Thursday, September 29, 2005

I'll Never Be a Walking Hanger

The organization that I work for just hired a new Research Assistant who sits across from me. She is nearly 6 feet tall and looks as though she just walked off the cover of a fashion magazine. Actually, in some sense, she did. As she proudly noted on the day she first arrived, she just got back from modeling in Italy. This has been great for my self-esteem! Now as I hide in my cubicle, fearful that I’ll be spotted – “unskinny” and unfashionable as I am -wearing the same tired outfit I wore last week, I look upon a bookshelf lined with an array of designer shoes. Yes… she has practically turned her cubicle into a private backstage dressing room and I am fortunate enough to get a fashion preview – and taken down a peg - each and every day.

As I stumble in early every morning on my too-high Steve Madden high heels, I am greeted by the Manolo Blahnik’s that stare me down making me all too aware of my lack of style and my inability to afford it, by these standards. It would be easy to despise her if it weren’t for the fact that she is not only beautiful, but brilliant. She is 6 feet of libertarian ideology, which blends all too well with my conservative mindset, and all the day long I hear her engaging in drawn out conversations about her deeply held economic convictions. I assure you that the men in the office at which I work are all too eager to engage her in conversation, and who wouldn’t be? Beauty and brains make for a winning combination in this profession, and any, I would assume. Except modeling, perhaps, where brains are not necessarily mandatory…

Nevertheless, all of this has led me to question what our perception of beauty really is. Does beauty necessarily have to come prepackaged in a wiry 100lb frame? Does it have to fit a standard “type” as illustrated by the multitude of fashion magazines telling us how a woman should look? What is beautiful to me may be repulsive to another and vice versa, right? So why are we so hung up on Kate Moss’ cocaine addiction and why are the newest Gucci fashions still being paraded around on the runway by models akin to walking hangers? I can’t help but wonder… will the tides ever change? Or will I constantly feel the pressure to compare myself to images that I’ll never duplicate (without converting whole-heartedly to the pro-anna, red-string wearing, self-sacrificing, starvation movement).

Fortunately for me, my validation comes from one place alone, and that is neither my coworkers nor my bathroom mirror. God made me this way and like it or not (and I often don't), this is what I look like. Still, I see the room for improvement. (We are always hoping to improve ourselves though, aren’t we?) I suppose I can always ask the new RA to take me shopping with her… at least we can discuss econ as I try on clothes 10 times her clothing size! There is hope yet.

I may never be a walking hanger, but that doesn't mean I can't hold my head up when I walk, in however tired my attire may be...

8 comments:

Batman said...

I’ve always thought that you are drop-dead gorgeous. Take a closer look at the mirror. There isn’t any room for improvement. Guys ogled at you all the time when you were here, in New York. If anything, I’m sure the new girl wishes she was more like you.

Geo said...

lmaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


stop you're beautiful and i love you..

Anonymous said...

you need to start seeing yourself the way i see you

E said...

I just finished reading your blog, and it's great! I'm sure the "new girl" doesn't have the same caring, spiritually-sensitive, seeking spirit that makes me like you so much! I also doubt that she has the ability to love people the way you do, or the amazing gift of writing that you have! I like you just the way you are, and I thank God that I know you.

carolyn said...

Nan, you write beautifully! I wish that I could write like you! In a lot of other cultures, they do not like when women a pencil thin. They prefer their women to have a figure...

Jonathan said...

It's sad to me that our society has told you that your heart is not the part of you that is valuable.

God loves your heart, that is what matters to Him. Don't devalue yourself simply because someone with a different metabolism or build works next to you.

If you have time, please read my post, A Beautiful Heart

utenzi said...

My girlfriend is a size 16 and she's just fine. Weight isn't very important, Nan. Of course not everyone feels that way... and I must admit that I like some faces more than others.

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Real men like curves.