[Article first published on October 10, 2012.]
She’s the ultimate tall, gorgeous, California girl turned super-elite model. She’s a young entrepreneur, blazing her own trail in the cut throat business world of design. She’s sunny, happy, generous of spirit, kind and sweet. She has a blissful home life with her rock star boyfriend.
She’s Courtney Bingham – also known in the digital world as Your Go To Girl for Everything Fabulous – her website is chock-full of beautiful, glamourous design ideas for home decor, entertaining, fashion and beauty, presented in a fun, cost-effective and yes, fabulous way. [Check it out, I’m especially enamored of this tip for enhancing chandeliers. ] She also designs her eponymous line of glamorous swimwear coverups, Coverups by Courtney. So, yeah, she’s awesome [I’m hoping to wrangle an invite to her epic Thanksgiving dinner party – she not only makes a mean centrepiece, but she’s also a stellar cook & hostess! ].
Knowing Courtney’s background in the world of international modelling, Courtney and I began a dialogue about the messages that the fashion and beauty industries, along with the media-at-large, are disseminating about external beauty versus inner beauty. Now, full disclosure here, I know Courtney through her boyfriend, Nikki Sixx, and I know that, while Courtney is undeniably beautiful on the outside, she is even more lovely on the inside – which is why I invited her to participate as a Contributing Editor for Different Is Cool on just this topic of media imagery of beauty.
If you’re a regular DisC reader, you know that we are striving to refocus media attention towards stories about all the incredible people in the world who are non-conformists – for whom critical thought trumps blind acceptance. We see people as worthwhile because of their contributions as humans, not simply because of their looks or celebrity. Through our articles on the outliers, the futurists, the imaginators, the radicals, the provocateurs, it is our dream to eradicate prejudice and blind judgment and for each of us to see the good in everyone.
Which brings me back to Courtney – whilst doing research for some relevant topics to provide to Courtney for future articles, I was alerted to a startling, but sadly not surprising, amount of internet babble about Courtney’s figure – and, through further digging, an alarming trend of hurtful commentary involving just about every female celebrity on the same topic. Courtney is 5′ 11″ and has a top model’s figure, meaning, she is slim by all standards of the term. As a public figure, there are numerous articles written about her and making note of her physique as “slim” or “thin”, which is to be expected. What I did not expect, however, were the comments on these articles, mostly by “anonymous” posters about Courtney’s figure – I won’t repost them here, but they were unkind in tone and content.
And then, oddly enough, on the same day that I find the masses weighing in on Courtney being too thin, I find numerous articles about Lady Gaga being too fat [with links to previous articles about her being too skinny!]; and then a few days later I come across the now-infamous video of an American television reporter outing a viewer for sending her an email about how she was fat and irresponsible.
Here’s the video of the reporter’s beautiful and moving response to the unkind viewer’s email:
I find it so sad that we, as a collective, are reducing people to one, or two, word labels about their appearance.
And I’ll say that I am guilty of it too – I find myself watching actresses on television & film and making a mental note about their weight and appearance. It’s become a worldwide pastime, passing judgment on the appearance of others. And it’s a disease. I use the word disease because when a person harshly judges someone else, particularly on appearance, the person doing the judging becomes weaker. Yes, it’s undoubtedly hurtful to the person on the receiving end of the unkind remarks, but it is also damaging to the person making the remarks.
Should we be surprised at all that children, teens and young adults are participating in bullying, when they are simply repeating the behaviour that we adults teach them?
As you may know, the awesome people at DoSomething.org have designated October as Anti-Bullying Month, targeted at young people, to eradicate bullying. I say “woohoo!” to that and I also say, let us all stop, before we harshly judge anyone else, to recognize that every time we do, we hurt ourselves, we make ourselves smaller, weaker and lessen our abilities to understand that all people are on their own personal journey and that the majority of people are truly doing the best they can, each and every day. Imagine what we could do with that energetic potential, if we all used it to create positivity? The possibilities for goodness in our world would be endless…
Let’s expand ourselves in kindness and compassion – and See the Good in Everyone. We’ll be so much happier….I know I’m happier already.
Stay tuned tomorrow for our first interview with Courtney – an eye-opening piece about the modelling world and how she cultivates her inner self to bring joy to her world every day.