The Myth of the Perfect Woman
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly under pressure to be somebody else. Open any women’s magazine and we are bombarded right from the very first page. Images beckoning us to have clearer, brighter skin, more luscious lips, a better body, be a cordon bleu cook, a perfect mother, a successful career woman, and tend a botanically-brilliant garden.
The world is constantly trying to turn us into that other woman: “the perfect woman”. But the perfect woman is a myth. Unfortunately, it’s a very seductive myth, and there would be few women in the world who haven’t at one time succumbed to the siren’s call. It’s no wonder we feel contorted into mental and physical shapes that we don’t feel comfortable with. We are constantly being seduced into being different to what we currently are. Ultimately, we feel inadequate, unhappy, and cheated.
Judy Garland once said: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.” Sadly Judy didn’t always follow her own advice, but at least she had the insight to realize that trying to be someone else, or something that you’re not, was not the path to follow.
The only thing we can really be is to be ourselves. We don’t have to be perfect, we only have to be the best we can be. Our best is good enough, even when we are having a really bad day and nothing goes our way. We women are often hard on ourselves, and you only have to open that bible of perfection, the women’s magazine, to understand why.
If you are having a day where you feel a little insecure, a little fragile, it is not a huge step to move to “woefully inadequate” as you flick past the flawless complexions, though to the bio section of a fantastically successful career woman, and then onto the delicious-but-perfect dinner party for eight menu, all followed by the home design with eclectic style section.
It’s easy to lose sight of the important things in life, and striving for the perfect face, the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect dinner party and the perfect garden is not in the equation of how to feel good about yourself. To feel good about yourself is to be true to yourself, to be authentically you. We do not need to look like, act like, or be like any other woman. Like Judy said, we should only strive to be first-rate versions of ourselves. Our best is always good enough.