January 29, 2014
Categories: Culture, Family, Self

Beth Berry

Dear “Beauty” Industry,

I write you today, both in awe of your influence and well aware of the degree of deception with which you have obtained it. To be clear, this is not hate mail. I don’t write hate mail, because I am not a hater.

I am a lover.

The things I love most are those I see as beautiful, which might seem a bit ironic considering that beauty is what you claim to know all about, but herein lies the reason for my letter:

The “beauty” you’re selling is bullshit.

Which means you are making a mockery of true beauty; of the things I love the most.

I write in defense of this beauty.

There’s no denying that you’ve been a part of my sphere of influence since I was a little girl, just as you mold and shape every small child. Fortunately, though, I had other, more powerful influences that helped me see through your smokescreen from an early age.

Influences like:

  • Frequent exposure to nature.
  • A mother with self respect who took care of and never insulted her body.
  • A father who empowered his daughters to be anything we wanted.
  • Parents who told me I was valuable and showed me with plenty of love and attention.
  • A strong community of diverse and caring people whom I always knew I could trust.
  • Patient teachers who validated my ideas and encouraged my uniqueness.

These gifts birthed in me a strong sense that beauty is not something to be bought, but something we first tune into and then cultivate based on the stirrings within our souls.

Which is the reason I know your “beauty” to be a scam.

You have mastered your art. There’s no denying that you’re good at what you do. It’s just that what you do isn’t good:

You lie to little girls.
You confuse young boys.
You perpetuate self-loathing in adolescents.
You manipulate images of already-beautiful bodies into unachievable, inhuman shapes in order to present “beauty” as just beyond our reach.

It’s genius, really. Deceive us when we’re little, make empty promises while we’re desperately seeking to define ourselves, then contort our perceptions of what’s possible and just like that…you’ve got customers for life.

But not me. Because I’m not buying it.

The photo at the top of the page? I felt beautiful at the time it was taken.

Because I use all your latest and greatest anti-aging serums?

Because I’ve finally achieved your promises of perfection?

Because I was sporting my spanx and boosting my bust, having recently shaven myself smooth?

Not even close.

I felt beautiful when that photo was taken because I was standing against a dilapidated seaside fishing shack, windblown from dancing wildly, right smack dab in the middle of manifesting my dreams.

I felt beautiful when that photo was taken because I’d been painted by sunshine, not some “prettifying” product.

I felt beautiful when that photo was taken because the man behind the camera not only loves me completely, but finds me beautiful and sexy and mysterious because of all the “imperfections” you would have me alter, lift, tuck or smooth away.

I felt beautiful when that photo was taken because I was outside — in the womb of true beauty — claiming the oneness with creation offered us all.

But perhaps more than any of that, I felt beautiful when that photo was taken because I am aging, which means I am increasingly sure of and happy with who I am apart from your influence.

I don’t need you to define beauty for me. I got this.

Thing is, not every little girl grows up believing she is beautiful.

Maybe no one told her they liked her ideas.

Maybe the images on tv were more beautiful than the fighting in the next room, so she chose the better of the two.

And not every little boy feels safe enough to explore the beauty all around him.

Maybe he’s never been told or shown he was capable. 

Maybe no one’s ever taken him on a boat or around a mountain pass at sunrise.

These kids trust the “experts” to show them what’s beautiful, and your lies become their foundation.

As an industry, you should know that I and many others are working against you. Not with millions in the bank or through manipulative marketing, but by using our unique strengths and voices, born of the very beauty we seek to protect:

We’re empowering our daughters to love themselves and know bullshit when they see it.

We’re teaching our sons how to spot something truly stunning, whether she’s wearing heels or its branches make good shade.

We’re healing our cultural wounds, rewriting has-been stories and claiming the right to define beauty for ourselves.

You are more powerful now than you were when I was young, which means your influence in my daughters’ lives will be even harder for them to resist and overcome.

But I’m not worried about my daughters. You know why?

Because we dance wildly in fishing shacks, painted by sunshine.

Because they’ve seen ocean tides and mountainsides and sunsets for comparison.

Because we surround them with confident and caring people who love life and live it well.

And mostly, because they’ve been taught what real beauty feels like.

Grateful for your contribution to my understanding,
Beth Berry

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97 Comments

  1. I just got a glimpse of beauty .. right here in your words … as hairs on my arms stood up and tears came to my eyes. Yes, I have felt beautiful and it had nothing to do with how I looked. I want more of that. Yes. I want that for my daughters too. Thank you. Thank you.

    Reply

  2. Well, this post is… beautiful!

    I like your list of things that prevented you to fall for the beauty scam.

    In my case I think the most powerful thing was 1) being valued for my brains; 2) being told I was beautiful at the time when most girls only see their flaws (teenage years); 3) having a strong, respectful and loving bond with my father.

