by Von Rupert
Women are beautiful. Without makeup. Without pretense. Without covering their mouths when they laugh. Without a man, without children, without hurting other women.
Women are beautiful. With breasts that are big and breasts that are small, with breasts that don’t match (because really they do), with breasts that have been rebuilt.
Women are beautiful. With wrinkles, and pimples, and scars. With all three. With glasses, with braces, with wheelchairs. With brown hair and gray hair, with straight hair and curly hair, coarse hair and fine. With no hair.
Women are my tribe.
Lotions won’t make you beautiful. A diet won’t make you beautiful. A pair of jeans won’t make you beautiful. All those companies with their flashy ads won’t make you beautiful. For ten bucks they’ll steal your confidence and sell you a bottle of crap and swear it’s the fountain of youth.
None of their models look like you. None of them look like me. I’m not that skinny or that blond or that tan or that black or that curvy or that anything. My smile isn’t that perfect, my lashes aren’t that long, my skin isn’t that smooth.
I wasn’t conceived in a computer—photoshopped, cropped, and whitened--and neither were you. Enough!
Enough of their ifs. If you wear this bra, you’re beautiful. If you buy this cream, you’re beautiful. If you starve yourself, you’re beautiful .
You ARE beautiful.
Your beauty flows from your mind and your heart as it swims with your soul. Your beauty whispers and shouts through your outlook, your deeds, and your passion. Beauty throbs outward and inward through our tribe like heartbeats, like drumbeats. Like thunder.
Women, it’s time. Lift our tribe up. We’re connected, all of us, like those paper dolls we used to cut out, the ones with hands touching. What you say to one, you say to us all. Don’t be so quick to criticize. Don’t be so fast to slap one of our own against the bathroom wall. Don’t poison our tribe to be cool, to be loved, to be bigger. Be a woman who lifts us up and doesn’t shred us down.
I am woman; hear me roar for other women. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am the shared heart of us all. Women are my tribe. They are my midwives. They are my doctors. They are my teachers and scientists. They are my comedians and my mentors. They are soft arms holding me, fierce legs guiding me, sweet words lifting me.
I am their breasts and they are mine, and we need to nurse each other until we’re all bursting with the knowledge that we are strong and beautiful and more than enough to save this world.
I am Rehtaeh Parsons. I am Sojourner Truth—“ain’t I a woman!” I am Marissa Mayer. I am Dr. Vandana Shiva. I am J.K. Rowling. They are my mothers and my sisters and my daughters. I AM and they ARE and you ARE. We are ONE, and we are a tribe.
And we’re beautiful.
Von Rupert is a wife, mother, writer, and podcast producer for DJ Grandpa's Crib. She mentors other writers at Bob Hembree’s free writing course, http://writersvillage.com/f2k/ You can find her blog at http://wheretheshadowsmeetthelight.blogspot.com/ and her flash fiction stories at http://www.everydayfiction.com/.