Artwork for podcast Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them
Grappling with Beauty & Objectification // with Valerie Monroe and Debbie Saroufim
Episode 5116th March 2023 • Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them • Carmelita Tiu
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What woman hasn’t disliked part of her face at some point?  My nose is too big. I don’t like my profile. My forehead is too big. I wish my lips were fuller. 

Val Monroe, former beauty editor for O, The Oprah Magazine and writer of the popular Substack newsletter How Not to F*ck Up Your Face, and Body Relationship Coach Debbie Saroufim, chat with host Carmelita Tiu about grappling with beauty standards, objectification, and how we can shift our perspectives as our bodies and faces change through our lives.

We cover:

  • What objectification means
  • Mirror meditation - what it is, why it works
  • The roots of beauty standards and our dissatisfaction
  • Sitting with discomfort
  • Feeling beautiful vs. being beautiful

Today's Guests

To learn more about Debbie Saroufim, visit www.bodyrelationship.com and follow her on Instagram @bodyrelationship_coach.  And check out her Parents Guide, for what NOT to say to your kids if you want them to have a health relationship with their bodies.

Want to feel happier about your appearance—especially as you age—you might like reading more about what Val has to say about it. Subscribe for free to How Not to F*ck Up Your Face at valeriemonroe.substack.com. You can find her on Instagram at @thisisvalmonroe.

About Your Host, Carmelita / Cat / Millie Tiu

Mom, spouse, coach, podcaster, wordsmith, legal eagle.  Endlessly curious about how we can show up better for ourselves – because when we do that, we also show up better for our kids and those around us.  Visit carmelitatiu.com to learn more about Cat, and for info on 1:1 coaching, the mom collective, and her monthly newsletter.


Know Them, Be Them, Raise Them

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AND - if you're a growth-oriented mom who wants to defy expectation and lead a legacy-worthy life, visit carmelitatiu.com to set up a 30 min complimentary coaching consult with me!

Transcripts

Speaker:

Hello, I'm Carmelita too.

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And welcome to know them.

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Be them.

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Raise them.

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Uh, show to help busy, mindful growth oriented moms stay informed

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and inspired as they navigate their daughter's tween and teen years.

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If you like what you hear or you find something helpful in

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the podcast, please follow.

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Follow at Noby raised them on Instagram.

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Tell a friend and leave a review on apple podcasts or Spotify.

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So I've interviewed dozens of women for this podcast.

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And something I've noticed is how our personal growth and wellbeing

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are tied to becoming informed about a problem or issue, and then learning

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about solutions and alternatives.

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And for most topics, it's not a one and done kind of thing.

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You might have a lot of info, but it still takes practice effort and

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reminders to remember your options and alternatives and keep your

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brain in a more empowered Headspace.

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Body image and beauty and diet culture.

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Those are topics that fall squarely into this category.

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You may already know I've done previous episodes and today's takes a different

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little bit different of an angle.

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Um, we definitely touch on beauty and part of me knows that certain things are true.

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Like beauty's on the inside, et cetera, et cetera.

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But my guests today really dive deeper into why beauty culture impacts us so much

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and what we can do to help navigate that.

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Debbie Saroufim is one guest.

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She's a body relationship coach that's been on the podcast before

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based in Southern California with a background in personal training.

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She helps women learn to love their bodies, even while they're working

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on them and build an immunity to diet culture's negative messages.

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And establish a healthy relationship with food.

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Through coaching virtual workouts and community.

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She aims to be a support system for her clients.

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Because when women are living a truth that doesn't involve good and bad bodies, they

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can be the best version of themselves.

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And my other guest is Val Monroe.

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For nearly 16 years, val was beauty director at O the Oprah magazine.

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She's been an editor at Ms.

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Red book, self and parenting magazines among others, a contributing

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writer at parents and entertainment weekly, and has written hundreds of

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articles on a wide range of topics for many national publications.

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She's considered an expert in the field because of her intimate

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connection with magazine readers.

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Through her monthly column at oh, her extensive experience

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interviewing beauty experts.

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And through her writing on the many aspects of beauty culture.

