Glossy Covers: The wisdom of one mum

Glossy Covers: The wisdom of one mum
Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco
 The subject of a recent Sunday Life beauty feature, 'How old are these women?', Debbie Oates, 38, who refuses to get Botox, gets my Mother of the Year vote for her comment

"It's harder to lose weight now I'm older, but I don't obsess about that or my wrinkles. I've read research on the effect on children of what mothers say and do, so now I'm a mother of two girls, I am very careful. I want them to be naturally happy with the people they are. We don't talk about weight; we talk about healthy choices.
So I'd never get Botox, no way. I'd never consider that. And there are other ageing products out there I've not even heard of. I cleanse and moisturise and exfoliate when I have time. And I wear tinted Cancer Council sunscreen every day. I'm no expert on beauty regimens. I'm conscious of the fact I'm going to age but I'm happy to do that gracefully... Ageing is something that happens to everyone. I don't think there is anything we can do to stop the ageing process and I'm happy to keep living in the body I've been given."

Does that give you spine tingles, too? It is truly a compassionate, courageous act of selfless love: a willingness to accept and embrace one's flaws in the face of a world that tells us we should be physically flawless so that others might benefit from our outlook on life.

Of course, we shouldn't berate, shame and name women for conforming to societal beauty standards; that would be beside the point. It's the beauty standards, and the means by which they are projected, not individual women, who we should be paying attention to, while celebrating that which defiantly says, "There is a better way", and being completely and utterly honest about the pressures we face and decoding why we are facing them. This is not a solo battle, it affects all of us, because the more discontent women are with themselves, the more they will project onto others... including their daughters.

What part can we all play in ensuring women feel better about themselves every single day? For me, it comes back to the confidence to be found when one's inner being is sound, when she has an assured sense of her self-worth not defined by fleeting worldly standards but the idea that she is worthy of joy despite her age/beauty/job/relationship status, which enables a woman to be selfless in her treatment of other women because she wants what's best for them too. Hence, my sympathy for editors whose personal beliefs and practises might conflict with the agendas of their publications, but my continuing determination to bring those practises to light until they're put right, and by supporting those publications who are ahead of the proverbial curve.

Girl With a Satchel