The perception of beauty is always changing. And this is due to the fact that beauty standards and their references are constantly changing.
Since antiquity, the cult of the beautiful has been part of the culture of different societies. Each time and place establish criteria to define what is considered beautiful. And, when looking at history, it is possible to verify that the concept is changeable, subjective and depends on the historical, social and cultural context in which it is inserted.
In the last decades, the cinema, fashion and beauty industries have become great references in the construction of an ideal of female beauty. The massification of this ideal by the media makes us believe that there is a pattern to be followed and that we need to strive to resemble it, at any cost. And that pattern has age, skin color, hair type, body measurements and an enviable lifestyle.
Do you know what the result is? A dissatisfied and insatiable society! Fertile ground for aesthetic treatments, plastic surgeries, miraculous weight loss programs, cosmetics that promise to rejuvenate, increased consumption of medicines for anxiety and depression, crowded psychological offices and so on. There is a huge market interested in making people believe that if they do not meet this standard, it is because they have not tried hard enough.
And as the pressure on women in relation to beauty has always been huge, we ended up being influenced (often without realizing it) to repeat the behavior of artists, celebrities, influencers (who need to be within the standard, under the penalty of not being selected) for the next film, the next soap opera, the next marketing campaign, the next commercial partnership ...) so that we are seen and valued.
“Aging is a simply another word for living.” (I Am book)
You can't prevent aging. If there is a certainty in life it is: we are going to grow old! Each day! But we only realize this when we reach the age of 40, where some signs become visible and almost magically, we become invisible. Employers don't see us, mainstream media doesn't see us, brands don't see us, men don't see us either. It is even difficult to really believe that we are alive!
For it is precisely at this stage of life that we begin, in general, to appropriate our essence. We may not even know what we want yet (after all we are beings under construction), but we already know what we don't want (and that is worth a lot!). We are stronger, more independent, more self-confident. But why are we still stuck with that kind of pressure?
I know, we spent many years fighting for the same rights, for space, for laws, for wages, for opportunities. And we still continue to do so. But we don't need to be slaves to our appearance to prove anything to anyone else.
Our value and our beauty are in our history. Self-knowledge, self-confidence, acceptance, overcoming and reinvention need time. Marks and scars tell stories. We cannot be enslaved to an empty beauty. Of a beauty that can be seen on magazine covers and marketing campaigns. Who defined wrinkles, white hair and a few extra pounds as signs of imperfection? Surely that person died in the prime of his youth! She (and why not say Him) did not have the opportunity to live a real long life.
There is nothing more beautiful than a self confident woman with a wide smile. A woman who plays with her head to achieve what she wants. A woman who does not apologize for making decisions that are important to her. A woman who says no to others so she can say yes to herself. A woman who learns from her own crises and life's adversities. A woman who doesn't give up. A woman who respects her limits. A woman free to be whoever she wants. That's it guys, that’s REAL BEAUTY!
Since I created this platform, I have been doing a lot of research to create quality content that will have a positive impact on the lives of women over 40 years old. In one of these surveys I came across a wonderful project created by the German photographer, based in France, Angelika Buettner, called I AM - THEMOVEMENT.COM. The project came up with the idea of photographing women forgotten by the fashion and film industries. In other words, we, women over 40. Of different physical types, ethnicities, lifestyle and histories. All naked. No protective layers. Just essence. Hence the book I AM – CELEBRATING THE PERFECT IMPERFECT was born.
A book with 121 photographs and stories expressing who these women really are. With all its vulnerability and truth.
“The result compellation of female voices offer profound insights and perspectives about women too often overlooked or unseen by mainstream media. Their stories represent decades of introspection, missteps, challenges, and lessons that have yielded to re-invention, resilience, patience, self-acceptance, authenticity, confidence, and freedom.” – Karen Williams (I AM book)
From the book, the I AM - THEMOVEMENT.COM movement was born, where women over 40 are invited to share their stories on the movement's own platform www.iam-themovement.com
And I want to invite you to be part of this movement, which encourages and strengthens us. Which is totally aligned with the purpose of this platform created by me, in order to become a community for women over 40, where we can share experiences, desires, stories, learn from others and grow together. No judgement. Only empathy, inspiration and encouragement.