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She also publishes a popular sub stack newsletter.

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How not to F up your face.

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Philosophical and practical advice for anyone who's ever looked into a mirror.

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Here's our conversation.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Debbie and Val, welcome and thank you so much for sharing

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

your time and energy with me today.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I'm honored to have you both here, so yes, first of all, welcome,

Debbie Saroufim:

Thank you.

Debbie Saroufim:

Thank you for having us.

Debbie Saroufim:

I'm so excited to be talking to both of you at the same time.

Debbie Saroufim:

I'm like it nerdy child.

Debbie Saroufim:

So thank you.

Debbie Saroufim:

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host: So let's jump right in.

Debbie Saroufim:

I know Val, especially, you have touched on this concept of OB

Debbie Saroufim:

objectification and I would love to hear you share more about what it

Debbie Saroufim:

is and tell us what we need to know.

Val Monroe:

So yes, thanks.

Val Monroe:

It's a huge part of my platform at, uh, you know, how not to fuck up your

Val Monroe:

face because it's one of the, one of the main things that we learn as.

Val Monroe:

Women or as girls.

Val Monroe:

From the moment that we start looking into a mirror, we are kind of taught to

Val Monroe:

objectify what we see, unlike the way um, you know, we look at other people's

Val Monroe:

faces, we look at our own faces as an object to be adorned or manipulated

Val Monroe:

or or used in some way to attract a third party, an imaginary third party.

Val Monroe:

But it's basically you know, whatever, uh, Western Eurocentric

Val Monroe:

beauty culture has taught us to believe we're supposed to look like.

Val Monroe:

And because it happened so young with.

Val Monroe:

With, uh, girls, it's something that becomes completely ingrained, uh,

Val Monroe:

becomes an inherent part of who we are when we think about how we look.

Val Monroe:

And so it means that whenever we look in the mirror, we're constantly scanning for

Val Monroe:

flaws, for for mistakes, for problems, for ways that we can make ourselves look more

Val Monroe:

attractive to uh, to the world basically.

Val Monroe:

I suggest that if we can learn how to undo that, if we can learn how to de

Val Monroe:

objectify what we see in the mirror everything following in terms of how we

Val Monroe:

feel about the way we look will be an improvement will make us feel better.

Val Monroe:

And I tell a story in one of my posts about how I actually started to.

Val Monroe:

, uh, de objectify on my own without really understanding what it was when

Val Monroe:

I received a photo from a reader, uh, actually it couldn't have been

Val Monroe:

because it was at a private party.

Val Monroe:

It was from, uh, someone on, I think on, on the staff who I don't remember

Val Monroe:

it at the magazine who sent me a photo of me talking face to face.

Val Monroe:

the gorgeous model.

Val Monroe:

Iman, you know who she is, right?

Val Monroe:

David Bowie's wife and I looked at this photo and I looked at Iman's face and

Val Monroe:

I looked at my own, and as I describe it, she looked like this magnificent.

Val Monroe:

Uh, outrageous hot house orchid in full bloom, and I looked like a

Val Monroe:

little parking lot daisy, you know, at the end of a hot summer day.

Val Monroe:

And I felt such disappointment because I hadn't really been thinking about how

Val Monroe:

I looked in relation to other people.

Val Monroe:

I just hadn't, it wasn't something that I had given a lot of thought to anyway.

Val Monroe:

I had this feeling and I went over to the mirror in my office and I looked at

Val Monroe:

myself, and I looked into my own eyes.

Val Monroe:

Until I recognized myself, basically.

Val Monroe:

I think the way I put it was I, I looked into my own eyes until I

Val Monroe:

actually saw the person who lived there, and I felt this enormous

Val Monroe:

relief because I recognized myself.

Val Monroe:

I had been doing a lot of therapy at the time and I had learned how to.

Val Monroe:

Feel compassionate for the person who I had grown to be, you know, from the time

Val Monroe:

I was a ba a child until my adulthood.

Val Monroe:

And it was enormously helpful.

Val Monroe:

And so it became something that I would do when I felt overwhelmed by

Val Monroe:

basically, you know, beauty cultures insistence that I try to Adhere to

Val Monroe:

their, to their what beauty standard.

