Are you beautiful?

Do you ever wonder if any women are happy with the way they look? Is it even possible? The cosmetics industry and traditional fashion media would have us think that the answer is no; after all, they make their money playing on our fears about our appearance -- and offering us salvation in the form of eye cream and skinny jeans.

Believe it or not, women who are happy with the way they look exist. I know, because I'm one of those women. There are more of us out there than you'd think, but it's something people don't like to talk about. Why? Because it's socially unnaceptable to admit that you're happy with your looks. Because it opens you up to criticism. (I wonder how many of you are going to Google looking for pictures of what I look like? Don't bother! I never said I was perfect. Just that I'm happy -- which I am.)

Am I alone in this? Please tell me that I'm not.

When I hear women bond over how much they hate their looks I wonder if I'm from another planet. I hate it when I hear a woman complain about her crow's feet or cellulite. Oh, I know what the acceptable response is -- I know that I'm supposed to reply with something that I hate about the way I look -- I guess so that the other woman can both feel better about herself and then come back with another supposedly hideous part of her body, and on it goes until we're both wallowing in pools of self hatred and pity.

Well, I refuse to play this game of negative one-upmanship in the name of female bonding.  So if you complain about your looks in front of me, don't expect a pity party. It's not happening.

I was inspired to come out of the contentment closet by Sally from Already Pretty:
A woman who loves and accepts herself should never fear being ostracized for her acceptance. And a woman who struggles to love herself should never see a woman who already loves herself as a threat.

I constantly ask women to cast off their self-focused negativity and accept their own beauty. But it would be equally beneficial to encourage women who have ALREADY accepted themselves as gorgeous beings to say so. Aloud. Declarations of self-admiration and bodily-love are brave and inspirational acts, not indicators of conceit. And we who struggle should acknowledge them as such.

I know of at least one famous woman who knows that she is beautiful and who's not afraid to admit it. I love Gabourey Sibide's response when Harper's Bazaar asked her where her confidence came from:
It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn't have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it's your home, and ... you must decorate it.

She's right, of course. But tell me, who do you think is more likely to achieve great things beyond looking pretty -- a woman who thinks like Gabby or a woman who criticizes her looks every chance she gets?

I thought so.

I leave you with this thought from Yvonne from Joy Unexpected:
Embrace the body you have now, ladies. If you're not happy with the way you look and you want to lose weight, then do it. BUT! DO NOT STOP LIVING in the mean time. You deserve to enjoy your life whether you're 110 pounds or 300 pounds.

Life is good. And life is short. Don't waste a minute of it.

Do me a favor: Tell me something you like about the way you look. Don't be shy! I'll start! I like my hair; it is brown and shiny and I don't have to do anything to make it look the way I like. I love it!

What do you love about you? What makes you beautiful?

Roxanna is a BlogHer Contributing Editor and this post originally appeared on Blogher.