Beauty is Not a Competition: An Open Letter to Daily Mail’s Dinah Van Tulleken
By Kaitlin Irwin--As a young woman who has battled her own insecurities regarding body and appearance, your article, “How Kate Middleton Can Steal Meghan’s Sparkle” was a damaging step backwards in female empowerment.
Women don’t need to “steal the sparkle” from each other; women shouldn’t be pit against each other for public entertainment. Each woman is beautiful in her own right, so why does she need to be in competition with others? I’m not sure if you realize how damaging this could be, especially for young women.
I’ve plodded through an eating disorder that kills thousands of individuals each year. That eating disorder was brought about by media images and content celebrating the thin ideal, youthfulness, and perfection. My eating disorder was fueled by the need to compete with other women, and to identify my flaws on a daily basis. Anorexia was a way for me to exercise some control over the messages that were swirling around in my head that I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, or successful enough.
Dinah, I doubt this is what you wanted your article to result in, but I’m telling you now that those who read your Kate Middleton article are not going come away from it unscathed. Consciously or not, they are going to remember your assertions that Kate needs to improve her complexion, change her hairstyle to suit others’ tastes, and excite people with her clothing choices. Dragging Kate over the coals, attacking everything from her choice of handbag to her eyebrows, to her manicure, clothing, and hairstyle, is messed up.
Dinah, you could empower women to embrace their bodies and themselves in a much better way. Think of the confidence you could instill in women of all ages if you partnered up with women (and men) who appreciate each other just the way they are. Lift others up, don’t tear them down!
I invite you to start 2017 on a fresh note. Celebrate women for being themselves – unabashedly themselves. Share in the struggles and successes of being a confident and empowered woman.
Welcome to freedom from the treadmill of keeping up appearances. Feel free to stay a while.
Photo courtesy of Flickr