“Beauty sickness is what happens when women’s emotional energy gets so bound up with what they see in the mirror that it becomes harder for them to see other aspects of their lives. At a practical level, beauty sickness steals women’s time, energy, and money, moving us further away from the people we want to be and the lives we want to live. It keeps us facing the mirror instead of facing the world.”
Feeling insecure about how we look slows us, and even stops us from getting out there and speaking and doing. Appearance-insecurity and beauty sickness are fed by a culture that first assesses our looks and age and weighs them alongside or even over the power of our words and ideas. It’s not just images in magazines and on TV, beauty sickness in large part begins with the words girls hear us using to describe ourselves and other women.
Engeln makes this point: “Those who shame women for their appearance feed beauty sickness. Those who praise girls and women only for how they look do the same,” and this is because when women and girls hear a lot of talk in their day to day lives (not on TV, in their own lives) about how a woman looks - even if the comments are positive - we of course notice when compliments are NOT paid to another woman. Further, the ground-work is set for us to know that our appearance, too, is certainly critically analyzed by others, even if we are putting forth serious thoughts and ideas. That can easily make us want to say nothing at all. What a shame!
“Girls learn that how they look is more important than who they are - the essential symptom of ‘beauty sickness.’ But Engeln doesn’t stop at diagnosis: she offers the possibility of a cure.” — Peggy Orenstein
We are so excited to have Renee Engeln with us on
June 4 to discuss her work! This is a discussion you do not want to miss.
This is a free event, call the store to say you can come, (630) 765-7455