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Beauty or Bust-ed Girls

by Diane Wininger


Until just recently, I had been feeling very low, dispirited, and out of control of my life. Within a period of 90 days I managed to get laid off twice from two different companies. The first, while preparing to close out a year of probably record profits, "downsized," giving me two whole days notice before my job was to be officially terminated. Then, last Friday a new company that I was just about to start working for went virtually bankrupt, resulting in mass firings. I was beginning to lose hope.

I knew that I wasn't the only one out there who was down on their luck. I am just one of the 90,000 North Carolina women that are out of work. But things aren't even so auspicious for many of the 1.6 million women who are currently employed in this state. Although 47% of the workforce are women, they comprise as much as 66% of all minimum wage positions and have an average yearly income of $10,700.

The meager status of women's wages, combined with the escalating costs of housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and all of the consumer goods and services, have encumbered women throughout the state with a huge financial burden. Over 1 million women do not have health coverage and due to large shortages in health professionals across the state, many more are finding it nearly impossible to get adequate maintenance and preventative care. Twenty-five NC counties don't have OB-GYN care. This is occurring at a time when North Carolina's increase in breast cancer death rates is the greatest in the nation and our infant mortality rate is equal to that of underdeveloped nations.

Now let me clarify-these were the problems that I saw plaguing North Carolina's women. I am relieved to say that after being preoccupied with such trifling inconveniences for so long, I've finally seen the light. This week, just as I was approaching the bank to cash my last paycheck, I discovered her! There she was, sitting right there in a bundle on the street corner beaming at me with her bright and colorful cover, so full of warmth and promise. Ladies, it was at that moment that I found our beacon of hope, the latest issue of Carolina Woman.

Her bold title and description, "The Magazine for Women in the Triangle" screamed, "Hey, this is for you! You're a Carolina woman who lives in the Triangle! I want to address the issues that women like yourself are dealing with."

As I began to leaf through it, I've got to tell you, it was like instant clarity. All this time I had completely missed the boat! I felt rather silly knowing that before I found Carolina Woman, I was worrying needlessly about money and work and health care and stuff. I never realized that I had it all wrong! It was actually so simple, I could attain complete happiness and control of my life if I just changed my physical appearance!

To be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed at first. I knew that I had a long road ahead of me before I would satisfy their prescribed beauty standard. I was probably 20 pounds overweight, had at least 15% too much body fat, still used makeup from five years ago, and hadn't shaved in months. Worst of all, I had no engagement ring!

Fortunately, because of the incredible resource of beauty tips, products, and treatments that Carolina Woman supplied, I felt like I had a strong support network and a feasible starting point. The ads and articles were so encouraging! First they identified the problem for me-that I was overweight. Then they told me how overweight makes me feel. "Overweight hurts. You feel the pain every time you look in the mirror. You can't escape it. It's there for the world to see. Now you can do something real and genuine about it." It was with this ad that I learned how through hypnosis, I could effortlessly shed pounds while fixed in a trance state.

In an article comparing indoor fitness equipment, I learned that $1,200 is the maximum I should spend on a motorized treadmill. Whew! I thought they were going to say minimum! I also learned that prescription appetite suppressants can make losing weight a lot easier! But Carolina Woman also informed me that if I preferred to go the non-medication route, I could join Weight Watchers and they'd even waive the registration fee! See, it's all about choices.

In the column titled LOOKS, Lisa Skolnik instructed me on how to achieve the longest possible shelf- life for my makeup. Although cosmetic companies forecast their products will last a mere two years (with the exception of mascaras and liquid eyeliners), I learned that if I "hone my powers of observation" in terms of product separation, flow, and consistency, I can make my makeup last indefinitely! Carolina Woman has clearly identified with our economic struggle by offering such penny pinching strategies.

Finally, I learned that I needn't look any further than Durham to find my "FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH." At the Cosmetic Surgery Center on 1110 West Main Street, I have nothing to lose by getting a free consultation on laser resurfacing and liposuction. With the use of dramatic before and after pictures, Raleigh Dermatology Associates showed me what a difference a little tummy tuck could do for a gal with an unsightly bulge.

To give you an idea of just how devoutly emphatic Carolina Woman is in helping us look better, I'll give you a categorical breakdown of her column inches. Nearly one-third of the magazine is devoted to health, beauty, diet, fitness, appearance, and plastic surgery. That's approximately ten times the amount of space they rendered to Career. Parenting was even less important as it received 2 1/2% of the total magazine space-which trailed even the Horoscope column. The Community expose, highlighting the achievements of various women in our area (boooring!), came in last place with a mere 1.6%. These priorities established by Carolina Woman have really helped me to get my life on the right track. I am eternally grateful for her infinite wisdom and invaluable guidance!

To those of you who may be thinking to yourselves, "How can I afford to be a Carolina Woman on my salary?, I want you to entirely change your attitude about beauty. But before you can do that I want you to gather up all your so called feminist empowerment magazines like Ms. and Bust, and throw them in the trash-better yet, burn them! They're filled with negative propaganda aimed at converting you into an angry victim. Have you ever looked at some of the women in those magazines? They need to spend a little more time at the gym and a little less time worrying about some trailer park trash living in nowhereville, USA who's scraping together her food stamps to pay for another bag of Cheeto's which she'll need to build up the strength needed to stave off the gun toting pro-lifers on her way into the abortion clinic.

What you ladies need to realize is that making an investment in your outward appearance is making an investment in your self-worth. It's never just a nose job...a weight loss plan . . . a makeover-it's unleashing a whole new you that you never knew existed! I want you to look in the mirror and scrutinize every inch of your body and ask yourself why you have inhibited your potential for so long with that pear-shaped figure, those stretch marks, and spider veins. How long will it take for you to realize that you deserve just as much happiness as Kate Moss? Aren't you worth that $500 a year membership to the gym, that $1,200 treadmill, that $5,000 laser surgery? Can't you afford to love yourself?

I thought so. So join me and the countless other women who are keeping the billion dollar beauty industry alive and well. You can start by picking yourself up the March issue of Carolina Woman where you will learn how to look your best in time for Spring Break. You go girl!...and don't come back till you've got the ring!
  Diane Wininger has finally reached her goal weight of 90 pounds. Please send your congrats and latest lipstick trends to dlwin@mindspring.com  

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