I came across an article on (an awesome, grrl-centric website) about model Erika Linder and her gender bending photographs for Crocker by JC Jeans Company (check out the photos here).  Not only is she stunning as a woman, but Linder looks just as striking as a man.  It’s incredible.  And it’s truly refreshing. 

Granted, there’s still a huge lack of diversity in the world of modeling/advertising/etc. and a lack of progressive models (LGBT for example), but this is SO a step in the right direction.  Androgyny is amazing, and it’s something I’m eager to embrace.  As you may or may not know, I recently cut my hair pretty short – and plan on cutting it shorter.  At first, the thought of having hair that wouldn't even go into a teeny tiny ponytail scared me.  I’ve mentioned before how much I depended on my hair extensions to feel sexy and feminine - I'd always associated beauty with long hair.  

Welp, I can honestly say my opinion has changed completely.  I still think long hair is sexy, but I realize now that I was wrong to think short hair couldn’t be appealing and beautiful too.  In fact, I’m sort of obsessed with androgyny right now and love the fact that I can embrace the boyish look (throw some baggy shorts and a baseball cap on me and I transform into a 14 year old boy).  There’s something so liberating and blissful about letting go of insecurities and standard notions of beauty.   I’ve come to realize - and appreciate - that beauty and sexiness are much more than the ideas I used to adhere to.  And it goes without saying that beauty, sexiness, etc. are ultimately about faaaar more than your looks – it's about what’s on the inside.  But that's a given (as cheesy as it sounds!).  However, appearances do play a huge role in our society – we base so much of what we do, how we look, and what we pay to look a certain way on the general population’s opinion of “attractive.”  So, I figure why the hell conform to one ridiculous notion of beauty when I can shake things up a bit instead? 

Since cutting my hair I get the strangest – and coolest – kinds of reactions.  I’ve met so many unique and interesting people since shearing off my locks of blonde hair – people are intrigued and interested in the statement I’m making – and that statement is simply that I’m being myself.  I know it may sound silly to rave this much about a haircut, but seriously, it’s changed the way I look at beauty/myself/the world.  Plus, it’s deeper than the sassy, cotton candy colored hair; it’s the confidence, happiness and uniqueness I’m exuding that makes a difference.  I’m no longer concerned with fitting a typical mold of femininity or “hotness” – I want to illustrate that different is attractive, and that being YOU – whoever that may be – is what’s truly beautiful.

So dress and style yourself in a way that makes you happy - whether it's in purple skinny jeans, cozy sweat pants, oversized tee shirts and heels, makeup/no makeup, tutu's and Birkenstocks, jump suits or dress suits, WHATEVER.  Just do you!

And, inspired by Erika Linder, I did a mini-photoshoot embracing my own brand of androgyny.




So there have been quite a few Dove videos making the rounds on the internet lately, but the one released yesterday is probably my favorite.  Dove has, for a while now, been a proponent of "real" women - AKA not the stereotypical female form that we are constantly bombarded with via media.  Their new campaign #Beautyis has been making a pretty powerful impact.

This particular video, titled "Selfie" (and created in partnership with the Sundance Institute), presents a group of high school girls (real girls, real footage) who are encouraged to create and embrace new ideas of beauty - through the selfie.  I could go on and on about the video, but you should probably watch it first: 

Pretty amazing right?  "The selfie" hadn't erupted onto the scene yet when I was in high school (back in the olden days of the early 2000s), but I remember facing pressures similar to the one's these young women face, and feeling like I didn't live up to the "ideal" image of beauty.  We hear several of the girls in this video discuss the things that they try to hide when taking a selfie: bigger arms, fluffy hair, not smiling because of braces, etc.  Even though I wasn't snapping selfless with an iPhone, anytime anyone took a photo of me I would smile with my mouth closed.  I've had a lot of dental work done over the years, and it took a very long time for me accept that my smile is, in fact, beautiful.  Likewise, I always wore a pushup bra (until, like, six months ago when I finally fell in love with my A cups).  I had countless insecurities as a teenage girl, and if selfies had been all the rage during my high school years, I can only imagine what lengths I would have gone to to present myself the way society seemed to demand.  Hell, to this day I tend to only take selfies in flattering light, with my makeup on, and definitely not when my skin is acting weird.

But this is where Dove's campaign - and this video - come in.  Instead of viewing the things that make them different as "flaws," the girls are encouraged to put an emphasis on their insecurities when taking a selfie.  The results are inspiring and touching.  One girl puts it perfectly when she says, "The things that made them (the young women) different made them unique, and that's what made them beautiful."  Amen sister!  I don't know when society stopped viewing our unique differences (both physically and otherwise) as beautiful, and decided that airbrushed tans, perfectly coifed hair, and a whole lot of other generic bullshit equalled beauty.  What makes you unique is WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL.  Bigger arms?  Beautiful.  Giant, puffy lion's mane hair?  Beautiful.  Little, perky boobs.  Beautiful.  You?  BEAUTIFUL.

Of course, your looks aren't what truly make you beautiful - your personality, your laugh, your determination, your sense of humor, etc. are what true beauty is made of.  And I know people have taken issue with Dove's commercials for focusing primarily on the physical aspect of things, and I agree that more time could be spent extolling girls' intelligence, their interests, and more.  But the cool thing about this video is that it's these girls' personalities that shine through when they talk about what makes them different and as they begin to overcome stereotypes and insecurities.  There's obviously a lot more to beauty than appearances, but I'm so thankful that Dove is doing something to combat the ridiculous and damaging ideas about female beauty.

So go ahead, take a selfie and embrace what makes you you.  Let's redefine beauty because, honey, you are beautiful inside and out.


The selfie I took this morning with no makeup, no weave, no nothin'!

The selfie I took this morning with no makeup, no weave, no nothin'!