An Open Letter To The Media About Beauty

Dear Media, 

Remember that confident little girl who said she’d be an architect? 

She stopped drawing.

She thought one day, “What am I drawing for…

when  I can design a new and improved body…

when I can be beautiful.” 

“Why waste my time with these lines 

when I’m not valued for my talents and intellect?” 

“Why be a leader?”

“Why be a dreamer

if my worth is going to be measured by my breast size?”

She crumpled up 

Her passion 

like the paper 

she threw away 

when you told her beauty was in 

flawless skin, straight hair

That she was wasting time 

in her drawing chair 

She tirelessly edited and erased 

Herself 

Her ambition 

She picked and fried and waxed 

until she was too tired to draw 

even if she wanted to anymore 

People complimented 

her frail frame 

and finally told her, “You’re beautiful!” 

The attention she never got 

For being strong 

For her work

These compliments 
made her high 

But the joy was quick

Not sweet, not full 

It didn’t 

sustain her 

Like when her teacher 
hung her drawing and said, 

“You can go far with this.” 

She carried that joy for days 

And days. 

One day she picked up her pencil 

shaking 

And finally 

felt like herself again 

Peace 

She drew beauty
Her own design

She found 

that when she thought of the most 

Beautiful people 

Her own definition 

They were not walking down runways, 

They were climbing up a flag poles.

They were not showing their ribs,

They were sharing their wisdom. 

They were not competing for a man, 

They were running for president.  

They were not begging for validation, 

They were fighting for justice. 

They were holding the hand of a sick loved one. 

They were teaching in inner city schools. 

They were the ones 

Still asking about 

Those drawings she used to do 

Remember that confident little girl who said she’d be a writer?  

She’s writing again. 

Rachel Griffin 

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108 thoughts on “An Open Letter To The Media About Beauty

    1. Totally! I found that compliments on my looks never fully satisfied me- joy that sustained me was from sharing gifts and talents and helping others- I think smart IS attractive- I just think we are all so confused because of weird media messages! Lol great for you! πŸ™‚ thanks for comment!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Lizzie! Really appreciate it! I struggled a lot with it in high school- spent so much time thinking about it instead of focusing on all I could give to world w my gifts and talents – So glad I designed myself a new definition of beauty as well and stopped listening to the toxic messages of media! Yes- so right- only skin deep

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks so much! It’s stuff I try to tell myself- ahahaha when I had the shift in realizing what my OWN definition of beauty was I was thinking of the most beautiful women I know- my mom and sister! πŸ™‚ and how they work tirelessly to help the world, stand up for those who are oppressed- I was like -YES that to me is real beauty! Thanks for understanding and sharing! Xo

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Thank you for this! In high school a boy had just broken up with his girlfriend and his friends were suggesting other girls for him to date. I happened to walk by and saw that when they suggested me, he said I was “too smart.” I felt proud. Now I’m married to a man who loves me for how smart I am, and how I use my smarts to make the world better. Trying to raise my kids to do the same. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to reading more of your work! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh wow- I *LOOOOOVE* that story!
      I am marrying a guy this summer and we are both big music nerds/composers. He’s analyzing music and I’m like, “God, I love this man!”
      When I have kids I really want to raise them to see so much value in their gifts, intellect, talents, in the way we help the community and less fortunate and help them ignore the unhealthy messages in the media.
      I had body image issues and what brought me out of that thinking was working with kids with special needs. I realized my body and mind could do such cooler things than try to be thin- I can focus on helping these amazing kids! πŸ™‚ it was a huge shift for me. Can’t wait to read more of your stuff, too! Great to connect!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. From a male perspective, I have learned some things from the post and following comments. I am a father of two all around beautiful girls….14 and 10. I pray that they will always have the confidence to do whatever they want to do in life. Thanks for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow- what an awesome father you are! Just wanting to learn about body image/media, being aware and wanting your daughters to know they can achieve anything will help them soar! πŸ™‚ I think when dads aren’t there sometimes it can make girls seek attention from men in an unhealthy way. Girls and women get so much praise for their looks- it’s so important to build their self esteem around intelligence, gifts and talents, being part of community and helping others! It warmed my heart to read a dads comment! Thank-you!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you very much …that was very kind. Makes my eyes tear up. I totally agree with you. I’m at a slight disadvantage bc their mother and I are divorced. But I know they need all of this from their daddy. I try my best. Thanks.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautifully written, Rachel. Society exposes us to so much “external beauty”, when the reality is that it comes from within. When we’re “programmed” to think that we must be thin, etc. (basically, everything you wrote), it is quite difficult to re-program ourselves and learn that it’s what’s inside that matters. AND, accept it! Great post. As you can tell, I don’t get to reading blogs daily, but I do get to them! And for writing, it takes time…I’ll be finishing my next article real soon. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so important to realise this at the right moment. That smart is important and more than beauty…but I guess it depends on the kind of people around you too. Even if you feel smart is attractive, 5-10 negative comments and you feel down in the dumps 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is an incredible piece of writing!
    I love every word!
    It is so moving and powerful!
    I suffered from Anorexia for about 5 years and was very unwell and also struggled with Depression
    I have read a few of your posts and they are so relevant to what I have been through and I feel I can relate to them so well. They make me feel so much more positive 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love this post! It’s so hard to remain confident these days when you’re not beautiful or even considered attractive by today’s standards. I went through a period where I gave up on becoming a writer because I read an article about a woman who had written an excellent novel, but the publisher deemed her too unattractive and decided she wasn’t marketable so they didn’t publish her book. I’m over that now, although I still battle low self esteem problems from time to time. But I want to be a writer dammit! 😁 And thank you for visiting my blog and following me. I’m about to follow yours and tweet this post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being a writer is so much cooler and more beautiful than being “magazine pretty!” Magazine pretty you don’t work for— im so psyched for you and so happy you had these revelations! sometimes not looking like a model is good because you have to develop your gifts and talents that will never fade (and beauty fades) and you will always have those gifts and talents to sustain you and inspire others!! So happy to connect with you and find your blog! Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. No bother! Definitely keep up your work! You seem like such a talented writer! I was always passionate about writing myself! Then I left school and never carried it on much πŸ˜” however I have written a few pieces about my travels to China, which was a really big thing for me after struggling so long with my illness! You are so brave to set this blog up! May I ask where you are from? And what gave you the idea to start your blog? 😊