    On the other hand, what proved to be difficult to overcome was the images in the media. Magazines in particular are a real threat to a teenager’s self-esteem! I make sure I show my daughters the power of Photoshop, so that they know “real women” don’t look like that.

    Reply

  3. MilindaLlawless

    Love and live this! Seriously, the last time I put make up on, which was around Halloween and it had been years since then, my face flared up and I had a red face/rash till morning. I made my little girl look at me and said, “See? This is why mommy doesn’t wear make up!” It’s a total scam and it will rot your face off~

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  4. MilindaLlawless

    p.s. you are so stunning;)

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  5. Thank you for putting that into words. I stand right beside you and my daughters (and son and husband) do, too.

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  6. This was, (I’m not going to say it again) a pretty good post.

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  7. Tami Piccione

    I feel the same. So refreshing. Thank you!

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  8. I can’t wait to kiss all those imperfections.

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  9. Love this Beth.good job

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  10. Joanne Griesinger

    Brilliant Beth ! You are a truly beautiful woman inside & out & I always love reading what you have to say .I feel you are amazing & wise beyond your years ! Blessings to you & all of yours ! Joanne

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  11. Thank you again Beth, for putting into words something that speaks right to my heart.

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  12. That was BEAUTIFUL. You are beautiful

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  13. Katherine Williams Trevino

    You write with beautiful clarity. Well said!

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  14. Yes! Yes!! This is exactly what I’m teaching my daughters. Thank you for this beautiful post!

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  15. Great letter…helps to hear this from other women! Thank you!!

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  16. You’re making me less afraid of raising a girl :)

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  17. Urlover Firvir

    I love how you are so involved and continuously examining how to provide to your girls in such a way that you feel will better prepare them to be confident, whole, loving humans.

    Oh…and those imperfections, let me tell you, they are the sweet in the honey.

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  18. Allahmi Hart

    I want to dance in a fishing shack with you.

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  19. I love how you are reclaiming your own beauty and critiquing the beauty industry. But I don’t agree with the dichotomy you perpetuates of girls/women as beautiful and boys/men as appreciators of beauty. I don’t think women can grow into our own passion without feeling that a partner is so beautiful that the need to touch is overpowering. And I think men need to experience themselves as beautiful (or handsome, if you must) in order to feel completely loved.

    Reply

    • Thank you, Emily. I did not realize I had painted that dichotomy and agree fully with your sentiment.

      Reply

  20. Cora Stewart

    Love it!

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  21. John Fontaine

    Dear Beth, Thank you so much for writing this.

    As a man, I can personally attest to the confusion (and illusions)that a young boy, and then an adult, and then an even older adult lives with as the result of what is thrown at us over and over again by Madison Ave (or the beauty industry). I actually didn’t know I was confused or had illusions about true beauty for a long long time. And, of course, the Beauty Industry doesn’t want you to realize this. They keep coming up with ever new fashions, trends and what’s ‘cool’.

    We often don’t look for (or learn how to feel)the content, or beauty, in each other. We are taught that we will gain happiness when we gain this outer illusion of beauty (whether it is our own outer beauty or we find a partner that has this outer beauty). Form is emphasized over content because that is what makes money. It not only applies to beauty. We are told that we will be happy if we have ‘this car, this job, this watch, this vacation – and it goes on and on endlessly. We are taught that our happiness comes from totally external things.

    You are fortunate to have loving, caring and supportive family, community and teachers who taught you about real beauty, content and (I’m sure) love as well.

    For men as well as women, it is an uphill battle to break out of the years and years of the influence of commercials, advertisements and social influences (if we’re even fortunate enough to realize this has happened to us).

    It’s great the more women trust in their own inner beauty and live their lives confident in themselves. And it’s also great the more men look for that in women and don’t get caught up in thinking illusions of beauty are real. It is freeing for both men and women.

    Thanks

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  22. Ah..what a relief! It calmed the storm in me. So reassuring and secure. Very well put in words what each of us should find, inner herself, regardless the size, age, amount of children you birthed….very talented woman and gifted writer you are. Thank you for inspiration. X

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  23. I’m an Esthetician and I love what you have posted. I work in an office where plastic beauty is sold. I’m saddened when I see people obsessed and unhappy as they continue to try to fill a void with procedures and products. I do treat patients, but it is mainly to heal infections from severe painful acne, and then the scarring. I personally don’t like the overselling of products that are unnecessary because the real antiaging is in eating healthy and getting exercise and rest. And of course sun protection is necessary because skin cancer is no joke. All the other stuff is pretty much gobbledigook to make up for the fact that we are lacking the nutrition we need and are overstressed or have low self esteem and I know it. I have a 6 month old daughter who I will keep your words for. I want her to grow up knowing real beauty. Thank you.

