By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I’ve long been a L’Oréal customer, and I’ve appreciated the range of colors and ethnicities of their spokeswomen. So much of the fashion and beauty industries are focused on the very young and very skinny (and very white), to the point that it’s still refreshing to see new role models who look like me and my peers—and who look like who I aspire to be in coming decades. This sends a positive message to girls and women, I think, that beauty comes in all sizes, colors, shapes, and ages. Brava!
The slogan I’ve long associated with this brand is “Because I’m worth it,” and I’ve always loved that message of strength and self-confidence. Spokeswoman, Susan Sarandon is quoted as saying, “It had to do with women becoming the masters of their own lives and decisions,” and again I say Brava!
I continued to read the brief article, egged on by the teaser: “So what does being ‘Worth It’ mean to Sarandon?” I wanna know, I wanna know…oh, crapamole! “(Hint: it involves motherhood).”
I’ve spent the past several years trying to determine for myself what is my worth, especially as I’ve grieved and healed, and grieved and healed some more while struggling to make peace with being childfree by circumstances. I’ve done my best to embrace that I bring value to the lives around me by being a devoted friend, involved auntie, and contributing team member. I’d pretty much convinced myself that my life has meaning even though I haven’t fulfilled society’s expectation that the only role women should aspire to and revere is motherhood.
Having put so much hope into finding a positive and uplifting message that accepts and celebrates every woman, I felt deflated by Sarandon’s response (and the brand’s apparent endorsement). Again, I am put in the heart-wrenching, possibly defeatist position of having to ask myself: “Am I worth anything?”
So I need your help today. In the Comments, please share with me—with all of us—how you define your worth. Let’s compile a list that helps us remind ourselves that we have something to offer the world, that we have value, that we are worth it—whatever “it” means to us.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.