enoughI just watched an episode of America’s Next Top Model that had a photoshoot themed around being “Flawsome.” The idea here is that you have a flaw that you rock, thereby making it awesome.

Flaws included a widow’s peak, tooth gap, skinny legs, big hips, big eyes, a mole, and a big forehead.  Each shoot included model Shaun Ross who is an actor, model and dancer who identifies as an Albino of African descent.

The thing that’s really flawed is the idea that there is one right way to look and everything else is a flaw.  This idea is racist, sizeist, and ableist just for a start.  It seems to me that this is one of those situations where the majority of people who are participating in the situation are being hurt by it and yet we keep perpetuating it with our time, money, and energy.  “Rocking our “flaws” is one option.  Another option would be to fervently declare that we don’t have flaws.  That our foreheads, eyes, hips and everything else are fine as they are.

What if there is no such thing as flawed bodies?  What if there are only variations?  Different shapes, different sizes, different abilities, but all perfect as they are.  What if, instead of reading another article about clothing that hides those “problem areas”, we realized that our bodies don’t have any problem areas? What would be different if, instead of suggesting that other people (or that we) aren’t beautiful, we realized that the problem is that we’ve been taught to see flaws instead of to see beauty.  What if we took it upon ourselves to change that.   What if we looked for beauty in every single person we saw.  No more flaws, no more problem areas, no more body snarking, no more “can you believe she’s wearing that“.  What if every time you looked at someone else, every time you looked in the mirror, you found something beautiful.  Imagine how we can change the world.  Now consider not just imagining, but doing it!

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27 thoughts on “Flawsome?

  1. I suppose a concept like that is to be expected on ANTM. When do we start deciding and declaring that certain parts of our bodies are “flawed?” That reminds me of when I was a young teenager. One of the teen magazines had a contest in which people submitted pictures of what they considered their best features and they were voted on and winners were chosen. I sent them picture of my mouth, and I didn’t win. From then on, I no longer considered them as awesome as I previously thought because some stranger didn’t validate me.

  2. Yes! This is a much healthier approach to living and dressing and decorating oneself… not to mention the time and energy it saves on hating other people for how they look/dress. And hey, if I’m not spending that time and energy on policing someone else’s clothing and grooming choices, I have that much more time and energy to spend on writing a novel, learning to snowboard, or whatever it is that matters more to me.

    (disclaimer: I do not now, nor do I ever expect to want to learn to snowboard. It’s cold and wet and involves careening down hillsides at scary velocities and is not my thing at all. Still, I would definitely choose it over hating anyone’s random body parts or choice of outfit.)

  3. When I saw the title of this post, I though… “flawsome.” That’s cool! Because let’s face it, we’re all flawed somehow, and I don’t even mean physically. But now that I have the context, it sucks.

    Flaws are just a part of us all… it doesn’t mean we still can’t be awesome, and we don’t need to somehow make the flaws “work for us” in order to be awesome. We can do that by rising above pettiness, elitism and by defying societal standards of beauty.

  4. Ugh, that episode. I couldn’t get past the racism — one of the (male, white) models called another of the (female, black) models “ratchet,” and that was it for the scene — nobody addressed the racism of the comment, and I couldn’t stick around long enough to see if the guy was FINALLY held accountable for his horrible actions.

    But I’m with you re: flaws, in that they don’t exist. We are only us, perfect in our selfness.

  5. I am getting right sick of this One Standard of Beauty folderol. Since I’ve gone back to school, I’ve been looking at (and listening to) the gals in my department. Every single one of them is so, so different and so, so wonderful. Maybe it’s just the vigour of youth I’m seeing, but they’re all gorgeous to me, from the gal with cherry red mohawk who plays a mean bassoon to the black gal with a crew cut whose body physically rejects dresses and everyone in between. You could not find a more eclectic mix of body types, sizes, hair styles, everything anywhere else but in the Performing Arts. It’s fantastic, and it makes the sparks fly.

    Which proves to me that beauty comes from any and every source. And if it comes from Somewhere, it has to be alive IN that Somewhere first.