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  24. I absolutely loved your thoughts on lol the beauty industry. It is all a sham…
    Really inspiring to read how someone can express his/hers convictions in a sensible, gentle yet very firm way. Peace and Love to you. Ana x

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  25. I think your freckles are cute

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  26. Oh yeah! You are sunshine on my shoulder.

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  27. I am sorry but you are beautiful without makeup, you have beautiful bones and have been born with features that our wonderous and to be proud of. Sadly 90% of us are not born with that bone structure and it does not matter how natural you are or how happy or wildy dancing around the May pole…… looks like that just do not happen for every one. So please post these comments about your natural beauty and be proud of your looks but have a kind heart for those who actually are born without your genetics, there are many of us… We do no not want Botox or fake features but yes we do need good moisturisers and sadly yes we do need foundation to look like you. I agree that the beauty industry is a fake and sad world but some of us actually do need just the basics with a bit of mystery product to make us beautiful, no matter how happy or beautiful inside we are. Beauty is from within but some of us need a little help,from the outside as well.

    Reply

    • That’s still looking at the superficial surface, not what is actually beautiful ~ Even those that ‘need a little help’ are beautiful! Who do we really seek approval from, anyway… shouldn’t it be from ourselves and not from outside people that have no bearing on our lives? How we feel about ourselves, whether conventionally beautiful or not, is the point… Your CONFIDENCE in yourself is what makes you beautiful. It draws others who would appreciate that confidence to you. On the other hand, that same confidence in you can make those who try too hard to seek approval from outside themselves jealous and eager to put you down just to elevate their self esteem… and there starts the cycle all over again if you believe their words. So stop believing their opinions and believe in yourself, maybe?

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    • Michelle – It seems there is some confusion as to the point of the article. It was in no way about my looks, but a statement to the beauty industry calling them out AS A WHOLE for what I see as irresponsible and socially destructive practices. I have no problem with makeup or skin moisturizers. I have a problem with the notion that beauty is something we can buy and that we need defined for us by those motivated by pure profit. Beauty is inherent to us all, not just to those with “beautiful bones,” which is completely subjective. Rock those mystery products, just do it to look like the YOU you love. You define what’s beautiful.

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    • Thank you so much Michelle. It is your comment and not the original text which moved me. Indeed, with the looks and support as a child that the author got it seems almost wrong she writes on the subject. Too many did not get a look that would be okish without some help of makeup and too many have never had even a glimpse of the support in childhood as described. I wish to hear a story of one who overcame the feeling of ugly.. yes, with some beauty products to help here and there and with a years long search to find the feeling of beauty long ago almost destroyed by a father, a brother, a mother.. Good luck to all on that search. You are not the only ones.

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  28. Sandy Green

    So simple and do wonderful. Beautiful words Beth!

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  29. earthmomma (Laura C)

    My momma was all about outward beauty and she was already, without makeup, the most beautiful girl in her family. She didn’t feel beautiful on the inside though. Before she went to do her 4 plastic surgeries, my brother and I kindly told her that beauty comes from happiness on the inside. Her plastic surgeries did not correct the feelings she had inside of her and she still felt ugly afterwards. No one needs makeup and for those that compare themselves to other people, you really need to stop comparing yourself and allow your inward beauty to surface. Please realize that corporations(and their investors) make billions of dollars making you think you need their products to be beautiful.

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  30. As a male, I have learned that in our society there is a blanket identity that has been fabricated to define masculinity. Basically, it sucks to realize you do not match this identity and are further dejected when you admit it.

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  31. I haven’t worn make-up since I was in college (and I’m 40) and I embrace every spot and wrinkle on my face because I’ve earned them. It really spoke to me when you talked about feeling beautiful because you are aging. Me too, sister. And I’m so worried about the influence of the “beauty” industry on my own daughter, but you’ve given me a lot of confidence that people outside the beauty industry are so much more powerful.

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  32. Wow, you are right on target if only we could get the world to see this!! Why are we so wrapped up in this bullshit, these thought, images. Our society really has the wrong thoughts on beauty! Thank You for this! We need more!!

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  33. Beth–thank you for this heartfelt post! This is the first time I’ve visited your blog (my cousin posted this letter). I want to give a short defense of beauty. I work in the beauty industry, for a large international cosmetics retailer. And I think what you’ve posted is a wonderfully empowering statement. I feel happy and energized when I get to help a woman who wants to play, who *enjoys* coming in and doing something to highlight a feature she’s proud of. Playing with lipstick if she wants to feel bold. Trying eyeliner to make gorgeous eyes stand out. It can be fun, and that’s the best thing–it’s part of your creative expression in a portable, versatile way. When someone comes in wanting to get “miracles,” however–meaning get rid of wrinkles or freckles, make her face look like something it’s not–I always get a sinking feeling. I’ve had girls bring in pictures of ways they want their eyes to look with makeup and it’s just not going to happen, unless you’ve got a lot of makeup and a very specific camera angle. And that’s always sad for me. My wish would be for more women to enjoy color and artistry without holding themselves to a standard in images that are adulterated. Be your OWN vision of yourself–as you show us you have done in this picture. Protect your skin, take care of your health, and love the best that you can be as you move through life.

