Empowering Facts About Beauty: A #BOAW Wrap-Up

Dior quote

If I had any doubt in Dior’s assertion before, the Beauty of A Woman Blog-Festers wiped it full out. I can’t express how grateful I am to everyone who participated. Your stories, remarks, interaction and exponential, far-reaching support lit up the blogosphere, inspiring thousands. If you haven’t yet done so, please give yourself a huge hug, tell yourself how freaking beautiful you are and know that you done GOOD! I hope you enjoyed it at least a tenth as much as I did.

Before the fest, I shared thoughts on Miss Representation, a powerful documentary that explores the media’s portrayal of women. The starting statistics I posted struck me as sad, eye-opening and motivating. We can’t make positive changes if we fail to recognize the problems, or take pride in the differences we’re making (by for example, telling stories) if we’re unaware of their significance.

Fueled up with gratitude, I’ve decided to highlight positive facts regarding beauty today. Rather than see the glass as half full or empty, I prefer to consider it no longer empty, and rich with potential. Focusing on uplifting facts and positive changes underway instills hope. Without hope, there’s no glass at all.


5 Empowering Facts About Inner/Outer Beauty

1. Happiness breeds beauty. Happiness makes us vibrant inside and out. “When you’re happy your skin will appear healthier, and your hair and nails can actually grow faster,” says dermatologist Richard Fried, M.D., Ph.D. Positive folks also tend to stand taller, he says, and take greater measures of self-care. Studies have also shown that emotional fulfillment and confidence make us more attractive to ourselves and others. So happy people are not only more kind, energetic and grateful, but hot!

2. R&R beautifies. Spa days, vacations and therapy  arguably go further than makeup or chic clothes in terms of beautifying. Stress contributes to everything from low-moods and relationship turmoil to skin problems and unhealthy weight shifts (gains and losses). Real beauty, as so many blog-festers pointed out, relates to personal spirit, gratitude and inviduality. Don’t let stress taint those.

3. Self-acceptance increases sexual satisfaction, making way for increased attractiveness.  Multiple studies indicate that embracing our bodies as they are enhances sexual desire, ability and pleasure. A happy sex life facilitates inner and outer beauty in various ways, by reducing stress, increasing that healthy post-sex “glow,” boosting energy and improving hormone levels.

4. Smiling helps us feel and appear lovelier. “When you smile, even if you’re upset, it feeds the brain signals that make you feel more positive,” explains Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a happiness researcher at the University of California, Riverside. People who appear happy are more likely to be perceived as beautiful by others, according to her research, and exhibit happiness physically, which cultivates more of both.

5. People are standing up for real beauty and speaking out against demeaning media. And there’s tremendous power in numbers. Over 87,500 people have signed the Miss Representation pledge, supporting fair, empowering media. All over the world, people are tweeting harmful media, using the hashtag #NOTBUYINGIT—and you can, too. Our voices can be heard. What’s yours saying?


We teach and attract what we believe and reflect.

Last but not least, the winner of a Kindle Fire or Amazon equivalent gift card is…. *drum roll* Jess Witkins! If you missed her uplifting post on what makes a woman “REDHOT,” be sure to check it out. Congratulations, Jess!

How do you celebrate or perpetuate inner beauty? What makes you feel beautiful inside and out? Any highlights or thoughts to share on the fest? I love hearing from you, and am crazy grateful for your support. ♥

Women in the Media: Why Our Stories Count

I wasn’t sure if I would post twice this week, given President’s Day and the soon-coming Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. Then I saw Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s poignant documentary on the media’s portrayal of women. The 2011 release left me heartbroken and hope-filled, and my teary eyes more fully open. It heightened my determination to keep writing and supporting artists and creative works that uplift women, rather than hold us back or beat us down.

Miss Representation cover

While I was somewhat familiar with its information, Miss Representation gave me perspective regarding facts and notions I’ve wondered about and believed—not simply about media or society, but my personal journey. I also appreciated the fact that the film depicted the misrepresentation of females not as a men versus women or conservatives versus liberals issue, but a human one; we all benefit from balanced, empowering media. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you will.

Startling facts and quotes from Miss Representation:

Women account for 51% of the population, yet hold only 3% of clout positions in telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising. (This doesn’t necessarily make the content “wrong,” but imbalanced.)

“All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: That women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women. It is a horrible indictment of our society of we assume that one half of our population is just not interested in the other half.” – Geena Davis

“Women and girls are the subject of less than 20% of news stories. “When a group is not featured in the media… it is called symbolic annhilation.” – Martha Lauzen, Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film

Miss Representation 2

The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youth 18 or younger more than tripled from 1997 to 2007.

Among youth 18 and younger, liposuction nearly quadrupled between 1997 and 2007 and breast augmentations increased nearly six-fold in the same 10-year period.

65% of American girls and women have reported disordered eating behaviors. (As a side note, a similar percentage of American adults are obese—a direct consequence of media’s portrayal of “beauty,” and the $45 billion diet industry, in my opinion—which is supported by vast amounts of research. ;))

If you’re as heated up as I am over these matters, good. As Gloria Steinem famously said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” A little fire can go a long way…

Miss Representation quote KC

Miss Representation illustrates ways in which media can be both powerfully destructive and constructive. I don’t know about you, but Couric’s insight makes me want to join with like-minded others and put my pilot cap.

More than a film, Miss Representation is a campaign. Visit MissRepresentation.org, where you can take a valuable pledge and order the documentary. Miss Representation is also available via Amazon Instant Video.

For more on women in film, check out Karina Wilson’s Lit Reactor article, Screenwriting: Insert Woman Here – Sidestepping the Sausage Fest. It’s an insightful must-read.

If I was excited for the Beauty of A WomanBlogFest II before, I’m excited-on-steroids now. I can’t wait to read participant’s posts as we explore and celebrate real beauty and the women who possess it. If you’d like to sign up, please do so by the end of the day Wednesday, February 20th by visiting BOAW. To participate as a reader, join us here this Friday.

Have you seen Miss Representation? Which of the facts most struck you? What are you willing to do to make media a more balanced, women-supportive place?