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Light breathing: Mother’s Day dedication


Once The Beatles sang about Ukraine in one of their famous songs. They sang: “Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out. They leave the west behind.” I am proud to be a Ukrainian woman and I fell happy to know Ukrainian women are recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world. But do we really understand we are, and from whom we receive this respect and recognition in our everyday life?

What is beauty? “Once I was reading one of Papa’s books – he has scads of curious old books – and I read what a woman must have to be truly beautiful… Well, you know, there was so much there that I can’t remember it all, but, of course, it said black eyes, smouldering like pitch. Really and truly, that’s what it said: smouldering like pitch! Then, eyelashes black as the night, a gentle blush about the cheeks, a slender form, hands somewhat longer than the usual – you understand? A bit longer than ordinary! A small foot, a moderately large bosom, a calf that is rounded just so, a knee the color of seashells, sloping shoulders. I learned a lot of it almost by heart, it’s all so perfectly right! But the main thing, you know what the main thing is? Light breathing! And I’ve got it, you know. Just you listen how I can sigh… It’s true, I’ve got it, don’t I?” When I was a schoolgirl and was reading for the first time “Light Breathing” (a short tale of Ivan Bunin, written in 1916) of course I checked myself if I fit to this description. No need to say more, I stopped on “smouldering like pitch black eyes”, because I had green. From the whole description I’ve understood I had only a little bit longer hands and maybe knee the color of seashells (because seashells can be of any color).

Women and girls become desperate trying to meet all these standards invented by men. But in real these standards only show consumer attitude to women. There is no difference between, for example, food standards and 90-60-90 cm.

Every woman time to time reads female magazines, full of advertisement which is used to be sexist towards women portraying them as subordinate to men. Women’s bodies are used to sell products. These standards affect a lot on how men and women see female body. Girls exhaust themselves with diets, make breast augmentation, tummy tucks…

We live in the world of stereotypes. In ads women are often submissive, men are aggressive and dominate.

Paradox is that these stereotypes are false, artificial and don’t exist in real life, following them can only destroy. Women follow into depression because cannot reach perfect shapes, men become more aggressive to prove to themselves and to others that they are not less masculine than shown in ads.

Be smart and critical! Don’t allow others tell you what to do with your body and soul! Be light and confident, because there is beauty inside of every woman.

Happy Mother’s Day to all women in the world! Remember: the most important is light breathing!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Sarjo Camara Singateh's picture

good piece

Iryna, you are a real poet i Like this stroy



Iryna's picture

Being a woman

Thank you, Sarjo! For me being a woman means to see poetry in little things around me.

Greetings from Ukraine,

I absolutely agree, Iryna. There is beauty inside of every woman, and it's not to be defined by anyone. It is something we have to find within ourselves.

A wonderful friend of mine, an artist, created a video about beauty. If you have a moment, check it out:

Thank you for your words and inspiration.

Iryna's picture

Being who you are

Thank you, Kim, for the link. The video is amazing! And yes, I can say we all are people, we have faces, eyes, noses, ears... But each of us has something which noone else has. And this is very important to learn how just to be who you are!

Warmest wishes from Ukraine,

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