    Reply

    • Thank you Sophie! I appreciate your “inside” perspective. A few who’ve read this post have mistaken my overall message to mean that I am anti-makeup or anti-products. I’m not. As you have pointed out, makeup can be a fun and liberating form of personal expression. I simply believe each one of us should feel free to define “beautiful” for ourselves based on who we are and how we feel, not the unreal unachievable standards being sold to us. “Be your OWN vision of yourself.” Exactly.

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  34. you know why i read this even though i am short on time? the subject, yes. but also your face. you are really beautiful. it was smart to post the picture. as i rush off to work,where,maybe i will open this back up and share further,or maybe i will get distracted and forget, i wanted to take a moment and say thank you. more people like you mean a better world. again i say, thank you.

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  35. Thank you for the post Beth! I must say that you are the quintessential American beauty with your blonde hair, blue eyes, small athletic frame and symmetrical features. So it may have been a little easier for you to escape the punishing judgment of the the beauty industry. For those that are not so pretty, it can be more difficult. My daughters are beautiful and I let them know that every chance I can get. I feel influenced by the industry at times, especially because I am getting older. I will remember your words the next time I think of buying into their BS and their goal to empty my wallet :)

    Reply

    • Thanks Lindsey! I can assure you that even though I may be blonde with blue eyes, I have fought hard to keep the lies of this industry from affecting me, particularly postpartum (four times). I don’t think anyone is “quintessential” enough, by industry standards. According to them, my hair ought to be highlighted, my eyebrows shaped, my lips made fuller, my breasts implanted, my cellulite reduced…it’s never ending. Thus the need to detach ourselves from their standards and create our own. :)

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  36. Get right outta here! You feel beautiful because you have a fat bank account and a rich ass husband/boyfriend. You can save it, chere.

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    • Hello C.Adams. I am the sugar daddy here and I can assure you the bank account isn’t fat. It has been lean since the author and I set out to live our dreams and focus on what is good in the world. Perhaps you should consider doing the same.

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  37. C Adams, it’s interesting you turn this to money, so if this lady is rich it’s because her MAN is wealthy?
    I agree money does allow you to have a more beautiful life, spend more time with your children etc and therefore probably makes you feel happier and consequently look more radiant. Though just because a woman has money or you assume she has money, don’t think it’s because she has a sugar daddy, she ‘shock horror’ could have earned it all herself!

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  38. THANK YOU!!!! LOVE this.

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    • I found this through “Little Owl’s” facebook post.

      Thank you thank you Beth for sharing this …. it is beautifully written and it makes me think about how much I want to spend time outside, in nature, not caring about external beauty, but enjoying the beauty all around us and inside us. XO

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  39. I <3 Beth Berry. Way to knock it out of the park, sister.

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  40. Cassandra Morgan

    I find this article extremely unfair. Do I agree that there are those in the beauty industry that warp your sense of self worth, absolutely. But I do not agree with you saying that we lie, confuse and abuse your self worth and sense of self esteem into making you feel like you need us to tell you that you are beautiful. You are attacking a huge group of people that you know nothing about. My job in the “lying, abusive, self esteem smashing beauty industry” has never revolved around forcing you into thinking you need to be Beyonce or Jennifer Aniston. I’m extremely sorry of your opinion, but maybe you should be attacking celebrities, social media and the bullies of the free world and not the people who have known you since childhood, whose biggest goal is to help you SEE and UNDERSTAND that YOU are BEAUTIFUL and that you DON’T need us to MAKE you beautiful.

    Reply

    • Cassandra, you seem to have taken personally a sentiment directed toward a multi-million dollar industry. I was attacking no one, simply standing up for what I believe, which is that the more we can detach ourselves as individuals from misleading messages and define beauty for ourselves, the more likely we are to actually FEEL the beauty around and within us.

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    • I would be interested to know, Cassandra, which part of the industry are you involved in? Accounting? Well, then maybe you are not part of the deceit. Secretary, ok, again, I’ll accept you aren’t a part of it. However, to put the blame on celebrities, really? The celebrities who are hired by the ‘beauty machine’ to promote Oil of Olay (with it’s age defying properties)? Or perhaps the celebs who drop weight and then are ‘the face’ of Weight Watchers? You know, the ones that are hired to do just that? Nope, Beth took the high road, but I would argue that her essay was spot on and the ‘beauty machine’ has a lot of pain to answer for. Not all of it, every girl doesn’t have a loving house to grow up in, but ‘the machine’ only perpetuates the problem.