Val Monroe:

And then I discovered that there's actually science behind that.

Val Monroe:

, there's , a, uh, teacher at Barnard College in New York, uh,

Val Monroe:

who's been studying this, and it's called mirror meditation.

Val Monroe:

I mean, there are other people who study it too, but I.

Val Monroe:

Tara well, first, uh, she's got a new book out and it's called Mirror Meditation.

Val Monroe:

And I encourage readers at all times to try to go back to do these exercises

Val Monroe:

that she has actually shown through studies can help improve self-esteem.

Val Monroe:

Basically what you're doing is deep listening to yourself.

Val Monroe:

I say typically, you know, if you're a really good friend, , it's the kind of

Val Monroe:

listening you do when you're, when you're listening to a friend who's downloading,

Val Monroe:

or you're being intimate with her.

Val Monroe:

You're doing it with yourself.

Val Monroe:

And she talks about the ways that mirror meditation can help you, uh, maintain

Val Monroe:

better self-esteem and can make you feel better about the way you look.

Val Monroe:

In other words, learn to love your face in the way that I eventually did

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Wow.

Val Monroe:

but that's the.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

something that came up as you were talking about,

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

establishing the sense of compassion for yourself and kind of paralleling

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

how we treat friends differently than we would treat ourselves.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And by seeing yourself in a.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

That's a visual aid in a sense, in helping you see yourself

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

almost like a third person.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I, I don't know if that's part of the psychology, but objectively, thank you.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

, Val Monroe: Yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

, not objectifying, but objectively the way a, a friend was here.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I think that's really important.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And it's a way of looking in a mirror that most women aren't familiar with.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Hmm.

Val Monroe:

basically what I like to encourage a woman to do, a reader

Val Monroe:

to do is to look into the mirror until she can see her own eyes.

Val Monroe:

It's very uncomfortable.

Val Monroe:

It feels like when I first did it, I.

Val Monroe:

felt like I was putting the make on myself, which was just

Val Monroe:

like ridiculous, you know?

Val Monroe:

And then I was thinking, you're an idiot.

Val Monroe:

Where's it going?

Val Monroe:

This is going nowhere.

Val Monroe:

But if you can do it to the point where you're allowing feelings to come

Val Monroe:

up, and you can continue to look at yourself, you begin to see your face

Val Monroe:

as just a face with, you know, brown eyes or blue eyes, you know, a, a long

Val Monroe:

narrow nose or a broad one, you know?

Val Monroe:

And you.

Val Monroe:

You eventually, if you're disappointed about doing the exercise, you'll

Val Monroe:

be able to see yourself with the same kind of compassion you see.

Val Monroe:

Your best friend or your daughter, or your mother someone who you, who you love.

Val Monroe:

And then I, and then I.

Debbie Saroufim:

interesting.

Debbie Saroufim:

Oh, go ahead.

Debbie Saroufim:

Sorry.

Debbie Saroufim:

Go, go.

Val Monroe:

I just wanna say then I insist that, you know, after that,

Val Monroe:

if you can do that, anything else you decide to do to your face, and I'm not

Val Monroe:

judgmental about, whatever treatments you want, whether they're, invasive.

Val Monroe:

I mean, if it's a facelift you want, it'll make you feel better.

Val Monroe:

And you know why I say go for it.

Val Monroe:

But anything you choose to do to your face after you've been able to

Val Monroe:

see your face without objectifying it, you'll be happier with

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Mm mm

Debbie Saroufim:

It's interesting because I had Thanks.

Debbie Saroufim:

I I got this one.

Debbie Saroufim:

Here we go.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, no, it's interesting because, so before you ever, because I've

Debbie Saroufim:

heard you talk about this looking at yourself, um, in the mirror before and

Debbie Saroufim:

before I ever did that, I actually did this exercise with my husband when I

Debbie Saroufim:

felt like we, um, there was a time shortly after having two kids and I

Debbie Saroufim:

think I had sort of struggled with some postpartum depression and I

Debbie Saroufim:

just felt a little disconnected and, um, I'd been doing a lot of work on

Debbie Saroufim:

myself and all sorts of stuff, but he.

