I'm curious. What would the world look like if the focus on women's health was different?
What if the focus of women's health was not on how fit or self-care-ful or food-conscious we are? What if the focus of women's health was not on how much we hate ourselves? What if the a true signal that a woman is healthy was not on anything other than how free she felt to operate in the world 100% as her self in whatever form she chooses that self to be?
There's been a huge push lately in the media, courtesy of a Dove ad featuring how terrible women's self-image truly is, about how miserable so many of us feel in our skin. And while I appreciate the way the media is uncovering this reality, something feels off - even outside of the fact that they already received tons of backlash for their lack of diversity, etc. There is something else off.
And let's remember, Dove is a company with an interest in making money. And they have an army of brilliant, savvy marketing sleuths out there who are reporting back to the bigwigs: This is how women feel and this is how we connect them to our brand. It's not their fault, it's just the way business works. What it reveals, though, is that the conversation so many of us are agreeing to have is that we're not enough. And that's being reflected in advertising, in which books get published, in which experts gets a talk show spot, in what conversations the public gets to hear from brilliant women, and what products are on our shelves.
And the message then becomes the same as it was 50 years ago: Women are not fully evolved human beings. Let's not think that just exposing the fact that so many of us walk around with terrible self-images is the same as being empowered. So, yes, thank you Dove for reminding me that most of my friends, my mother, my sister, and eventually my daughters think they are uglier than they are, but, dang it, I'm not cheering on another company until the conversation is about the struggle all of us women take on to express our guts, our truth, our ambition, our power, our maternal love all at the same time. Because guess what? I guarantee that every woman in that Dove ad would feel very differently about themselves by simply having more support from the world around them to function as fully evolved human beings - meaning equal pay, better child care, more help with dishes and chores, more sleep, flexible education programs, etc etc etc.
The truth is, just like we all learned that the fat-free revolution didn't work - that Americans got fatter because fat was replaced with fakery and sugar and toxic preservatives - the conversation about women's self-image also hasn't worked. And you know why? Because we're coming at it from a place that screams, HELP ME, I AM NOT ENOUGH and I DON'T LOOK/FEEL GOOD ENOUGH! How lame is that, right? Because that's not really the guts of what we feel, right? I mean, don't get me wrong, we all feel that way at times and each scream listed above is often valid and true and painful. But. Underneath the layer that screams "I'm not enough" and "I don't look good enough" is another one and that one is gently saying, "I WANT and I AM."
This is the layer I care about. Because when that layer is caressed and discussed, women rise up to a place of empowerment. Our place in the media, in our communities, in our families, and in the world's leadership changes when we focus on that. Our place within ourselves changes. We choose not to be numb. We choose to connect. We choose to start talking about the struggle and the desire it is to express in the world what we want and who we are.
I know this probably sounds antithetical coming from me, your at-home-mom-workout guru. Really it's quite the oxymoron, isn't it? But, actually it's not. My mission becomes clearer every single day. I want to change the conversation about women's health. The focus here is strength. And I created the workouts the way I did solely as a way to get this part of self-care out of the way so you can focus on being you in all the ways you want to be you. Every time I sit down to create a workout (every single day), I think, 1) How can I create true strength in these women today? 2) Which muscle groups do they need to stand tall and have energy? 3) How can I prevent injury? 4) How can I help these women feel they have done enough?
Momma Strong is not here to make you think you need to do more. It's here to give you the support you need to be you, which can be a hard enough struggle at times in the face of kiddos, partners, jobs, and home. And I design every single second of all the programs and products with that in mind. What you do with Momma Strong is enough. So, once you do it and once you make it a part of the fabric of your day, make the decision to stop talking about how you are not enough. Get on with your day with the attitude that you have done enough to support your physical self and choose to indulge and savor life. If you are showing up, you are doing enough. Period. Let's change the conversation. Let's agree to talk to each other about what we want and who we are. Let's agree that if a sketch artist comes to sit down in front of you that your image she/he reflects will be more beautiful than any of your other witnesses'.
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