To be beautiful, or not to be?

10bw_touchupcrop3.jpgCliches about beauty.  If it isn’t one thing to be beautiful on the inside, it’s another to be beautiful in the eye of whomever is beholding us.  And if beauty is only skin deep, then why should physical beauty or appearance even matter?

It does matter.  And it matters because we are inundated with images of what is considered physically beautiful.  Based on the the images that dominate mainstream media, beauty is manifested in women with impossibly languid figures, structured facial features, and perfectly poreless skin.

Because a prosthetic leg is part of my “physicality”, I’ve gratefully believed that physical beauty is individually unique and not to be compared to others.  And growing up female in a society where looks do matter, I clung to this notion because the images of women walking the runways or covering the magazines did not equal my own physicality.

But times are changing and so too will the perceptions of what is considered  beautiful.  Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and her Lean-In organization, together with Getty Images, they are launching the ‘Lean In Collection’ of stock photos.  Ranging from the stock photos that fill magazines, catalogs, advertisments, and other media, the new collection intends to replace the “cliched, sterilized images of women and girls”.

And with the Huffington Post’s recent headline reminding us that ‘Disabled’ Mannequins represent that beauty does not equal perfection,  we are introduced to images that portray the beauty of the human spirit.  The human condition.  The visual manifestations of people accepting the lives they’ve been given.

A woman comfortable in her own skin:  what could be more beautiful than that?

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