Friday, April 30, 2010

AN HONEST FACE OF FORTY


As I posted yesterday in a shameless plug, I entered a beauty/writing contest in More Magazine on what it means to be a woman over forty.

I don't delude myself that I am beautiful, but what I was ultimately hoping for in this contest was an honest approach to women of a certain age.

Let me start by saying first that I have great support in friends and family -- the MS Society included my link to this contest on their Facebook page as I am indeed committed to giving 10% of my earnings -- should I win -- to the MS Society.

So, I wanted to do this honestly and felt I owed it to myself and women everywhere to do nothing less.

The picture of me on my sidebar where I'm laughing, wearing make-up and my hair is curled and looking quite pretty is not how I look in every day life. That was a Christmas photo taken in December 2008 by a professional and was the last time I wore make-up.

Seriously, I haven't worn make-up in nearly a year and a half. It's just not who I am. B's then girlfriend (and his still good friend) did my make-up for me and borrowed the blouse I'm wearing from her Mom for me to wear.

I did not submit that photo for this contest.

The contest rules state that the photo submitted must be non-professional for which I give the editors much kudos for. From that I understood this to be an honest approach as, again, us gals over forty deserve nothing less.

See my post below this one for the photo I did submit. It was taken by B on his cell phone and shows me as I am every day: no make up, no jewelry, no fancy clothes.

I was excited to send my entry link to all I know in the hopes that yes, I get published, win money and flown to New York (a dream of mine as I've never been there) but my heart in this goal is to be able to donate 10% of any earnings to the MS Society. I want to continue my plight against this affliction as I'm simply unable to donate $500 or $1000 (which is what it would be should I win the grand or first prize) on my own to this worthy cause.

I nonetheless wanted to present a real face of forty.

Upon looking at the nine votes I have received since yesterday, I was feeling good about it all. I see women who entered earlier than I did with 17 votes, 22, etc. and thought,; "Okay, not too bad -- I might actually have a shot at this."

The goal was to write about how we feel about ourselves now, at this age, in 150 words or less.

It was a challenge not to go overboard and there was much editing on my part (thank God for Microsoft word count!).

What did I want to say, how did I want it conveyed and how do I want to look?

The pressure was on.

Do I get all dolled up with make up and hair perfectly done just so I get more votes? Do I write a fluff piece?

No.

That's not me and I don't think that's most real women. I think us to be innately honest.

So, I start browsing around further and checking out 'my competition'. One lady, who has over 2000 votes and whose picture I, of course, couldn't find this morning to show you, wrote this in her first sentence: "I love being over 40 age is just a number and i wouldn't change anything....".

Grammatical errors stand as is, as that is how she wrote.

No comma's. No periods. Ran on and on.....

However, her picture was something right out of 'Playboy' with her garnering more votes than I can now hope to muster. Primed in a lusty pose, back slightly bent, full make-up, hair freshly coiffed and pouty lips to boot with at least one man writing in her comment section; "One word: HOT!".

Contrary to popular belief about such things ("Oh, I only read 'Playboy' for the articles"), I doubt very much that anyone actually read her story and that based on her staggering number of votes, this contest is clearly about more than just good content (really, she used little to no punctuation! Are you kidding me???).

Let's face it, it's clearly about looks and imagery.

So, unbeknownst to me I was done before I even began. If this is what I'm up against, I'm already in the 'fat chance' category.

Let me be clear: be who you are, absolutely. I truly don't begrudge any woman doing whatever she feels necessary to make herself look and feel better whether it be unnatural lighting, Botox, make-up, manicures, bling and tons of ozone depleting aerosol hairspray. Hey, if it works for them, so be it.

It just doesn't work for me.

I simply went into this thing delusional, apparently. I thought the good people voting were looking for honesty and content rather than centerfold.

In spite of my seemingly bitter grapes and scathing diatribe, I nonetheless wish all the contestants luck and hope they wish the same for me because clearly I'm gonna need it--ha!

If you should choose to indeed vote for me, please see the post below this one on how to do so. Again, a vote for me is not only a vote for honesty, but a vote to help research a cause and cure for MS -- and not for illusions. Okay, that was the last dig. :D

Thank you to all my good blog friends (thank you, Meeko!), the MS Society, friends and family for their support and votes.

I leave you now with but a sampling of my competitors -- in all their glorious poses (okay, that really was the last one!):





































and still more....







































4 comments:

Ms Bibi said...

Are you sure the women above are over 40?

I think you should be who you are in your day to day life. Unfortunately, people will turn into something they are not just to win and that it's too bad.

Jaynie Martin said...

just added my vote jo xx... well those women over 40 err where the hell did they come from? ive never seen any like that, unless a movie star ... my bestest lovely young looking 40 something friend doesnt look that good ... and what happened to me??? wow :/ did i age! if they are 40's i really got to be in my 70's at least ha ha :)

Elle said...

It really sucks that this had to turn into a beauty pageant! When are women going to realize that we are better than that and deserve more than to be acknowledged just for our looks?!?! Frustrating!

I'm gonna go figure out how to vote for you, Jo. Also, I have an award for you on my blog!

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

You're correct in your thinking. ALWAYS be who you are. Most of us are sick to death of the 'typical' beauty poses. What you are doing for MS is awesome. My MIL suffers from it and finding a cure is a great cause! You've got my vote.