It’s very easy to dismiss anything an actress or female celebrity has to say about women’s issues as self-serving or irrelevant as they are in positions of wealth and privilege, but look at the power they have to influence, to inspire, to change the status-quo on a massive level? We see them look irritatingly perfect no matter the event while phrases like Beyoncé’s #IWokeUpLikeThis feed into the idea of unrealistic beauty standards. So we praise them when they get real. We applaud Lena Dunham for her imperfect thighs and rally behind those that call out the utter ridiculousness of things like ‘post-natal gym time.’
Actress Blake Lively is in the headlines today for waving a similar #WeActuallyNeverWakeUpLikeThis flag. Because Lively is a woman regardless of fame and fortune, who has guts. It takes guts to admit you’ve failed; it takes guts also to admit that you can’t keep up with all the disappearing celebrity baby bumps because you are, in fact, a real woman and not a barbie. It also takes guts to admit that a team of 10 people make you look beautiful every day when all you do is look in the mirror and see an imperfect reflection.
Lively is such a woman. She is a public figure unafraid to admit her imperfectness and not only does she want to see myths busted when it comes to the ideals of female perfection, she also wants to pass that baton to her young daughters. She told Refinery 29: “We have really unrealistic beauty standards and beauty norms. What you see on red carpets and in magazines takes a lot of effort and a lot of people. People don’t understand that it’s all very constructed, [and] what little girls are seeing isn’t what [celebrities] look like when they wake up in the morning – even though it’s no less beautiful.”
We know this. Her words are nothing new. But they mean something because she is a woman of influence calling out BS, and we need many more of those women in life. She also wants to tell her two young daughters, as a mother, that there’s another side to heavily-filtered Instagram pictures: “There’s this awareness of what they’re going to be exposed to and what they grow up seeing, and for me, it’s important for my daughters to know that it’s not real life. They’re seeing me dressed up in all this hair and makeup, but they also see me without that. I want them to see both sides because there is never just one side.”
It’s never easy to admit to anyone that we have failures or that we don’t feel as beautiful as others see us because we feel ashamed. Ashamed that we can’t live up to the impossible idea of perfection. Maybe, if we did as she did more often and opened up; repeatedly admitted that perfection wasn’t based “on real life” on our crap days, we wouldn’t feel so ashamed anymore.