So, if you haven’t heard, the gorgeous supermodel/Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr has written a book titled “Treasure Yourself” aimed at helping give teen girls self-esteem/proper diet and nutrition. My usual response to any form of self-esteem boosting publication is “yay!” but after reading the little blurb in Elle this month about Kerr’s book I found myself getting annoyed, I knew it was wrong of me, but sometimes we get annoyed by things even before we know why.
I hate that my initial response was “ugh, seriously, she has body acceptance issues?” but unfortunately, petty person that I am, it was my first thought. Miranda Kerr seems like a lovely woman, she really does. I don’t know tons about her, only that she is dating Orlando Bloom, and is Australian, she always seems very genial and bubbly, and of course, she is perfect looking. I know that my idea of “perfect looking” might not be everyone’s, and I’m sure Kerr, like most of us, has felt uncomfortable in her body at times, but she is pretty much, unanimously gorgeous, right?
Being standardly beautiful doesn’t mean you never feel bad about yourself, or even that you can see yourself the way everyone else sees you, but I can’t help but feel like taking advice from Miranda Kerr about body confidence, is equivalent to Donald Trump telling me how to be thrifty. Crystal Renn is also a gorgeous model, however she is considered plus size, which to me denotes some sort of outsider status on her part, I guess that is why I believe her struggle a bit more. Even though I know beautiful women can have a dysmorphic disorder, or feel just plain old unattractive, it’s quotes like this from Kerr that bother me:
“One thing I tell girls who want to break in to the industry is that there’s no such thing as ‘looking’ like a model. There are so many different shapes and sizes, and everyone has things they want to change: freckles in odd places, dimples where they might not want them, and hair where it shouldn’t be. Just remember that picture-perfect doesn’t exist — perfection is you, just the way you are.“
While that is a great message, I for one as a teenager was dealing with much bigger issues than having unwanted hair and freckles. I was dealing with some serious body/beauty issues, and a model telling me that I’m perfect just the way I am only seems to emphasize the difference between myself and the ideal. The world is always telling us that we’re not perfect the way we are, so having a woman who the world consistently tells us is perfect acting as though it should be as easy for everyone else to accept themselves, just seems condescending, even though I’m sure that is not her intention. It puts a nice easy gloss over the real issues that teens, and women in general, face in terms of their bodies, rather than focusing on how individual and personal a struggle acceptance can be.
I haven’t read Kerr’s book, but I would like to when it comes out (nobody seems to have a release date yet). I find the pairing of a self-esteem book with a nutrition/diet slant counter intuitive, especially for teens. If she really wants girls to accept themselves as they are, then why have the whole “make better” aspect of the book at all? Wouldn’t it be more effective if she simply shared her own stories and feelings of self-consciousness in order to illustrate that even supermodels can feel the pressure of perfection? To me, that is the interesting point, because if a woman as outwardly beautiful as Miranda Kerr has trouble seeing herself as gorgeous, then we really are all screwed. And maybe, just hearing her talk about those feelings would be enough to help girls deal with their own self-esteem without giving them diet tips. Then maybe girls could truly accept that they are perfect, just they way they are.