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  41. Your words and perspective are glorious! I’m a 43-year old woman – who just recently is tapping into my beauty … this is messaging every little girl needs to hear … and most importantly feel. Hmmmm, thank you!

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  42. Cassandra Wright

    You are beautiful. Even by the lowest standards, many of us are not. Not all of us were as lucky as you. Our genetics didn’t pull through. Our parents weren’t as glowingly perfect as yours. We all have choices to make. You are free to make yours – just stop smearing other women who choose differently.

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    • Cassandra, I am struggling to determine how stating my personal truth is smearing anyone. The article was not about my looks, nor about my parents. It was about making choices, as you said. My choice is to stand up against an industry that negatively affects those things I love most. Perhaps where we differ is that I do not see beauty as born of genetics, but of kindness, compassion, truth, authenticity and connection. Furthermore, despite your kind assessment, by industry standards, I am far from beautiful, thus the need to define these things for ourselves.

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      • I will try… and try gently. I think some of us read this as somewhat ableist. The natural progression of wrinkles and spots are nothing! (We’ve all got them so it’s a wash… I don’t mind mine at all.) It seems naive when someone who possesses the aura of health, a clear complexion and perfect symmetry waxes poetic about how true beauty comes from within. It’s one thing to speak about how the industry has warped our perceptions of beauty and caused us all to believe in unattainable plastic expectations. It’s another to say here I am, as an example untouched, when you are perceived as privileged by your inherent loveliness. It rubs those who don’t have that privilege the wrong way. As a 40yo woman who still struggles with moderate to severe painful flares of acne due to uncontrollable hormonal imbalance (that I’ve wasted loads of time and energy trying to alter my health for that and all the other good reasons,) has friends with cancer or who have hated the dark circles under their eyes since they were children, or their ashy, cracked skin… it’s hurtful to poopoo the little touch-ups we do to make ourselves confident for the day. “Go without!” you suggest… well, it’s difficult for many women. If I showed my bare skin at an interview, I’d never get hired in the professional (non-beauty related) industry I love and how I support myself. It just makes me feel more ashamed. It’s like a thin woman saying “I love my curvy imperfections!” She might have cellulite and tiny tummy rolls but that woman has never known what it’s like to walk into most clothing stores and know that NONE of it is meant for her. Or to be continually passed over by romantic partners for those who are thinner. That’s how a lot of women feel in the real world.

        I think makeup is healthy if you have realistic expectations, use it to PLAY (because I think play and playing with your identity and beauty are fun and important exercises in creativity!) and don’t define your goals as wanting always the be the prettiest woman in the room or biggest focus of attention. (Other issues are at play there, and yes, beauty industry may partially be to blame.) I once saw a video about women with cancer being given a makeover and whimsical wigs. You should see their incredulous joy and their faces light up when they realize they can escape their pain and metamorphose into something completely different! Even just for a day or an hour.

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        • I wonder if the people who interpret this as ableist and demeaning would still do so if the author had not included a photo of herself? I think there are a lot of assumptions made as a result – can you tell if she’s a cancer survivor? Has eczema? Diabetes? Would those things make her statements mean more? Less?

          I’ll put out there that every single woman who stands up and says I am beautiful and deserving of love and happiness, makes a difference for other women and girls that see it and hear it. There are enough sources out there criticizing and pecking away at all of our self esteem already! We all need to begin standing up and loving ourselves and each other. It’s not about what each individual woman needs or chooses to do to make themselves feel good about themselves, whether it’s exercise or makeup or massages or stilettos. It’s about actually feeling good about yourself.

          Reply

    • I think the bottom line of the article is to define beauty for yourself. The author has plainly stated what is beautiful to her. She is not asking you to make the same choices, only to make the choices for yourself, uninfluenced by someone who is influencing you for the sole purpose of making money. The nicest compliment I have ever gotten had nothing to do with my looks, but I was told that I ‘lived my life in Grace’. Wow, I must have glowed for a month.

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  43. Oh I needed this.

    I have 2 beautiful daughters and I’m already concerned about how much the media will mold them, and they’re both still under 4 years of age! We’re thankful to live in a forest and close to a small town where I hope we can limit the mainstream influence on their journey.

    I’ve seen very few woman so strong, beautiful and influential as you. I’ve only been following for a few months, but you have an amazing energy about you, even from miles away through a computer.

    I hope our daughters can have such inspirational influences as yourself as they continue to grow older.

    Thank you.

