How The Elusive Level Of Physical Beauty Affects Women's Confident Rise To Success
Recently Sheryl Sandberg the author of the best-selling book "Lean In" launched the public service campaign to ban the school yard word, "bossy," as a way to inspire girls to pursue leadership roles. Yes, I agree that a deficit of confidence does hinder women's advancement, and yes it does develop from early years; however the bigger problem I find is that we first need to win the battle of the mirror - the assault on our own body image and appearance. We struggle with our self-image which is a detriment to our success, as success correlates with confidence and competence. More is demanded of women - we're expected to take on a world that is dominated by men and where looks is as important for a woman's advancement as competence, be the caregiver, and confidently rise in leadership as we maintain the standards of beauty that society dictates. Woman are expected to succeed confidently while maintaining the elusive level of physical beauty, unlike men whose appearance is less proportionate to their competence. The pressures of being thinner, curvier, taller, lighter in complexion, longer or straighter hair ultimately results in eroding the very confidence we're expected to exude.
It is proven that a vast majority of women's confidence is affected by their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their appearance. As a woman whose body over the years underwent a kaleidoscope of changes - due to childbirth, weight gain, blemishes, aging and the stress of life - society's definition of physical beauty excludes me and women like me. And with physical appearance being a confidence booster, where does it leave room for women no matter their skin color, shape and size to be confident?
In the words of Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista, "how does one learn to love themself in a space so hard to navigate when it comes to building confidence, creating and fostering self-love, and challenge the norms?"
I know for myself (who is smart, ambitious and entrepreneurial in spirit), it's been a journey, as there are days when I don't feel desirable which lets in self-doubt that erodes confidence which affects us on a personal and professional level. So while the "ban on bossy" is great, it is not until we challenge society's parameters of ideal physical beauty, will the vast majority of women overcome the hurdle to succeed and lead, or fall prey to survival of the prettiest.
How are you challenging society's parameters of physical beauty?