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February 14, 2021

Stages of Women’s Beauty

Just look around…it’s everywhere. On your television, the intranet, billboards, magazines covers and quite possibly standing next to you. It’s the image of a youthful, beautiful woman. She is used to getting your attention, seeking your adoration, and eliciting feelings of hope. Everything about her is perceived to be fleeting, precious, and powerful.

If done properly, just the sheer presence of her generates massive sales of a product, an all-consuming need for a service, or creates an image of a better, happier life.

One of my favorite sayings has always been “ Beauty is wasted on the young”. And, it’s very true. As a child and teenager, I was considered to be on the pretty side, but I was completely unaware of it and its power in the world. My parents were not to type to dote on my looks, gifts, or abilities. As a matter of fact, people would tell my mother what a beautiful little girl she had. As soon as they walked away, she would lean down look me in the eye and tell me that it isn’t looks that mattered but what was on the inside. I am sure she meant well by this but it started what would become a lifelong issue of being uncomfortable accepting compliments from strangers.

For children, there is no threat of them becoming conceited, beauty-obsessed, or vain. This type of attention can only foster self-esteem and a feeling of acceptance. The problem if any, kicks in at about puberty age. Then this can become an issue regarding the opposite sex, garner unwanted sexual attention, and ultimately alienation from one’s peers. Like everything in life, there is a good and bad side to the gift of being attractive.

As young women during the childbearing years, good looks are helpful for the process of attracting a mate. The main ingredient needed in our primeval urge to procreate. I know that there are other methods today but I am talking about the old school method. It is at this time, that many would consider us to be in our most attractive stage in life. This is probably not a coincidence but orchestrated by the universe to ensure the propagation of our species on the planet.

This stage is followed by what I refer to as the nurturing years. Most women at this time focus primarily on raising their children, maintaining their romantic relationship, or the delicate balance of career and home life. Any way you slice it, it is all-consuming and one’s appearance is not high on the to-do list. Our appearance is quite often ignored and just another thing that we hope to get back to someday. That someday is our future selves who have the time and gumption to reappear in the world as attractive, desirable, and competent. Instead, we are resigned to simply not look frumpy, like a Mom, and most importantly not like our mothers.

Eventually, there is a glimmer of hope. Including getting back into your pre-natal clothes, having more than 10 minutes of mirror time, and the actual excitement of feeling pretty and sexy. We do not know whom for exactly but as we come out of the “family first fog” we can see that there is still a big world out there and we can attempt to impress it. Women band together at this time through their children and form life long friendships. Gradually, due to more socializing through school events or new friendships we start to care about our appearance again. We are starting to reemerge and surprise our selves and sometimes our husbands that we still got it.

Next comes the realization of the evolution of aging. It is at this time that we realize that the preparation of getting ready to impress takes longer than it used to and doesn’t yield nearly the same results. Styles of clothes that you wore for years and loved no longer seem to work. You might wiggle back into your super skinny jeans but the feeling of accomplishment is squelched by the reflection that your shape has changed and not in a good way. Always had a small waist? What waist…it apparently has thickened to the point of non-existence. Those high perky boobs have been deflated and look as though they spent the last 15 years in a super gravity chamber. The hand eye coordination seems to be off. The hair styling tools seem cumbersome and don’t garnish great results. Make-up application is tedious and often not worth the time and effort. But we must trudge on and in doing so have to admit that what once was effortless has morphed into a process that often disappoints.

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Deborah Garratt  |  Contribution: 1,965