Debbie Saroufim:

For a present, we had the, uh, brother-in-law watch the kids, and we

Debbie Saroufim:

went to a hotel and I just reveled in it.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I was like, here's what I wanna do.

Debbie Saroufim:

And this was one of the exercises and.

Debbie Saroufim:

what I like to remind people and to parallel is that a

Debbie Saroufim:

relationship with yourself is like a relationship with a partner.

Debbie Saroufim:

So my husband was a great sport because I had tons of like, let's

Debbie Saroufim:

get emotionally closer exercises planned for us for the weekend.

Debbie Saroufim:

And he just kind of went along with all of it.

Debbie Saroufim:

But we started, it's called soul gazing.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, and you do, you do with your partner what you're talking about, which is.

Debbie Saroufim:

You sit in the discomfort of looking into their eyes and really seeing them.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I had, I just sort of wanna say my experience was very similar.

Debbie Saroufim:

I had those first few minutes, I was surprised.

Debbie Saroufim:

I started laughing.

Debbie Saroufim:

He kept it really cool and I was the one who had wanted it, but I started

Debbie Saroufim:

laughing and then when I sort of moved through that, cause I always

Debbie Saroufim:

like to remind people that if you sit in a feeling long enough, it passes.

Debbie Saroufim:

So I moved through the uncomfortable, I feel sort of stupid phase and

Debbie Saroufim:

then, um, I had a really profound experience with my husband.

Debbie Saroufim:

And, you know, he always tells me that he feels sort of like he, he

Debbie Saroufim:

worries a lot about death and aging.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I had this moment where I was looking at him and I saw, like I saw his face

Debbie Saroufim:

sort of morph into an old man and, um, And I just got teary-eyed and I felt,

Debbie Saroufim:

and I told him about it afterwards and I felt that I saw a part of him, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Like I think I saw his fear.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I loved him for it.

Debbie Saroufim:

it was something that had always sort of been.

Debbie Saroufim:

The difference between me and my husband because I, he, he's sort

Debbie Saroufim:

of perpetually focused on death and I'm perpetually focused on life.

Debbie Saroufim:

And so it's always sort of been this divide.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I had this moment where I was able to see him and I was able to love him for it.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I kind of just sort of want to mirror that.

Debbie Saroufim:

Right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Because a relationship with.

Debbie Saroufim:

With yourself, be it with your face, with your body, with anything.

Debbie Saroufim:

A relationship is allowed to have those complex feelings.

Debbie Saroufim:

You're allowed to feel like it's stupid and fabulous all at the same time.

Debbie Saroufim:

And so I just kinda wanna point out the similarities cuz I did

Debbie Saroufim:

the same thing with someone else and had a very similar experience.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I think it actually, you know, he still refers to that as sort of

Debbie Saroufim:

like the time I understood and saw.

Debbie Saroufim:

Some of his concern and it was more than a person.

Debbie Saroufim:

Right.

Debbie Saroufim:

And that's what you're talking about is I'm more than, I'm more

Debbie Saroufim:

than a series of like, you know, perfectly aligned symmetrical figures.

Debbie Saroufim:

I am a whole being.

Val Monroe:

Of the things that you're bringing up, I think, which is really,

Val Monroe:

really important is vulnerability and the power of vulnerability, because

Val Monroe:

what you're doing, what you were doing with him, and what I encourage

Val Monroe:

women to do with for themselves is to allow the vulnerabilities to arise,

Val Monroe:

to see them, to be able to feel them, and then to understand the power.

Val Monroe:

Vulnerability when you've experienced it.

Val Monroe:

You know, one of the things that we do, I think as women, when we objectify our

Val Monroe:

faces and try to manipulate it or, , fix it in some way or scan it for flaws

Val Monroe:

and then, you know try to hide the flaws is that we're putting on a mask.

Val Monroe:

And I think, you know, that's one of the things that makes.