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    1. Hi Nicola! Thanks so much for the super awesome comment! Made my day!!! I’m from maine but I live in the big apple now (New York city!!) one reason I started the blog is I am passionate about helping others and I was thinking of any of the difficulties I’ve gone through can help others in the same boat, that’s great! πŸ’— I also am writing a musical about mental health (for more info it’s a http://www.wehaveapples.com) so I wanted another writing outlet where I could share songs and stories that are in the show and are about these topics as well! I would love to read about your travels to China! πŸ™‚ thanks again!

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  8. Oh, wow! I don’t usually have to scroll down SO FAR to leave a comment! Did you hit a nerve with this post, or WHAT?!? I work with a 6th grade girls’ club at my public school, “Girl emPOWERment Club”, and I would very much like to share this poem with them. May I have your permission to do that? email: dawn.liz.jones@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is fantastic that you work w girls in an empowerment club! So wish that was around when I was a kid! I really respect the work you are doing! πŸ™‚ im actually getting a masters in music ed! You can DEFINITELY share the poem with them! Id be honored! πŸ™‚ πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Winning with this post πŸ™‚ Obviously with all these comments you said something that is so true for all of us. In a beauty-obsessed culture we have to fight through all the noise to just take a breath and think for ourselves. It’s great to see bloggers like you “speaking” truth in with your posts and sharing what really matters, what really brings joy to girls and women. If people would just stop caring so much about what the outside looked like and spent that time caring about the inside, I think our world really would be a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wise words!! πŸ™‚ thanks so much for your thoughtful reaction! I think girls need to taught curriculum about empowerment and strengthening their gifts and talents to counter the unhealthy messages they see constantly in the media about where their value lies! I think the world would really be a better place as well! πŸ™‚ thanks about my blog! πŸ™‚ it’s a good way to turn frustration into something positive! Lol πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw-thanks so much! It’s still a process for me to embrace what i think is beauty and erase the toxic messages from media but at least i know what we truly believe now and I’m headed on the right path! And the power is with us! Muah!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be defined or limited by our appearance. The problem is especially acute when little girls are constantly told they should try to look like models and actresses whose own features have been photoshopped. If not even the original actresses look like that, what hope is there for the little girls?

    My own hope and belief is that what we do matters a lot more than how we look. One of my favorite things about blogging is that people react to each other based on what they actually say and the quality of their ideas rather than what they look like. Well, most of the time, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your insight and I think photoshop is a huge problem as well. I’ve had some photoshoots because I’m a singer/songwriter, and one photographer asked if I wanted him to “stretch me” (w photoshop you can stretch someone and make them look taller and thinner) I was like “no way!” I didn’t want girls thinking I look like that! I’m not thin and tall! I totally agree that what we do should be the focus and is what matters- beauty and youth are temporary/ what we do for others and contribute to the world lives on! Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As per ancient Indian Scriptures ,Humans can manifest Intelligence in 8 different ways. 8 Intelligences. The girl in your poem exhibits hers through Art . It is essential to appreciate what manifestation of God is revealed in each one of us.If natured and cared for the plant will grow into a Mighty Oak.
    Unfortunately anything out of the ordinary is crushed and separated.Love your posts. Thank you for being special in my blogging world. You are the 500th Individual who has subscribed ( followed) my blogs. I started blogging at the end of July, thus it is 2 months now.

    Liked by 1 person

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