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  44. By the very fact that you are writing this article, it shows to me that appearance does matter to you. Do you think Einstein would have written it, or Susan B. Anthony or Madame Curie? I clicked on your photo, and then saw several others, that clearly show you bleach your hair. I find that very hypocritical. You’ll use the beauty industry products, but just to the point you feel you need them to feel pretty? I happen to live in Los Angeles where so many film studios have been for so long, so the gene pool here is a lot of physically beautiful men and women. My family has incredibly beautiful genetics, and we age very slowly. I was always told I looked like Jane Seymour or Olivia Hussey, or when I had bangs Jaquelyn Smith. Did I wear makeup? Yes, often I did. Did I need it? No, I didn’t. It’s very easy to tell people to go natural when one has good genes, but that is not fair to others who don’t. The most important thing is to be a good person, who is kind, loving, and compassionate, and that is reflected back to you. However, that doesn’t mean when you wake up in the morning, you may not reach for that hair bleach or makeup, that makes you feel just a little bit better. I recently had an accident that for half a year now, has left dark circles under my eyes. Do I cover the circles up? Usually I do. Do I feel confident without the cover up? Yes I usually do. But not always because the circles can make me look sickly, which I am not. Do I feel better with the cover up. Yes. I look 10 years or more, younger than I am. I used to say my age, but when I’d see other women drop their heads, I stopped. I realized they felt bad that we were the same age and I looked so much younger. You may not understand what you have done here, but you have gone on and on about how good you had it growing up– the right support and so on, and how you feel beautiful because of it. I don’t think this is a kind article. I feel it is self arrogance, whether you realize it or not, shaming women who feel they want to use a little or a lot of makeup. I will be very honest because I come from a family of extremely beautiful women. In my family, you would be considered plain if we were judging just on looks: thin lips, thin hair, and lower masculine eyebrows. How does that feel to hear the truth from my lense? Imagine how women who don’t have great genetics, and didn’t have great parents feel as they read your article, wishing they had that too, but they never will. I agree with Cassandra, stop smearing women who chose differently, and who come from less fortunate circumstances than you.

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    • Emily Anne –

      1. I don’t die my hair
      2. It wouldn’t matter if I did
      3. Einstein?
      4. How does it feel to hear the “truth” through your lens? Uh, like you totally missed the point.

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      • Betsy Taylor

        1. You are beautiful
        2. I thought the article was lovely and empowering
        3. I wouldn’t worry about the angry comments. Clearly they missed the point.

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      • Hi Beth, I enjoyed your post and sense your awareness and knowledge of the essence of true beauty whose source is from nature herself. Not from chemicals, synthetics, packaged and processed foods. Not from food produced for quantity and profit rather than quality, health richness and taste. So many especially in The West are trapped in an inactive lifestyle with poor eating, thinking, living habits in their ever expanding and deteriorating bodies. Habits perpetuated by inaccessibility to THE TRUTH. The truth of what is truly good for each individual physically, spiritually and mentally. To be in such balance is attainable by every human who listens to their bodies and becomes aware of ones mind and heart I believe. Some people are definitely advantaged in their awareness and access to information on natural living. Depending on ones environment, resources, parentage, friends, community, education, exposure to chemicals, level of exposure to ingestion of poisonous pseudo foods. Sure genetics and access to resources play a role in beauty. However good genetics and abundant resources, without refined knowledge to make good health decisions, is no advantage. Ones beauty is already under self initiated attack with the consumption of drugs and alcohol, excessive sugar and supermarket conventional foods with their chemicals, genetic modification and nutrient deficiency. Smoking and drinking alcohol are both dehydrating and ageing habits that will not support those aspiring to health, wellbeing and beauty. Beauty is either waning or supported by the habits one chooses to develop. I am amazed by my experience of the fountain of youth that exists in having a diet rich in raw, alkaline chemical free foods, of cleansing the body with alkaline juices and salads, of periodically fasting, of moderating unhealthy foods and habits, of drinking good clean water. To grow up in a nurturing family and community and to have tools to discover and maintain the peace within are the ultimate beauty products. To have an aware family, community and mind will be of the greatest help in making good choices and avoiding physical, emotional and spiritual pitfalls on the journey of balanced health and beauty. Realise we are programmed through our education, environment and the messages we choose and those forced down our throats. As a man I have been greatly affected by the way women are portrayed and the way woman and their beauty is dictated to me in what I value. Start my reprogramming. Turn off the TV. Return to my wizened innocence by choosing thoughts and messages that feel good in my heart. In a peaceful balanced individual, beauty is not an obsession, beauty just simply IS part of life without a big story surrounding it. Ultimately, lasting physical beauty is a reflection of ones inner beauty, ones thoughts, actions and choices. May we all have eternal happiness over eternal beauty.

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        • Those negative contributors I would guess are the same person. Probably a professional troll. Three consecutive bashers with the same tone and style of critique.

