people criticising the latest Dove Ad Campaign.

You know the one.

A forensic artist draws a person twice. Once when described by the actual woman. And once when described by a near stranger. The self portrait is always a lot uglier than the stranger’s. “You are more beautiful than you think,” reads the ad campaign.

I admit, I watched it and thought, ‘That’s nice, but it’s a marketing campaign’.

I then read a criticising article which pointed out that a lot of the ‘positive’ comments were about being “light” “fair” “thin”.

Other critics followed. Many more just ‘liked’ it.

But the message behind it all was that you, as a women, should think you’re beautiful. You should be beautiful. Physically.

And give them a break, they’re a beauty company.

But it’s a complicated fight.

From one side, people are naturally attracted to beautiful things.

Denis Dutton gives a great animated TED talk about the Darwinian theory behind our concept of beauty.

darwinian beauty

Cameron Russell ‘s talk on image and our perception of models is also one that has been plastered across my newsfeed lately.

She talks about the more recent social construct of “thin” “tall” “white” being beautiful.

I have thought quite a bit about beauty recently, particularly about what I find attractive and unattractive in both men and women.

And what I find most unattractive about most women is the uncertainty and the self consciousness. There’s too much makeup and altered hair. No sense of being able to get an enthusiastic response to your suggestion of running into the mountains or to an island or camping on a boat. The carefree wildness is gone. You have to look a certain way. And maintain it.

But we have been brought up to have these insecurities. Even from when you are a child.

Little boy walks into a room.

Response: “Gosh, don’t you look smart!”

Little girl walks into a room.

Response: “My, don’t you look pretty.”

Boys = Smart

Girls = Pretty

cabin porn4

What do I find beautiful in women?

Strength.

I went to a safe house for sex workers  a couple of weeks ago and was completely overwhelmed by the women I met there.

Many of them had mental disabilities, some no longer worked on the streets, some still did.

They welcomed me, sat me down, made me tea and spoke about the most hideous situations, gossiped about the most awful relationships, like they were chatting about EastEnders.

Women that they knew that were physically and mentally disabled being used for their government benefits. Men abusing women for drugs and sexual favours.

I wanted to yell at them that they didn’t need these men. And that there were others if they did. There were kind, intelligent and funny men who didn’t take your money and make disabled women give them head.

But they were laughing and offering me more tea and shrugging.

This is how our life is. If you don’t laugh about it you’d never stop crying.

Then they wanted to hear about me and at first I didn’t want to say too much. My life being such a contrast to theirs. But they were so enthusiastic about everything I said. I felt so accepted and included.

The ability to love, to be kind to people, without resentment or fear. No matter what situation you are in, or what you’ve been through.

I sat there wanting to look after and care for all these women, but here they were, looking after me.

I left feeling so happy in the most beautifully miserable way.

These are the most beautiful women that I’ve met in a long time.

The pursuit of conforming physically – the makeup, the beauty routines, the diets, the constant comparison to other people –  makes us self-conscious and critical. I think it also makes us unattractive. And boring.

So why all the pictures of cabins in random places?

Well, if you can’t imagine yourself running around barefoot and half naked in one of these places without worrying about your mascara, then I think you need to reassess yourself.

cabin porn3

  All images are taken from the wonderful site http://cabinporn.com

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One thought on “Beautiful Misery

  1. ‘The ability to love, to be kind to people, without resentment or fear. No matter what situation you are in, or what you’ve been through’…. There’s probably no greater gift. Miss you, Clare and Lizzie..

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