Val Monroe:

Feel you know, insecure, unhappy, you know, gives us a feeling of lower

Val Monroe:

self-esteem because the mask is never enough and the feelings are always there.

Val Monroe:

And if we don't confront them, uh, we're always stru, we're always

Val Monroe:

gonna be struggling with these, you know, something that's driving us

Val Monroe:

that we, we don't really understand.

Val Monroe:

If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with our feelings it gives us the power.

Val Monroe:

being able to use them in a way that might be more productive.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Mm-hmm.

Debbie Saroufim:

I mean, I always say there's a power.

Debbie Saroufim:

I always tell my mo, there's a power in sitting in your discomfort, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Like knowing that your discomfort is just yours.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I think, you know, to your point when you say treat yourself like you

Debbie Saroufim:

would a friend, like we're, it's so easy to look at a friend and say,

Debbie Saroufim:

oh, she's lovely, and also know that.

Debbie Saroufim:

That we can beat ourselves up.

Debbie Saroufim:

It's been interesting.

Debbie Saroufim:

I heard someone say this and I thought this was incredibly profound,

Debbie Saroufim:

so I'm going to say it, and if you like it, I'll claim it as my own

Debbie Saroufim:

and you can edit out the part that

Val Monroe:

Unless it was, unless it was me,

Debbie Saroufim:

it was you, no, it, it wasn't you.

Debbie Saroufim:

But someone said that, I am beautiful and if someone can't see my beauty, that's

Debbie Saroufim:

their limitation because my beauty exists.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I think that culturally we've been fed this idea of what beauty is, and the

Debbie Saroufim:

implication is always so if you don't meet this criteria, you are not beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

But that is beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

But beauty is so much more than that and, and.

Debbie Saroufim:

And since I've opened my my mind and expanded my definition of

Debbie Saroufim:

beauty, I think I'm able to see the beauty in myself even on days

Debbie Saroufim:

when I don't feel beautiful because like, beauty isn't really a feeling.

Debbie Saroufim:

But, you know, I, I talked about this in our last conversation, Kat, where

Debbie Saroufim:

I always said, you know, feeling when, when we say something like, I feel fat,

Debbie Saroufim:

or I feel gross, or I feel, it feels like we're disconnected from the power

Debbie Saroufim:

that we have as humans and so know.

Debbie Saroufim:

Feeling beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

You don't actually get to feel beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

You are beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

But feeling beautiful I think is when you're tapped into sort of the power

Debbie Saroufim:

you have that that is your value, that's beyond this shell that you carry.

Debbie Saroufim:

And so.

Debbie Saroufim:

There's something really nice about knowing you are beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

Even on the days you don't feel it, cuz you don't always have to feel it.

Debbie Saroufim:

Right.

Debbie Saroufim:

And and so I think, yeah, I liked that perspective of, oh wow.

Debbie Saroufim:

If they can't see my beauty, it's not even a blame thing.

Debbie Saroufim:

It's not like they're bad.

Debbie Saroufim:

It's just their, like, that's, that's their limitation, their

Debbie Saroufim:

limitation of where beauty goes ends.

Debbie Saroufim:

It doesn't mean I'm not beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

It gives a lot more space to sort of be nice to yourself.

Debbie Saroufim:

You know, so I thought that

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And a little forgiving towards others too, right?

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Like as you were saying, just you can still be beautiful even if they don't see

Debbie Saroufim:

mm-hmm.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And you can feel comfort in knowing that

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

you are beautiful and, and not carry that grudge or that sense

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

of resentment towards this other.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

necessarily, you know, because if you, if you let that affect you, then you're, in

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

a sense, I, I feel like , you're sort of staying in that, realm of acknowledging

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

that they may have a power over you.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Um, I.

Debbie Saroufim:

Well, and I think if we talk about the objectification

Debbie Saroufim:

of women, so much of it is tied into how much beauty do they have?

Debbie Saroufim:

And it's like it's currency and it's almost like women

Debbie Saroufim:

owe the world this currency.

Debbie Saroufim:

And then it's their responsibility to show up a certain way.

