Women like Madonna and Marilyn Monroe are known at the quintessential “Material Girls”. Heck, Madonna had a hit song with that title….while Marilyn flaunted her love of richness with Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. For those of you who are nostalgic, or maybe are too young to have seen the movie the song was featured it…Here’s the clip from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Oddly enough, they’re not the original. Before these two, the indomitable Eartha Kitt (aka The Original Catwoman) did a song with a similar theme called Just An Old Fashioned Girl. It’s a very charming song, actually, and if you haven’t seen it before, you should watch.
Based on the three above examples, it’s glamourous, a bit fun, even. There’s always a wink and a smile. It’s all tongue in cheek. The sad truth, though, is that there is a reason for this character creeping up. Unfortunately, she’s not just a beautiful myth. There are many women out there who perpetuate that stereotype…and not in the fun, quirky way we see in those songs and it frustrates me.
Women are strong creatures. They’re resilient, intelligent, adaptable. It drives me absolutely crazy when women decide to settle for the strictly material or pretend to be something they’re not… We have all known different versions of these women who show off the lesser versions of themselves…the ones that dumb themselves down, or pretend to be helpless or incapable. It’s so sad.
When we as women portray ourselves as “the weaker sex” for whatever reason, we lessen what we could be. We don’t give ourselves the opportunity to truly love and be loved. We fool good men into thinking that the vision of us we’re choosing to reflect is the true person, someone they can love…only to eventually be disillusioned. The reality is that we can’t keep up that kind of pretense forever. The mask cracks–the true creature beneath shines through…and the person who’s chosen to love they mythical you that you’ve created is left with both shattered heart and damaged trust…more often than not, too late to prevent irreparable harm. Yes, we can also be manipulative like that.
There is a power in showing your true self to the world. You give them the opportunity to love the amazing person you can be. No walls. No gimmicks. No games. The people that choose to love you are there for the right reasons. And yes, there’s always a chance that someone else is hiding who they really are (unfortunately the world is not perfect and women aren’t the only people capable of such machinations), but we’re also resilient. We learn. We grow. We rebuild.
The other benefit? For me, at least…by not hiding my brain, my competitiveness and my drive…I’ve been able to create careers for myself. I have shown myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m perfectly capable of providing for myself…and anyone else who may come along. The men who’ve shared parts of my life have known that I’ve wanted them there strictly for who they are. They’ve never had to wonder if it’s because I’m afraid of being alone or because I can’t live without a man to support me or any of the other wrong reasons people get into relationships. Somehow it’s made the relationships stronger, healthier, less stressful.
I’m not saying that being yourself will make everything perfect…life rarely is. But I think you’ll find it’s worthwhile. Sure, sometimes the phonies do wind up with all the superficial things…but it can’t keep them warm at night. It’s not there to comfort them when they cry, to laugh with them when they succeed. To understand who they are.
Remember, you don’t have to hide who you are at the core… you’re beautiful just the way you are. Don’t allow yourself to be less than the best you that you can be. You deserve to be loved for the person you are. I hope you don’t misunderstand…I don’t presume to judge you if you’ve been one of those people… the ones who’ve hidden who they are for whatever reason. I just hope that you realize how absolutely, beautifully unique you are. I hope that everyone allows their true selves to shine through…because like snow flakes and finger prints, we’re all originals…all precious and unique.
What myths or personas out there drive you crazy or make you sad? Do you think that they make this world better or worse? Why do you think people hide?
And for Valentine’s Day….here’s my message of love….