I am excited to launch a new campaign for Changing the Face of Beauty. I have been working on it over the past month. Ordering, printing and setting up a store on our site to purchase t-shirts. I hope to inspire you to put one on yourself or your child and write about what “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to you. What does it mean to you? I think it means something to each and every one of us. Not just the disability community. I am talking about the world. What does Changing the Face of Beauty mean to your world?
What “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to me……..
That is like a loaded question for me. I often write about what it means to me as a mother of 6 children. A mother of a child with a disability. I rarely write about what “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to me as a person. Just Katie……so here goes.
I am the daughter of parents who were married for a very short time. In fact I can’t remember when they were married. I can not ever remember my Mom, Dad and I living together. In fact my first memory is living with my mom and waiting for my Dad to visit. Those visits were actually at my grandmothers house. He was young and had really no idea how to take care of a 4 year old girl so my grandmother filled in. She made the time I spent away from my mom special, with microwave cinnamon and sugar donuts and instant oatmeal. To this day when I smell a packet of oatmeal I think of her. Her and I were together a lot and she masked the awkwardness of having parents who were divorced.
My Mom remarried and I attended school where my step-dad worked as the principal. I remember feeling out of place especially when there were questions asking who my real Dad was and if Mr Beetzel wasn’t my Dad then why did I live with him. After awhile everything blended together and it became easier to call him Dad instead of fielding questions. This was 1980 and divorce was not as popular as it is today. In fact I can not remember another classmate in the same situation.
Growing up I was insecure. I felt like I was always on the outside looking in. I had a broken family and I was the only product of it. I had curly hair, was over weight at times and very little athletic ability.
As an adult I struggled with the same issues. When a job presented itself I tackled it. I worked till I mastered the expectations. Even when I was performing at the best of my ability I still felt I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t professional enough or capable enough.
Being a wife and a mother are the best things that ever happened to me. Year after year my confidence grew and I felt a real purpose. I had a husband and children who needed me. It was a 35 year journey to get where I am today but I made it. I am still building the confidence that I should have had years ago but I can finally say I am happy with where I am.
So what does “Changing the Face of Beauty” mean to me? It means opportunity for my young self to really feel a part of something. I feel like imagery dictates to all young people what is beautiful and worthy as well as what is not. I grew up in a middle class family and I was never exposed to peers who had differences outside of straight or curly hair. It was not until high school that I met classmates with a different skin color. I believe the face of beauty teaches us value in others and in ourselves. I came from a different background then you but what is considered beautiful dictates value for all of us.
My dream for “Changing the Face of Beauty” is that it grows into something really realistic. That everyone wakes up in the morning and feels like they are seen in this big world. I want insecurities to turn into possibilities. I want people to be able to over come feeling inadequate before they are 35. I believe “Changing the Face of Beauty” provides that possibility and that is why it is so important to me personally.
As a Mom of 6…….I had a conversation with a good friend of mine recently. We were talking about how it feels to put our feelings out there and really write about the truth. To put away the “sunny side up” and tell a story honestly. We both concurred that its hard. Almost too hard. At times we feel like others might think we are weak or not good enough which can be scary for anyone. But I said to her, “I am petrified sometimes of writing or being in positions where I am expected to speak on the behalf of my children’s future or anyones future for that matter. Sometimes I don’t want to say what I really feel for fear of being judged or saying the wrong thing. The one person that grounds me is my daughter. I know that every time I am feeling uneasy or scared of not being liked I remind myself of my daughters future and how she will have to over come those perceptions every single time she steps into a new social situation.”
My daughter will be judged every time she walks into a room and some day she will feel that. With that thought “Changing the Face of Beauty” will always have a broader meaning. I will work diligently to make sure people see everyone clearly so that when a young women with almond eyes walks into the room she will be looked at with optimism and the uncomfortable space will be filled with a hand shake and an everyday conversation. “Changing the Face of Beauty” to me can offer that to all of us. The more we see diversity the more comfortable we become with everyone.
2015 is different. Thousands of families across the world called out company after company asking for their loved one, friend or neighbor to be seen. They stood up and said #imready. Because of them marketing firms are listening, 37 companies have committed to using models with disabilities in their advertising and big box retailers are discussing what is next. Its exciting and it is needed.
I hope “Changing the Face of Beauty” can continue to push the envelope, but not without your help.
I am asking you to continue to ask your retailers to include everyone in their future advertising. I also hope you take the time to share with all of us what “Changing the Face of Beauty” means to you. Why it is important to your future? Your child’s future? Your neighbors future? Why is it important to have a realistic beauty all around us?
Please share here or on any social media platform and tag us at #changingthefaceofbeauty. We can’t wait to hear your stories!
Lets make this happen! Lets remind ourselves and our friends how important this is to our world.
To purchase a “Changing the Face of Beauty” shirt you can check out our shop.