Ten Nerdy Reasons to #StopTheBeautyMadness

Ever heard of #StopTheBeautyMadness? It’s a new campaign whose goal is to change the social discourse on beauty. To give you a small idea of what they’re about, here’s a quote from their page:

“There Comes A Time When You Have Simply Had Enough. Enough of the impossible standards. Enough of the “ideal” image. Most of all, enough of the feeling of NOT ENOUGH when it comes to your own beauty. There also comes a time when an entire culture of women have had it. When blogs and ad campaigns and AS-IS selfie pictures start to change the rules of the game.”

If you haven’t heard of STBM before, here are my top ten reasons to consider learning more and getting on board.

  1. Nerdy Girls are tired of being told we can’t possibly be real nerds…because we’re girls.
  2. Nerdy Girls are tired of being told what we can and can’t wear, or eat, or do, by people who think they know how healthy we are and what kind of lives we lead based on our body size or shape.
  3. Nerdy Girls are tired of being ignored because we’re outside the impossibly tiny standard-of-beauty box…and Nerdy Girls are tired of being ignored because we’re inside it, too.
  4. Nerdy Girls are tired of being told we don’t really want to do that thing that we really want to do. Nerdy Girls are tired of being told we’re too pretty for math, or that this or that science-y thing would bore us, or that girls aren’t so good at technology…stuff.
  5. Nerdy Girls are tired of being seen, heard, and judged based on what we look like instead of what we DO.
  6. Nerdy Girls are tired of female characters being few and far between in some of our favorite TV shows, video games, movies, and graphic novels, and we’re tired of the existing female characters being so often reduced to one-dimensional foils for the male heroes.
  7. Nerdy Girls are tired of spending time, money, and energy on our outward appearances when we’d rather be doing other, satisfyingly nerdy things. (Nerdy Girls can still totally be into outward appearances, of course—but we want to do it when and how WE choose, not because society says you have to.)
  8. Nerdy Girls are tired of not seeing ourselves in magazines, toys, music, and books–and we’re ready to see women working hard on things that fascinate them (us) finally getting representation.
  9. Nerdy Girls are tired of Photoshop being used to make women look unreal, instead of it being used for, you know, all the other legitimately cool things it can do. (Colbie Caillat must be a Nerdy Girl.)
  10. Nerdy Girls are tired of the mirror. Instead, Nerdy Girls like microscopes, and telescopes, and periscopes, and monocles, and binoculars, and windows, and glasses, anything that helps us look out at our world and enjoy the nerdy passions we find in it. Rock on, Nerdy Girls!

…And now, for your viewing and/or reading pleasure, here are some of my thoughts on beauty, which I wrote up for the STBM poetry contest. (Video followed by text version.)

Feel free to leave YOUR thoughts on beauty, or things Nerdy Girls are tired of, in the comments.

If I Were a Dictionary

If I were a dictionary, I would tell you that beauty is a beast.

If I were a dictionary, I would open myself up, show you all the entries that have been written on me since I was just a baby that have shown me that beauty is something that you’re never just born with. It’s something you have to work at. It’s something you’re destined to fail.

If I were a dictionary, you could read every entry in my memory and see how everyone always made a big deal about me being pale, or how my skin wasn’t clear, my breasts not large enough, my makeup not thick enough, my shoes? So not “this year.”

That’s right, I was the girl wearing the second-hand, first-bought-at-Walmart-anyway kind
and I had crazy thick glasses and a pretty sharp mind,
and that made me something easily picked apart.

If I were a dictionary, maybe beauty wouldn’t have broken my heart.
But I’m a just girl, so it mattered to me.

I know what you must be thinking, so please, don’t even start:
I’m not here for your pity, and I can believe I’m beautiful now.
But I didn’t always understand.
And I know I’m not alone,
and I know that I’ll be DAMNED if I don’t speak up and change this word and this world.
And I know that I can.

If I were a dictionary, I would make a list
of all the things that are beautiful.
Like this:
The round and ripe curve of every luscious, delectable tomato I pick in my garden is beautiful.
The way my aunt and uncle quietly and selflessly give and give and give is beautiful.
The way my homeless friend’s face lights up when she shows off her latest artwork is beautiful.
The sweat-covered reek of the gym room just after an amazing dance workout is beautiful,
the course of feel-good hormones through my veins is beautiful,
the 75-year-old woman who just kicked my ass at Zumba is beautiful.
The way my brother, who has no words, can make anyone feel loved with just a look is beautiful.
The way my coworker uses his fingerless hand to type his documents, and stir his coffee, and find a go-the-extra-mile way to make people smile, is beautiful.
The way having a “disability” can make you see that each of us is as strong and capable and fragile and breakable as anybody, is beautiful.
The wild strand of hair on my 4-year-old’s head
when he comes in at 5 in the morning to get me out of bed,
and the 610 times I wished I could sleep later instead? All beautiful.
My children hugging each other, or screaming at each other, is beautiful.
The fact that they exist is beautiful.

The fact that I get to exist is So. Unbelievably. Beautiful.
The courage of everyone standing up against the status quo here, together, today,
finally not letting beauty get in our way,
is beautiful.

Dress size, breast size, shade of hair and skin;
your body type or abilities or the kind of clothes you’re comfortable in;
wrinkles, sags, bags, fat or the lack of it,
size of eyebrows or noses, the presence or absence of makeup or zits;
how many inches of arm fat you can pinch,
whether you’re shaven or not,
how much you purge or you binge;
how much you look or don’t look like the girls on the page,
your just-curvy-enough assets or your startling lack of age.

Here are some things that have nothing to do with beauty anymore.
Because we say it’s so, because it’s time,
because we’re sure we have to stop the beauty madness.
It’s pointless, it’s callous,
it can’t capture life in all its grandness and vastness.

If I were a dictionary, I would redefine beauty as it was meant to be,
something that enhances our enjoyment of life, that’s all,
We’ve made something so convoluted and painful
out of an idea very simple and small,
that has nothing to do with any flaws.

Let’s change the definition of beauty.
Let’s get behind THIS cause:
What you look like has very little to do with who you are.
Let’s declare that definition of beauty obsolete ’cause it’s so bizarre.
We can throw away our self-scrutiny and just live, just BE,
and burn this overheavy burden, this chore,
this anachronistic vocabulary.
is not a weapon we need to point at people anymore.



One thought on “Ten Nerdy Reasons to #StopTheBeautyMadness

  1. Love it! I think #3 is especially important. The Goldilocks game is tired. (This girl isn’t pretty enough. This girl is TOO pretty.) Meanwhile, we completely ignore what matters, which is whether or not she likes comics.

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