Have you seen this new video from Dove? I kinda hate it:
For a while, I couldn't quite put my finger on why. It's rather treacly and contrived, which I find unpleasant, but just this morning I realized that what really pokes at me is that as I watch this video, particularly towards the end, it's just a whole lot of emotion and energy about looks. How a women thinks she looks. How other people think she looks. Women. Looks. Looks. Women. It's too much.
I care about how I look, but I care a whole hell of a lot more about how I feel. How my body works and how it feels while it's working. How it feels to me and how it feels to others.
I'm really focused on losing weight right now and getting more physically fit. A strong 25% of that is that I want to fit in my clothes and my bathing suit and look good. But 75% of that is that how my body feels right now is uncomfortable. I don't like how it feels when my little beer belly hangs over my underwear. I don't like that my pants are tight. (And I hate shopping for pants!) I don't like grocery bags and laundry feeling heavy. I love how tight abs feel. I love how strength feels. I love how it feels to be able to do all the things I want to.
Similarly, I worry how others perceive my gray hair, and the effects of that on my life, but the winning factor is that most days my hair feels fabulous to the touch. It's strong and healthy. I don't worry about it making me feel old because I'm 41 years old and this is the hair that grows out of my head. So in objective reality, it can only make me look exactly 41. It's 41-year-old hair.
Oh, is 41 "old"? Well, I'll let you know when it feels like it.
Now, one of my favorite physical attributes is my breasts. They don't look remotely like the women you see in magazines, but I gotta tell ya, they feel fantastic. So I don't really spend any mental energy at all worrying about what they're supposed to look like, and for the record, they can each hold a pencil. While feeling fantastic.
I don't buy clothes that look good but aren't comfortable.
I don't eat healthy food that isn't delicious.
I don't make decisions that don't feel right in my gut.
Since I started this post hating on a Dove video, I'll give you one more example. I never used shower gel before I did a paid post for Dove Body Wash. Now, my shower always hosts a bottle (yes, of Dove). Why? Because now my skin feels soft all the time. The other day I got a pedicure (yes, because I like my toes to look pretty), and I saw the woman feel my feet and choose the softer side of the sander. That's what it's about for me. Feel is always going to trump look.
Have you seen the Men's Parody video of the Dove Sketch Video?
Honestly, the two videos together just kinda make me feel sad. It made me wonder if men did the second sketch in the women's video, how would that turn out? And then, I gotta let that go because again, it's just too much focus on looks. I honestly believe that ultimately attraction is substantially about feeling for most people. How do you feel when you're around the person? How do they feel to you? In your gut and in your arms.
At the end of the day, most of us care to varying degrees about what we look like. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look our best. I want to look my best.
But how we define that, and how we let society define that for us, is ultimately up to us.
Me, I'm gonna just keep doing what feels good.