Debbie Saroufim:

And if you respect yourself, you take care of yourself like this.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I mean, this subjectification of beauty and women spills into

Debbie Saroufim:

so many aspects of our life.

Debbie Saroufim:

And the truth is, is that, if you recognize, oh wow, beauty exists,

Debbie Saroufim:

even where I don't see it, then.

Debbie Saroufim:

. I feel like that hold that the culture gets to Hold on you as to you owe me this.

Debbie Saroufim:

It just, the grip loosens a little, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Because I'm still, I'm still, you know, I'm a 42 year old woman in America, so

Debbie Saroufim:

there's still definitely like certain um, things I'm supposed to fulfill.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, and now.

Debbie Saroufim:

on the days that I don't feel I fulfill them, because I don't always

Debbie Saroufim:

get to feel like I fulfill them.

Debbie Saroufim:

It doesn't feel like I'm letting anyone down because I recognize, again, that

Debbie Saroufim:

if they can't see what I'm providing, that that's their, their limitation.

Debbie Saroufim:

And it just sort of gives me a little bit of power to feel my power,

Debbie Saroufim:

even if the world doesn't have, you know, Does your power exist?

Debbie Saroufim:

It's like if, , if a tree falls in a forest and no one's there to make a

Debbie Saroufim:

sound, does it actually make a sound?

Debbie Saroufim:

And it's like, does your power exist If the world doesn't

Debbie Saroufim:

see it and it, it does it.

Debbie Saroufim:

And so that's where we get to sort of take some of the power back.

Debbie Saroufim:

I

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Yeah.

Val Monroe:

Yeah.

Val Monroe:

So one, one thing about this power issue you're talking about

Val Monroe:

I think is really important is that capitalism is the engine.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Hmm.

Val Monroe:

it's not as if you know you're You're encouraged to improve

Val Monroe:

your looks or to look a certain way just because, just for the fact of it, you

Val Monroe:

know, just because someone wants you to, but you're encouraged to do that because

Val Monroe:

you're supporting an enormous capitalist.

Val Monroe:

Entity that relies on all of those feelings of, imperfection and yearning

Val Monroe:

to keep it going inadequately.

Val Monroe:

Exactly.

Val Monroe:

And it relies on all of those feelings that, make you

Val Monroe:

feel lousy as a human being.

Val Monroe:

to support it.

Val Monroe:

And that's why it's very, I, I believe especially in the beauty arena, why it's

Val Monroe:

so very difficult to make a, an enormous or an impressive, an important change

Val Monroe:

because the power of the capitalist engine is so strong and so pervasive

Val Monroe:

that it's very hard to work against it.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Mm mm That is such an important point that I think

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

sometimes many people either gloss over or , they don't actively acknowledge.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And, and I think, Debbie, you may have touched on this, but the, the

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

fact that there are entire industries that rely on our sense of insec.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

And, and our desire to change how we look to conform to something

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

else that is a huge hurdle and we need to inform ourselves so that.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

when we see ads that don't look like us when we're told we need

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products that we don't have yet, that we can filter it and kind of look

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

at it with a sense of skepticism.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

Um, it's, yeah.

Carmelita (Cat) Tiu, Host:

I don't know if that's pointed out as much as it should be

Debbie Saroufim:

Well, I mean, I think it goes so far back that it's

Debbie Saroufim:

almost like some of the people, because I, because I know progressive

Debbie Saroufim:

thinkers who, , who subscribe to some of the beauty mythology, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Like it goes so far back.

Debbie Saroufim:

We don't really, it's, it, it gets to a point where you

Debbie Saroufim:

don't know how to separate.

Debbie Saroufim:

Those cultural capitalistic beliefs from your own, like where does one end,

Debbie Saroufim:

they're all, they're all twisted together.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, and then, and then you get the flip side where people are like, no, I'm

Debbie Saroufim:

doing this because it makes me feel good.

Debbie Saroufim:

Like I wanna do this cuz it feels I, I feel good when I feel beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

And that's not wrong, but that's.

Debbie Saroufim:

that's manmade at this point, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Like that is something that if this industry didn't exist.

Debbie Saroufim:

You wouldn't have to feel beautiful to be beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

You just, you just know.

