What is Beautiful

Jennifer Aniston has always been one of my favorite actresses, even if Rachel was not my favorite Friend (I was a Monica. No shame.) This week she wrote a piece for Huffington Post addressing all the rumors that have been swirling off and on as to whether or not she was pregnant. Appropriately titled “For the Record” she lays it all out there and states, no, she is not pregnant.  She says she may or may not become pregnant someday, but that shouldn’t be anyone’s business but her and her husband’s. Most of all, she is plain fed up with the tabloid and gossip culture of our society and how much body shaming goes on in the media.  It’s a great piece and is seriously worth a read if you haven’t read it.

To take one quote directly from the article that stuck out to me: “The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance… a subconscious agreement. We are in charge of our agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise.” – Jennifer Aniston, Huffington Post, July 12, 2016

I love the sentence “we are in charge of our agreement”. And she is right that little girls are absorbing that agreement and that it starts young. I might not be the mom of a daughter, but there are plenty of little girls in my life that I want to make sure are getting a positive message. Beauty is within.  She continues that we get to decide what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies – it is our decision and our decision alone. So we need to make that decision for ourselves and the younger generation that looks up to us as examples.

So here’s a truth.  My body is changing.  I was thrilled when I lost a bunch of weight after I had Ollie. Breastfeeding agreed with me. I was wearing sizes I hadn’t seen since high school, and was well below even my pre-pregnancy weight. But after Ollie weaned, some weight slowly started coming back.  And now that it’s been over a year I’ve seen some other shifts in my body.  Some of the weight has  settled right around my mid-section, especially during that spike in hormones once a month.  And at first this was bothering me.  I had to start buying bigger sizes of things again. I worried that if I wore something tight on a day that the bulge is kind of showing more that people might assume I was pregnant again.  But then I realized something – it doesn’t matter that much.  Why? Because I’m happy.  I’d rather be happy and enjoying life than stressing out over staying thin enough to wear small sizes. And I’m proud of this body.  This body carried a life for nine months and then gave that life nourishment for 15 months. And if anyone ever asks if it’s a baby bump around my middle I can say what another Jennifer (Garner) said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show “I’ve had children, so yes, there is a bump.” I’m going to embrace my body, curves, bumps and all. My body is strong and beautiful.

Thank you Jennifer Aniston for your piece and reminding me (and all of us) that we can decide what is beautiful about ourselves. I AM beautiful. You are beautiful too. At the risk of sounding too cliche as I wrap up here and quote more work that isn’t my own, Christina Agulera was right when she sang in her 2003 hit Beautiful that “we are beautiful in every single way, words can’t bring us down, don’t you bring me down today.” Don’t let the haters get you down. Own your beauty. Make the decision to love your body.


5 thoughts on “What is Beautiful

  1. I love this post!! I also liked the part where she said that having or not having children shouldn’t also define us as women. I love you for you darling – no matter what! ❤️

  2. I completely agree with everything that you say here and I was elated at Jennifer Anniston’s article. I have had similar experiences with my body–mostly from having kids. I was chubby in high school, then I had Kaden and gained weight, then I went through bouts of eating disorders and taking diet pills, then I had Conner, gained more weight, lost it, had Brielle, gained more weight, lost it and then finally got a grasp on my body in a healthy way by eating well and moderately exercising. Then I got pregnant with Reilly, gained a lot of weight and I still am 10-15 pounds (depending on the day) heavier 2 years later than I was when I got pregnant with him. I struggle with it, but as of late I have been more forgiving. My body housed four healthy babies! And I may have a “baby bump” for the rest of my life, but I am running and eating well and I am happy as well. So I’ll take that over a perfect figure any day. Thanks for posting this!

  3. And they do absorb it. Long before we’re aware of it. I was gutted the first time that I heard Charlotte playing “dress up” in another room and she uttered the phrase “too fat”. Where has she heard that? Oh right, her mama-struggling-with-first-trimester-bloat. I’ve found this pregnancy has caused me to view my body in a very negative way. I have no idea where I got the idea that it was possible to have an ugly baby bump, but if you talk to me in the morning, you can guarantee I’m critical of mine. How is it possible to be living a miracle and yet still not see it?

    Ok I think I got off topic. Sigh. It’s a sad world we live in when we have to remind ourselves that our bodies are our own business.

  4. Such a great post Beth! I didn’t get a chance yet to read that whole article by Jennifer Aniston, but I read some of it and loved what she had to say. I feel like as a culture, women are just expected to complain about their bodies, that’s just what we do. I try not to play into that role, but I find myself doing it more often than I’d like. Even in pregnancy, when I should be happy that my body is growing, I’ve been frustrated about how quickly I’m gaining weight, and how much bigger I feel this time around than last time. Since I am having a daughter, I don’t want her to fall into this trap, and I want to be a good role model when it comes to body image. It’s a struggle, but I’m thankful that more an more women are being vocal about the beauty that matters, and how flawed society and the media’s expectations of women and their bodies are.

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