    I have plenty of flaws, but they’re all in my character (and in my brain chemistry). My body isn’t one of them.

  6. When my nephew was a little guy and did something adorable, we’d say “Oh Matthew, you’re too much!” and he would reply “No I’m not, I’m just enough!”

  7. A widow’s peak is a “flaw” now? That’s like saying blue eyes are a flaw or straight hair is a flaw. It’s just something some people have, others don’t. Some hair is straight, some is curly. Some eyes are blue, some are brown or green. Some people have a widow’s peak, other don’t. Some people are skinny, some people are fat. Some people are short, some people are tall. Seriously, WHERE ARE THE FLAWS??? I SEE NONE.

  8. I reposted this blog entry on my Facebook page along with the “You are enough” picture. Someone commented to me: “What a great way to tell someone they are fat!” How discouraging. 😦

  9. I have always liked widow’s peaks. I have seen some men shave theirs so that they have a flat hairline, whereas women use certain hairstyles to hide theirs. That is too bad; I find them sexy and wish I had one.

  10. Wonderful article! I love the way you write from your heart and say things we ALL need to read! I shared this one on my FB wall! AND . . . I love the rock you showed! Let’s all find a rock or two and paint them as gifts for the holidays!!

    1. It’s funny how the rock got two very different responses today — yours and another’s comment, “What a great way to tell someone they are fat!” (as in “enough” is too much already and don’t you dare weigh a pound more!) I ended up taking the picture of the rock down from my Facebook page and just linking to this blog post with the tagline, “What if we stopped seeing our bodies as flawed…?” I guess the saying “You are enough” is open to interpretation… and with me being a jerk magnet, it only figures I’d get a nasty remark from it. The first time I read the rock, I said to myself: “Heck, you are MORE than enough!” and meant it in the best of ways. At the end of the day, though, I think I wish the rock had been more specific. Maybe a bigger rock painted with “You are perfect the way you are!”

  11. My body is beautiful, but not perfect, in that sometimes some upstart skin cells misbehave and have to be cut off, my eyes need glasses, my feet stink at the end of the day. But those are not ‘flaws’! Without those things my body would not be mine. Reminds me of that Tim Minchin song “Not Perfect”:

    This is my body
    And I live in it
    It’s 29
    And 12 months old
    It’s changed a lot since it was new
    It’s done stuff it wasn’t built to do
    I often try to fill it up with wine
    And the weirdest thing about it is
    I spend so much time hating it
    But it never says a bad word about me

    This is my body
    And it’s fine
    It’s where I spend the vast majority of my time
    It’s not perfect
    But it’s mine

  12. When Alice “blonde bombshell” Eve describes her heterochromia (irregularities of various kinds in iris color) as a “disease,” there is something very wrong with the world. In fact, two more people who have heterochromia are Benedict Cumberbatch (aka, my lingering heterosexuality), and me. I love it, personally. How cool is it to have different colors in your eyes?

    I do have flaws. However, they’re diagnosable medical conditions that legitimately need to be treated. Being fat? Having freckles and moles? Having wide-set breasts that creep into my armpits? Those are normal variations in human structure, not flaws.

    The concept of a single standard of beauty is in violation of hundreds of thousands of years–millions of years–of human and hominid evolution. If there was only one standard of beauty, the various modern and pre-modern humans would never have mated with each other, and we wouldn’t have such an amazing genetic lineage worldwide. Early hominid mutants would never have been able to mate and pass on their mutated genes if our ape-like ancestors had shunned the bipedal freaks. And in recent history, I wouldn’t have the definitive Oklahoma story: one side of my family came here on a land run, and the other side did on the Trail of Tears. No matter what these industries say, no matter how loudly they say it, our genes prove them wrong.

  13. I like to think of my so-called “flaws”: my crooked teeth, my knobbly knuckles, my wobbly bottom as special features that set me apart from the crowd. My smile may be crooked, but it’s full of personality. My knobbly knuckles are a legacy from my grandmother and mother. My bottom look freakin’ incredible when I shake it on the dance floor. All of these little quirks are what make me “me”. And so I love them.

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