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  45. Yes, we have bought into the fairy tale and in doing so, lost our sense of self. It is deceptive, not only to ourselves but to those we mask up around. What are we hiding from? Ourselves. Because we don’t look like them. When all is said and done, it spirals out in peoples lives in hurtful harmful ways.

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  46. I just want to tell you this was an amazingly written article. On top of that, what a gorgeous picture!! You look fabulous!! :)

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  47. You are AMAZING!!

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  48. You write about the beauty industry being all about profit and I agree this is true.
    Yet is it not true that your blogs create a nice profit for you as well?
    And the more people you have reading your blogs, the more money from sponsorship you will attract?
    You know, when you point your finger at someone, there are always three fingers pointing back at you.

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    • No, I do not make a profit from this blog. In two years time, I have yet to recoup the cost of its original design and ongoing maintenance. This is a labor of love, though I would love to make money for my work one day. The most important distinction, though, is the idea of profiting at the expense of society, which is what I believe the “beauty” industry to be doing and which I am morally opposed to.

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  49. Wow! The message of the post seemed so obvious to me that as a woman who occasionally wears makeup and gets my hair done I didn’t take any offense at all. Everyone who is taking it personally are referring to things (like bone structure, hair color, skin tone, etc.) that the industry currently defines as beautiful, but the whole point is that none of those things matter; they shouldn’t matter anyway. What disappoints me a little bit is that as I was looking through the comments I could easily spot the negative ones because they are the only ones you respond to (I’ve noticed this before because I LOVE your blog and read every post!). But other people have very beautiful things to say about your point of view and writing, and although I’m sure you think to yourself that those comments are nice, the only ones given attention or response are the negative ones. Just something I’ve noticed. Write on!!

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    • Michelle, thank you for your sweet words. Oh, this comment thing…you have no idea how it pains us bloggers (I’ve spoken to many others about it). Here’s my dilemma: there is simply not enough time in the day to blog, write my book, keep up with social media, raise my family, cook dinner, do a little yoga etc., etc…and reply thoughtfully to all the AMAZING and wonderful and heartfelt and AMAZING comments I receive (and absolutely cherish). And I feel kinda generic just saying, “Thank you, so and so! That’s so kind!” forty different ways, you know? My choice to respond to the negative ones, whether right or wrong, is simply my way of being able to let them go a little easier and sleep at night. You are right, there are so many amazing voices on this blog who deserve recognition. I’m going to think on it a little more and see if I can’t come up with a solution…thank you for offering your perspective and getting me thinking!

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  50. Hi Beth.
    Some crazy responses here. This is not one of them, but will you hear this, please? Not that it matters. If you feel beautiful, for who you are and what you do, THAT is the most important thing. THAT is what this post is about. But. Let’s get one thing straight. You are physically beautiful, too. These people who are so upset? Telling you that the only reason you can write this stuff is because you’re beautiful? Um, they’re right on one point! Take the compliment. Keep explaining to them how they didn’t get the whole point, because they didn’t, and they need to. But. You keep saying you’re not “beautiful” by some outside standard. And, I say you are. SOOOO gorgeous. Inside and out. So there.

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  51. Oh, Beth…how have I only just now happened upon your blog. There’s far too much I could say. I’ll just say this…your words have deeply inspired me. Thank you for your honesty, transparency and for sharing your journey with us. It means so much.

    Cheers…

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  52. Nancy Strange

    Dear Anala, As I took in the essence of your words I smiled…You see, I am 62 years young & it took me ages to “get” what you are saying to be true..I still fight it internally. As a child I was told, in so many words, that I was the pretty one. My sister was considered the “smart” one. What I valued was the “smart” attribute..Through life experience & very painful at that, I’ve grown to embrace those lessons & rejoice in those lessons learned. REAL beauty comes from within & a result of working on one’s self. It is always the “inside job” that produces true beauty. My heart wants to grow older gracefully & have the opportunity to share life lessons with those I meet who are open. For me its usually the “little things”; the “simple things” that touch my <3 Thanks for your truth & insight. I pray many younger women "get" what you are saying <3

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  53. Your posts make me cry. Tears that come from heart resonance.

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  54. I really like this piece, and you are a beauty without all the products and conditioning from the media.

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  55. Oh my! I just wrote my comment, and then I looked at all the comments, and I was shocked. The internet is so full of negative energy. Just for the record, I don’t have good genes, and I am not pretty one lick, and I didn’t take any offense to you writing what you did and being so pretty. I guess I am just old enough to know that we all have our own path when it comes to handling beauty, and women have been dealing with this sort of thing for a long time. I admire your stance myself, and I didn’t hear you judging women who fix up a bit. In fact, I do fix up a bit too with a little makeup–not much. But I love to hear about women who choose to go natural, and it probably is heard more when the bringer of the news is pretty, but that’s just the way of it. Don’t take offense to all of the negative comments. It shows how hurt we all are about this beauty thing, and that every woman has to make her way through it. It is so HARD and painful. Some days I just cannot believe the world doesn’t think I’m beautiful. It’s always been a shock. Isn’t that funny! See everyone has their own path, and we just need to be kind and patient with each other.

