by Dara Chadwick
Once again, fierce debate has broken out over who, exactly, is a “real” woman. This time, it’s in Australia, where Australian model Jennifer Hawkins has appeared unretouched on the cover of Marie Claire magazine. While many are applauding the “real” image of Jennifer unretouched, others have argued that because she’s beautiful, she’s not “real” enough to represent the rest of us.
I wrote about this topic a while back — frankly, when I look for a body image role model — or hero — what I want to see is someone who’s comfortable in her own skin, no matter what that skin looks like. You can be stunningly beautiful, but be who you are. Let’s not pretend there aren’t some stunningly beautiful women out there who hate themselves…just as we shouldn’t pretend that a woman who isn’t what our culture would consider beautiful can’t love herself, just as she is.
When I wrote about this topic previously, some of my readers said it would be tough for them to take advice on learning to accept themselves from someone who they feel has never had to face the body image struggles that they have faced. I get that. But all of us face struggles every day — even if that struggle is not being taken seriously because people can’t get past your good looks.
For more perspective on this topic, listen to fellow body image warrior, the Butterfly Foundation’s Julie Parker, on the subject.
Again, it doesn’t matter to me what you look like. What matters is how you feel about yourself. If you’re happy and confident in who you are, you’re a body image hero. And you’re real enough for me.
Dara Chadwick is the author of “You’d Be So Pretty If…: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies – Even When We Don’t Love Our Own. She has been interviewed on NBC’s TODAY Show , as well as on a variety of radio and television programs. A former Weight-Loss Diary columnist for Shape magazine, Dara has written about health, wellness and parenting for magazines such as Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, VIV, For Me, Shape, Parenting and Working Mother. Her work has also appeared online at sites such as The Daily Beast and Psychology Today You can learn more about her at DaraChadwick.com.