My friend Rosie has challenged me to post five photos of myself on Facebook in which I think I look beautiful. Now, being me, I have overthought this, and become conflicted about it so my thoughts are best explained in a blogpost, I think. Forgive me, Rosie.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, and when the beholder is me I a) can’t help searching for the flaws, which clouds my judgement of the bigger picture and b) I feel really odd posting pictures of superficial beauty. After all, don’t we tell each other that true beauty shines out from within? That it’s not how you look but how you behave, what you DO, that counts?

Of course I have always believed this latter principle and I think it’s certainly worthwhile emphasising it, especially to our children, but I have documented at length how, in the past, my anxiety to be regarded as “serious,” has got in the way of me putting my best foot forward. In Paris, where we lived for two years, Best Foot Forward predominates and it’s a Good Thing because being appropriately turned out does give one confidence to face the next challenge. Making sure you are well presented is viewed as a sign of respect for the people you are meeting and they respect you in return. It isn’t superficial at all and it works. I’m glad that the offspring have picked up on this and that they haven’t, as yet, limited themselves to grungy misery for fear of not being taken seriously as people.

Further I feel that there is no conflict between being a feminist and liking and wearing nice clothes and make-up since feminism is surely about being who you are and not being oppressed for your choices that don’t adversely affect other people. As far as conforming to patriarchal norms go, I more or less live in jeans and leggings when I am with my dogs, and I’m even seen in public without make up occasionally. It depends how I’m feeling at the time and what is appropriate. Above all, it’s my own choice.

I digress. My response to Rosie is to post these 5 pictures. I hate having my photo taken as I’m self conscious about all sorts of things but these 5 are, I think, reflections of inner calm and purpose. I think they are beautiful – and I feel ostentatiously self-conscious even applying that word to them – because I am doing something that makes me happy. And therein lies beauty, perhaps?

Thank you Rosie. As I understand it, this project is supposed to increase our self confidence and our willingness to put ourselves “out there.” Let’s just go for it.