Love your tree

“On Saturday night, I attended the premier of the documentary America the Beautiful and it was an eye-opening experience. The movie was full of so many memorable statements but there was one that I have been thinking about ever since. Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues, spoke about her time in Africa.”

On Saturday night, I attended the premier of the documentary America the Beautiful and it was an eye-opening experience.

The movie was full of so many memorable statements but there was one that I have been thinking about ever since.

Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues, spoke about her time in Africa. She told of her conversation with one African woman in which she asked her if she liked her body. The woman responded by asking her why she would not like her body then followed with explaining why she liked her body so much.

When the African woman then asked Ensler about her own body, she answered like so many people might: by pointing out all the flaws she found in her own skin.

The African woman then made what I considered a profound point.

She looked at a tree and asked Ensler if she felt this one tree was a good tree.
Ensler replied yes.

The woman then pointed to another tree and asked her if she felt that this was a good tree as well. She asked if the other tree was any less of a tree because it did not look like the other tree.

Love your tree, Ensler said in her best interpretation of the woman.

This statement has been in my head since the movie and I am glad it is.

I can honestly say I have spent hours looking at fashion magazines longing after this woman’s legs or that girl’s hair. And for what?

I cannot even count how many times I have gone on some crazy diet to try and get a body like Jessica Simpson, Cameron Diaz or some other celebrity.

According to a survey by Eating Disorder Advocates of Ohio, 91 percent of college students have attempted to control their weight through dieting. My question is why. Why are we so obsessed with weight and comparing ourselves?

I discovered a story on the 12-year old model Gerren Taylor that appeared in the Los Angles Times in which fashion critic Booth Moore discussed Taylor’s quick rise and fall in the fashion industry.

It’s just the way of an industry built on selling a fantasy that depends on novelty and impossible ideals. Women try to intellectualize the constant stream of airbrushed images, skinny models and too-expensive products, but the allure is too strong. So we go on searching for some notion of beauty that is always just out of reach. And we don’t think much about what happened to last year’s model, Moore wrote.

It sounds harsh, but its true. We move on so quickly from these airbrushed models and celebrities, yet we try to be like them.

I envy the African woman. She knows what she has and she values it. I hope to someday be able to look at myself the same way and I hope others can too.

Take the models we see in magazines, movies and commercials and feel free to think of them as pretty or beautiful but remember that just because you do not look like them does not make you any less beautiful.

After all, just because one tree does not look like another does not mean it isn’t as good. You simply need to love your tree, I know I plan on it.