The tide...it is a changin’...and I applaud companies who have started to recognize people with disabilities for the beauty that is within them and on the outside too! Real people facing real issues, like for instance: being teased, taunted, and made fun of as the punchline of someone’s joke. But now, a new opportunity arises for them. Public awareness of what they can do! Whether it’s a being model, an actor, an author or an athlete, the list is endless! For a moment in time, allowing the disability to fade away, and being treated with the dignity they deserve. All too often, the emphasis is placed on the outer beauty, and the inner beauty is ignored completely. If a company is promoting feeling good about yourself, and they use a model who possesses outer beauty, yet is known to be self-centered and ugly on the inside, how in the world can you expect to believe anything that they say, and how can you truly feel confident in what you see? The actions don’t back up the words. Can that person really be considered a role model of what true beauty is? Similarly, it becomes obvious that the models used today, while beautiful on the outside, lead lives that offer no example for young people with challenges to look up to. Unfortunately, we’ve been trained by advertising to believe that beauty is only on the outside. While outer beauty is a precious gift, it can be unappreciated by those possessing it, and the inner beauty needed to make it real, hasn’t even been considered as the most important factor.
But, when you feel beautiful on the inside, the outside beauty bursts out! I remember when I was a little girl, I would sit outside the bathroom door while my mom would put her make-up on and I just marveled at the the end result! She would highlight her eyes with vibrant colors and use the eyelash curler and mascara to add the drama. A little bronzer here, a little blush there, and voila! It fascinated me to see how she could enhance her beauty by using make-up. The outside beauty of my mom now matched the inner beauty she has always possessed.
People with disabilities have incredible inner beauty, as well. And that makes the outer beauty burst out, but many times people lose out on seeing that inner beauty because the person they see in front of them doesn’t fit the mold of what they’ve been taught to think beauty looks like. The reality is, people with disabilities are beautiful.... and you, by encouraging that beauty can help bring it out! How cool is that? You are a part of helping them realize their own unique beauty and TRULY embracing it!!!!
Let’s face it, when going into the doctor’s office our parents heard the diagnosis and we all fit that “look” to a tee, masking the beauty that is in us....making us feel inferior, resulting in a self-esteem that is completely burst! Plain and Simple: It should NOT happen! When people realize that, it may be a small thing to most people, but when we see someone else’s true beauty and then help them see it too, its a big deal to them. Their image in the mirror becomes most of all beautiful to them!! A True Role Model Indeed!
Michelle Fischer is host of A View from My Window, A podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana
***This article originally appeared in the Fall 2012-13 issue of Unique Me Magazine