This I Believe

Jessica - Comstock Park, Michigan
Entered on November 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect
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I believe in wrinkles. Every time I turn on the television, I am attacked with commercials for hair, makeup, electronics, and dating. In each one of these commercials, I see beautiful people with flawless bodies and perfect hair. All of them are laughing and playing, and they are care and problem free. I constantly find myself thinking, why are they perfect? I am not perfect, and neither is anyone else, so why would the company target their product toward average people if only the perfect use it? However, as soon as a person who is not beautiful advertises a product, I laugh at them and wonder why a flawed person was hired. I imagine these are the thoughts of most people who see an unrealistic model smiling at them through the screen.

When Dove came out with their Pro-Age campaign, I was shocked – I literally could not believe the message in front of me! Why were almost bare elderly women exposing every wrinkle, scar and spider vein for the world to see? They were not young, and had flaws etched in every inch of their bodies, yet genuine smiles were playing across their faces, and I could see happiness in their eyes. They did not feel embarrassed or ashamed, or if they did, their feelings certainly didn’t show. The women were proud of their wrinkles – crows’ feet and all. I then realized every woman shown was beautiful in her own way, not just a person smiling at a camera. I recognized the amount of sheer courage they must have had to step up in front of the world with nothing but hands and legs to cover themselves with. These women had lived full lives filled with achievement, tragedy, turmoil, and pain. Their wrinkles were not merely the result from the events throughout their lives, but trophies earned from each one. The wrinkles represent an event in her life, whether with laughter or sorrow. Wrinkles should be cherished as a natural occurrence of life.

The women in the Dove campaign taught me a very important lesson I will carry for the rest of my life. “Beauty has no age limit”. The media programmed our minds to think the older a woman ages, the uglier she becomes. The idea spreads like poison, with the consequence of respect given to the older generations becoming obsolete. When older women were young, curves were admired and desired, thus they know how to feel acceptance for voluptuous bodies. Now, the skinnier and younger a person is, the better. Hundreds of thousands of teen girls who suffer from low self esteem because of body issues could stand to learn the lesson these remarkable women taught me. A woman above the age of 45 should not be prejudiced against and thought to be unimpressive. She should flaunt everything she was made to be, and show the world exactly what she is capable of. The amazing power of age and experience needs to be used, not concealed.

Women should love their wrinkles because each one has a unique design and tells a story no one else has. Some may say inner beauty can be the only beauty that lasts a lifetime, but I believe physical beauty can too. Beauty does not have an expiration date. I hope in forty or fifty years I will not have frown lines, but laugh lines I can be proud of.