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    • Some of the most physically beautiful people I know have actually been the ugliest, on the inside. I can tell you ARE beautiful, just by your words. Rock on!

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  56. Scrappy Patch

    I am so happy to have read this! Empowering. Thank you.

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  57. Thank-You for your powerful words! We are in a time of great change. Great positive change. We are being empowered to be a part of the shift from focusing on the outside to the infinite beauty that resides within all of us. I especially like the words-”I don’t need you to define beauty for me, I got this. That is self empowerment. The world we choose to exist in will always have the positive and negative. Make space for both because they need each other to exist. As a result of this particular aspect of our world, called the beauty industry, you expanded to know more of who you are. Appreciate it for that and watch as it changes for the better because you changed for the better. Be for something, not against it. The more against you feel, the more it will remain. Rather, be for something. Let us all be for the awakening of all of us to our true inner beauty. Then we will be so aware of that truth, anything not true simple will not exist~

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  58. Hey Beth!
    I don’t often comment on posts and I have been on Facebook less and less these days, but I came across your post and it resonated with me so I thought I should let you know that I appreciate your writing. I still battle beauty demons and it wears me out. I know I should be above it, and I want desperately to teach my daughters to rise above the judgement of external beauty. Buy it’s an amazingly cunning industry that does seem to create an unachievable expectation for women. I guess that’s why we’re still here talking about this… and why so many women are reposting this! I wanted you to know how grateful I am that you wrote this. Keep writing, girl! And shake off those haters. They clearly have never met you and your “Sugar Daddy” or know anything about the choices you have made for your family. I think they missed the point. Beauty is who we are, not what we see in the mirror. Thanks for being real.

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  59. I always feel that I’m beautiful, being asian with brown skin and curly hair. I never have low self-esteem because of my curly hair and brown skin.
    Never thought to buy any whitening cream or try to straight my hair. I don’t go to salon very often, usually just to cut my hair.
    I’m proud to be the way I am, and never bother with the beauty commercial issue, and that’s the reason why my boyfriend loves me.

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  60. Bitter old pill, she is.

    She best leave the negatives in her life alone, this will make her a more beautiful person.

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  61. Nice article and very concise. A friend in State College posted this on Facebook. It is a small world. I hope this comment finds your family doing well. Please give my best to S K-B!

    Jon Downs

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  62. Thank you. I rather love this.

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  63. Thank you for writing that Beth…you’ve hopefully given some mother thought when it comes to their children. Mine are grown up, but were taught beauty didn’t come in a bottle, or drs office, but from within and thankfully they have chosen well, and will continue to perpetuate this beautiful way of life.

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  64. Thank you. This is very powerful and what I believe in. Finding more and more grey hair on my head and every hairdresser that wants to dye my hair is fired :D

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  65. Chills, tears, choked up, joy for the truth of the words, sorrow that not every little girl and boy lives in them…What a beautiful essay, I think I’m going to have to keep this to remind me, on bad days, that I am beautiful.

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  66. We must protect the natural beauty of Nature that is being destroyed daily. It is the source of much of our beauty and joy.

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  67. Hi, great article. I appreciate – and agree with – your thoughts. But I’m also writing because we share a name! I, too, am Beth Berry! Pleased to meet you!

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  68. Brenda Dickemann

    Great read! As a stylist in the beauty industry I have to say we give the clients what they want. It’s the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family, and friends responsible to instill the definition of beauty. You know I love the beauty of the individual. The actions, attitude, and inner spirit is what makes someone beautiful!

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  69. Thank you for this….I’m much older than you, a Grandma now and I’ve never seen this truth presented so clearly. I have scorned my body and face most of my adult life. What a shame, but no more. I’m learning to love myself and my daughter who is an old wise soul has known herself to be beautiful all her life. She has taught me so much. Thanks again.

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  70. Beth, we need more people like you. Keep speaking up, it encourages us all!

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  71. Powerful message! Thank you for reminding us of what true beauty is.

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  72. margaret manning

    Beth, I wonder if you have seen these Camo Confession videos by Dermablend?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KmV-zy6Zxc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBKr4uxXRi0

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  73. Thank you Beth! Now if we can share real love and beauty with our sons and daughters we can hope to shed truth on the media’s deceitful marketing ploys, and change the generation to come!

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  74. This made my heart pound! Thank you for sharing the damned TRUTH!!!

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