1st April 12:39
The Social Conceptions of Beauty (diet crisis heart jaw weight)
Thanks to Sandra for sending the following article...Myrl
The Social Conceptions of Beauty
I look in the mirror, and I'm not happy with what I see. I don't have
"perfect" measurements, or an "all-American" face. I look in the
magazines, and all I see are girls with the blonde hair, blue eyes,
and, of course, a cute little button nose. They're on the outsides of
the buses that I take home, the television programs I watch, and the
billboards I walk under. Almost every adverti*****t I see promotes this
human physical "perfection". These billboards not only tell
me what to drink, but also how to look. I mean, how many five feet,
four inch women, with freckles and stringy hair do you see on
adverti*****ts? Does this mean I'm ugly?
Our society tends to place more importance on a person's physical
beauty, rather than their ability, integrity, and character. We have
influenced women to go through painful surgeries and starve themselves
to become this socially constructed physical ideal. To be a beautiful
women in the nineties doesn't mean that you are a brilliant doctor or
caring mother. It doesn't mean that you can play a violin gracefully or
run a marathon. Unfortunately, beauty is a "Baywatch lifeguard". It
means you have the perfect jaw structure to compliment your almond
shaped eyes and full lips. It means you can be six feet tall and weigh
one hundred and ten pounds.
People go through many obstacles to reach this ideal weight. For
example, to keep in shape, people diet, jog, rollerbade and bike, work
out in a gym, and even take pills. There are also more drastic measure
that people take to reach this goal. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are
two ongoing diseases affecting our society today. They occur mostly in
young women. Anorexia Nervosa occurs when a woman starves her body.
Recently, it has been found that these women starve
themselves to get control over their bodies. Bulimia occurs when a
women stuffs herself, or "binges", only to vomit it right up, or
"purge". A lot of models have been known to use these tactics for their
careers as well. As a matter of fact, a whole show was done on MTV to
show this way of life with which models have become aquatinted. There
is even a web page on the internet, under Calvin Klein, that tells the
stories of these models he used and the diseases they suffer
from to achieve this "look."
But what about the women who are starting to leave their prime? Instead
of looking at aging as a sign of wisdom and maturity, we attempt to
reverse the aging process. It's kind of ironic to want to look eigh****
when your fifty. Fifty is a relaxed age, where for once you can step
back and look at all you've accomplished. It is when your hard work
pays off. Unfortunately, our society just sees you as "old" and
"incompetent." To reverse the aging process, women buy wrinkle creams,
do eye lifts, mini tucks, and face lifts. They spend thousands of
dollars to win the inevitable battle against age. I mean, on my
mother's vanity alone, there has to be at least six different creams,
each promising to make her skin look "healthier" and "tighter."
The people who don't meet society's requirements of "beauty" also try
to correct their "ugliness". For example, in my high school alone there
must have been seven nose jobs a year. It actually became the "in"
thing to do. I also put procedures such as hair dying, eyebrow
plucking, and mustache waxing into this category. Most people are
guilty of at least trying to change one thing about themselves. I am
not trying to say that it is wrong, but finding depth in a person is so
much more satisfying.
I have proved to you that the society we live in has an obsession with
beauty. But who actually tells us what beauty is? The ideas that define
beauty have changed so many times. From year to year, clothing styles
change. One year leather pants are in style, and the next they're not.
If you wear them in season, you are the hottest thing, but if they're
out and you wear them, you are mocked. In a way, by dressing in the
appropriate style, one can hide their "ugliness" under clothes.
The preference for particular body types changes as well. Back in the
fifties, if a woman was a size one, she was thought of as sickly and
frail. Back then, men wanted women with big breasts, curves, and hips.
Marylin Monroe was the ideal size. In the nineties, it is just the
opposite. You can never be too skinny. Kate Moss is our ideal woman. We
look up to a woman who is "skin and bones" and who looks like a heroine
addict. There is a famous model, Gia, who died of AIDS and admitted to
taking heroine. She would stick the needles between her toes and finger
to disguise the track marks. This is the type of woman that we aim to
look like? Isn't there something wrong with this?
Personally, I think that whole perception of beauty is a scam. If you
think about it, transforming into a "beauty" costs money. Whether it be
spending thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, or five dollars to
wax your eyebrows, beauty costs. The whole idea of clothes being "out
of style" is another scheme in itself. There are so many things I have
given away to charity that I could still wear. Some of the things were
practically brand new, but the thought of wearing out
of date clothes bothered me. I mean, how could I be seen wearing last
years outfits? We have reached a moral crisis in our society, that has
to change. It should be individuals who decide what beauty is for
themselves, not the advertisers trying to sell us their products.
It's unfair to say that we don't respect women for what they have
accomplished. I mean, most people do have role models out there who
have affected their lives. The point I'm trying to bring out is that we
need more of these role models who make us better people, rather than
better looking. Everyone knows what a terrific woman mother Teresa was.
She helped so many people in her life and gave so much of herself that
no one cared about how she looked on the outside. Mother Teresa was not
up to "model standard," as I recall. I don't even think one could see
her eyes with all the wrinkles covering them. But the point is no one
cared. She reminded people to care about others. Her heart surpassed
I remember when I was about thir**** years old and going through
puberty. I had braces, greasy hair, and a half developed body. I hated
the way I looked. I used to cry to my mother all the time, but she
would just laugh and tell me that "you don't want anyone to like you
for your appearance. It's your heart that matters, because beauty
fades." I knew that she was right. I just never really understood it
until now. You see, if you work on you heart enough, people will start
to see the beauty in you. That is the type of beauty you want them to
see. This type of beauty lasts and lingers on even after you die.
Mother Teresa was able to accomplish this, but not to many can. You
see, not too many know the secret of true beauty.