The Beauty in Trees

I loved this one commentary in a documentary I watched over the weekend on America’s view on what’s beautiful. When an East African woman was asked whether or not she loved her body, she looked puzzled by the question. “Why wouldn’t I?” she said. “I have hands that can do everything for my family, strong arms to get water and carry food. My legs are so powerful they can wrap around a man and hold him there; I love my body.”. Then the East African woman asked the narrator why she would ask such a question. The narrator replies “Well, I don’t particularly like my stomach since bearing children and my arms are droopy…” to which the East African woman interrupts “It is your body, and it is amazing. Do you see that tree over there (and she points) do you think that tree is beautiful? And this one here, (she points again) is this tree beautiful? They are both different, but do you think the first tree wishes it could look more like the second tree? Women are trees. You are a tree and I am a tree, and we are beautiful.” When asking teenage boys and young men what makes a woman beautiful, they were quick to answer with celebrity names and faces, but when asked why they were beautiful, what was it about them that made them beautiful, and they weren’t able to answer. In recent years, I have come to learn how to drop my inner critic, and although I still strive to improve, it is much nicer when it comes from a place of love and tolerance rather than the result of criticism and fault-finding missions. So how do we celebrate our uniqueness when we are constantly barraged with images of waif thin women and muscular men? It may seem overwhelming to try to change an industry, but we can start by supporting the companies who fall into line with our own values. Most importantly, we have the power to change ourselves from within, and how we view each other… and once we can do that, we will see a world that is so full of true beauty.

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