Women, self-worth & what Nienie teaches us by example

August 10, 2011
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty brought to the forefront the damage done by the unhealthy images women see in beauty magazines.

Yesterday, I blogged about Stephanie Nielson and her participation on a Owning Your Own Beauty panel at BlogHer11. I have a little more to say.

There are many reasons why Stephanie’s story resonates with women, but I think the core reason has to do with how women calculate their own self-worth.

It’s all about appearance.

Now, this may be different for young women today, but I’m not so sure it is.

We can be the smartest, most accomplished and most creative soul on earth, and yet, the question that strikes at the core of who we are is “Am I beautiful?”

Because for straight women, at least, that’s how we “get” a man.

And one of the reasons there’s so much cosmetic surgery today is that we fear that when we lose our looks, we lose our sex appeal and therefore we lose our man. Because men are that superficial. That’s how the thinking goes.

I’m not even going to touch the question of whether I think it’s true or not, except to say “sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.”

What is true, though, is that women are inundated with images of models that have been altered to make them look unrealistically perfect in both face and body. So it’s easy to think that we are “less-than” if we don’t measure up.

Nienie’s husband, Christian, belies that. I am certain he tells her that she is beautiful and makes her most insecure moments secure. Because he loves her, and because he believes she is beautiful. Because he is a man who has an evolved understanding of beauty.

I’m certain there are men who would have been long gone in similar circumstance.

And I’m equally certain that if Christian hadn’t made clear his continuing attraction to his wife, she would certainly have suffered, even if she had said nothing. That fundamental support and acceptance made it possible for her to raise her head high and believe that the opinion of others didn’t matter.

Beauty and body image are core issues for women today and I applaud BlogHer for spotlighting them at last week’s gathering. This is a conversation that has to continue.

Here’s a video Stephanie did. I love the way Christian looks at her. “I am Stephanie Nielson and I am not my body.”

Yes. That’s right. And you go, girl. You go!

4 comments on “Women, self-worth & what Nienie teaches us by example
  1. What an awesome reminder to women.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Her materialism rocks too!

  3. Anon, funny you should mention that, as I’ve noticed it as well, and for that reason, I wanted to NOT like her. On the other hand, I can’t fault her for leveraging her popular blog, just like any other savvy business person would.

    I wouldn’t want to have gone through what she went through and I don’t think it takes away from what we can learn from the way she handles her very challenging situation.

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