Press Release: November 17, 2015
- Australian Instagram sensation, Essena O’Neill, 19, deletes all 2,000 perfect photos of herself along with all her social media accounts. She bids a tearful YouTube farewell to her hundreds of thousands of followers. She explains her epiphany, in so many words, that to be liked and followed and perfect is a miserable, vapid existence, requiring way too much work. Friends become frenemies, accusing her of a hoax to get more attention. Later, on her new website, (wait, what?) she says “Deleting all those apps was the most freeing and empowering thing,” she’d ever done.
August 17, 2015- Another Australian, Jae West, 24, a thin, eating disorder survivor, strips to her bra and panties in London’s Piccadilly Circus. She’s armed with a whiteboard message supporting admission of struggles with self-acceptance. Passersby have to draw a heart on her body in support. She stands blindfolded, silently praying in fear for someone to please take a marker from her hand. It’s videotaped. At the end of her video is the message, “60% of adults feel ashamed of the way they look.”
August 29, 2015, Boise, Idaho. Inspired, Amy Pence Brown, 40, overweight mother of three, does the same thing at a busy Idaho mall, stripping down to a bikini. At the end of her video is the message, “In a society that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” Both women were terrified nobody would draw a heart on them and they would drown in a puddle of their own tears.
August 17, 2015, Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump informs the world, “Sadly, Heidi Klum is no longer a 10.” Heidi responds with a sexy video parading a T-shirt claiming 9.99, is fine by her.
The transformational act of unconditional self-acceptance, is not achieved by continuing to seek approval. These recent anecdotal stories are not actually acts of self-acceptance. Essena still requires attention on her new website. Both of the women who stripped in public wore blindfolds, exhibiting shame, while the power of their happiness rested in the hands of those who took markers and drew hearts on them. Heidi Klum decided she warranted a lower rating because Trump, a man who feels entitled to publicly rate women on a scale of 1-10, said so.
Actual, unconditional, self-acceptance, is really hard work. It takes a commitment to daily practice, mindfulness, and acknowledging and welcoming all emotions and perceived imperfections as what makes one whole and uniquely human. The ability to experience all of what is the magnificence and duality of a messy, chaotic, serendipitous, and joyful existence; where the acceptance of the outside world is an option, not a need, is perfection. The pervasive, superficial media message of, ‘not good enough, needs approval,’ is an exhausting and ultimately not a fulfilling path to self-acceptance. Particularly for women who have the illusion of perfection bombarding them daily, from everywhere.
Christina Barnes is the Artist/Author of the new book, ‘Wildly Human, Quirky and Empowering Stories for Women.’ Available on Amazon.com.
She can be contacted for interviews through her website, www.digitalrabbithole.com.
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