Debbie Saroufim:

But it goes so far back that it's like you don't even realize a thing.

Debbie Saroufim:

It's just sort of reality.

Val Monroe:

Deb, I wanna challenge you, I wanna challenge you on something

Val Monroe:

because you, keep saying you know, you could feel beautiful, even when other

Val Monroe:

people aren't recognizing your beauty.

Val Monroe:

And I'm wondering when you say that about the issue of needing

Val Monroe:

to feel beautiful , at its source.

Val Monroe:

So as we age, it gets much, much harder to look in the mirror , and

Val Monroe:

assert your beauty in the way that we're raised to think that we are beautiful.

Val Monroe:

So, in my experience, I'm learning to look at myself and on the days when

Val Monroe:

I don't feel like I'm good looking, you know, by Eurocentric standard

Val Monroe:

to look at myself and think I'm not beautiful, but I'm still valuable.

Val Monroe:

In other words, my face no longer is in line with what I've been

Val Monroe:

brought up to believe is beautiful.

Val Monroe:

It just isn't.

Val Monroe:

Um, so I don't feel beautiful, but I'm thinking about like, if I were a man

Val Monroe:

who was 71, would I look in the mirror and go, oh my God, look at my face.

Val Monroe:

Yuck.

Val Monroe:

You know, I'm, I'm so old.

Val Monroe:

No.

Val Monroe:

And that's where I'm moving towards.

Val Monroe:

So just quickly, you know, and I, I mentioned this in one of my, posts when

Val Monroe:

I, I saw the lost daughter and I looked at Ed Harris's face and he and I are

Val Monroe:

the same age and he looks like an older man, his face shows a lot of, of aging.

Val Monroe:

And I looked at him and I thought, God, he looks great and you, by no

Val Monroe:

means would you consider him beautiful on, by our typical standards.

Val Monroe:

But I was thinking if I could get to the point where, if I looked like that

Val Monroe:

and, and I'm, at this point, I'm glad I don't because I've, you know, done

Val Monroe:

more to my face , to prevent that and avoided the sun as much as possible.

Val Monroe:

Um, but I, that's where I would like to get.

Val Monroe:

And so the idea of needing to feel like you must feel like

Val Monroe:

you're beautiful no matter what.

Val Monroe:

I think it's a bit of a challenge.

Debbie Saroufim:

I appreciate the, I appreciate the challenge.

Debbie Saroufim:

I'm with you on that.

Debbie Saroufim:

I guess just, just to clarify, um, I don't always feel beautiful,

Debbie Saroufim:

but I think culturally we have.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, culturally we have tied beauty and power together, so I don't always

Debbie Saroufim:

feel beautiful, but again, that's when you say, when you say you look

Debbie Saroufim:

at yourself and you're like, well, I don't, I don't feel beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

At least not according to these Eurocentric standards.

Debbie Saroufim:

It's the asterisk, right, that you're talking about, it's according to these

Debbie Saroufim:

Eurocentric standards, which means that you're sort of in that moment

Debbie Saroufim:

buying into the Eurocentric standards.

Debbie Saroufim:

And there are plenty of times when I do two and plenty of times when I look

Debbie Saroufim:

at my face and I'm like, oh gosh, I just remember when this used to be like

Debbie Saroufim:

higher on its own and all sorts of stuff.

Debbie Saroufim:

And sometimes it really bothers me.

Debbie Saroufim:

And then sometimes I can look at it and I can say, you know, the only

Debbie Saroufim:

reason this bothers me, is because I was told it should bother me.

Debbie Saroufim:

I actually don't mind this like, curve to my face.

Debbie Saroufim:

I guess where, where I'm gonna push back on it is just saying that you

Debbie Saroufim:

don't have to feel beautiful, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

You don't have to feel beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

Feeling beautiful isn't the key feeling.

Debbie Saroufim:

Recognizing your power and your value is the key.

Debbie Saroufim:

So many of us associate that with beauty, which is why I say you don't

Debbie Saroufim:

have to feel beautiful to be beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

Right?

Debbie Saroufim:

We.

Debbie Saroufim:

All God's creatures.

Debbie Saroufim:

We are all beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

That is not up to a certain size or up to a certain weight

Debbie Saroufim:

or up to a certain age, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

I also don't think beauty is what matters.

Debbie Saroufim:

But I do think that if we recognize the reason it doesn't matter is because we

Debbie Saroufim:

are all actually on the same level, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Not one better than the other, than we're able to sort of tap into the value

Debbie Saroufim:

that you are feeling and talking about.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, so.

Debbie Saroufim:

. I appreciate the challenge.

Debbie Saroufim:

I hope that clarified some of it.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, but I, I think it's a real que I think it's an important question, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

Like what does beauty matter?

Debbie Saroufim:

We have been taught day in and day out since the day we were born.

Debbie Saroufim:

The beauty is one of the most important things in the entire world, and it is a

Debbie Saroufim:

reflection of what kind of person you are.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, and that's like when you say it out loud, damn, that.

Debbie Saroufim:

Bleak.

Debbie Saroufim:

Um, and so many people then aren't allowed to reach their full potential

Debbie Saroufim:

or feel their full potential because they don't meet certain criteria.

Debbie Saroufim:

Again, that's a limited viewpoint, right?

Debbie Saroufim:

So what happens if we know that, When we say beauty is in the eye of the

Debbie Saroufim:

beholder, that's not really true.

Debbie Saroufim:

That gives the power to the person who's seeing you.

Debbie Saroufim:

What if beauty just exists?

Debbie Saroufim:

And if the beholder is lucky, they get to recognize it.

Debbie Saroufim:

Right?

Debbie Saroufim:

And then that's like a whole different power game.

Debbie Saroufim:

This conversation was so compelling that we actually went long.

Debbie Saroufim:

And our next episode we'll be featuring the second half of this conversation.

Debbie Saroufim:

So a few things that really stuck with me were.

Debbie Saroufim:

Mirror meditation and this idea of looking at your face.

Debbie Saroufim:

Sitting with that discomfort.

Debbie Saroufim:

reaching a point of.

Debbie Saroufim:

Seeing it not with any judgment, but just for what it is.

Debbie Saroufim:

And the second takeaway that really resonated was Debbie's repeated

Debbie Saroufim:

insistence, how you don't have to feel beautiful to be beautiful.

Debbie Saroufim:

And I think that distinction is so important.

Debbie Saroufim:

Oh, and I guess I have a third one, which is.

Debbie Saroufim:

It's important for us to inform ourselves and our daughters about

Debbie Saroufim:

why beauty culture exists and why it has such a strong hold over us.

Debbie Saroufim:

Why we think certain things are pretty versus not pretty, why we think beauty

Debbie Saroufim:

should look one way versus another.

Debbie Saroufim:

And really try to get media literate, dig deep, and think about how

Debbie Saroufim:

we exist within this environment of these messages that are.

Debbie Saroufim:

, Influencing our thoughts.

Debbie Saroufim:

To learn more about Debbie Saroufim visit www.bodyrelationship.com and follow her

Debbie Saroufim:

on Instagram @bodyrelationship_coach.

Debbie Saroufim:

You can also check out her parents guide for what not to say to

Debbie Saroufim:

your kids in the show notes.

Debbie Saroufim:

If you want to feel happier about your appearance, especially as you

Debbie Saroufim:

age, you might like reading more about what Val has to say about it.

Debbie Saroufim:

You can subscribe for free to how not to F up your face at

Debbie Saroufim:

valeriemonroedotsubstack.com.

Debbie Saroufim:

Thanks so much for listening.

Debbie Saroufim:

Again the second half of this interview will be featured in the next episode.

Debbie Saroufim:

And until then, if you're interested in more From the podcast around beauty.

Debbie Saroufim:

Diet culture, body positivity, and other topics.

Debbie Saroufim:

Visit knowberaisethem.com or follow @knowberaisethem on Instagram.

Debbie Saroufim:

And here's to strong women.

Debbie Saroufim:

May we know them?

Debbie Saroufim:

May we be them?

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