Lady Serendipity did a post on UPN’s America’s Next Top Model, and it has prompted my post on the overall concept of beauty in the modern world.
In the 18th – 19th Century, beauty in women was measured by their Voluptuousness evidenced in artwork by several famous artists (think DaVinci, Picasso … not quite sure of their names – I was never good at Art). Women were painted with wide hips, large bottoms and breasts the size of grapefruits. These women were considered the most beautiful at that time. As culture has evolved, beauty is now measured by how thin a woman is. Note, that men are not measured with the same yardstick as women – the double standards we live with.
It seems that models – both beauty and fashion – have been getting thinner and thinner with each passing year. I’m surprised that we can still see them! The portrayal of beauty by magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, etc. has been the cause of trauma in many teenage girls who have turned to a life of Bulimia and Anorexia in at attempt to be “beautiful” by society’s standards. There have also been reports of suicide by girls considered “fat” by their peers.
As a plus sized woman (and a very sexy one if I may say so myself), I have observed friends battle the bulge in every way from dieting ridiculously to bulimia to becoming addicted to jogging. I was once accused of being Anorexic and I could not see how this could be possible given my weight. I have a weird stomach and a weird appetite. I can go days without eating simply because I just don’t feel hungry. And then there is a time when I’ll eat a good healthy meal! I have been on a drive to eat more healthy meals and try to exercise but it is primarily with a view to being healthy. Losing weight in the process will be a bonus for me. Ideally, I would like to lose 40-50lbs and while I may still be considered “fat” if I achieve that goal, I will be totally comfortable at that weight (don’t even think I’m gonna tell you what that is). However, I love myself so much and am happy with the way I am. It’s me and if I don’t appreciate me for who I am, then no one else will.
I learnt a long time ago that you should not judge a book by its cover. My post “You Can’t Tell By Looking” spoke of one aspect of this. It is not rare that you come across a person who is not beautiful by society’s standards but has the most beautiful personality you have ever come across. I’ve experienced this personally. The popular saying is that people who are physically challenged in whatever way try to make up for that deficiency by having a wonderful personality. Whether this is true or fiction is up for debate. However, how many times have we met someone of the same or opposite sex, who is physically beautiful by society’s standards – for a woman, it means having stats of 34-24-36 and for a man it is being tall, dark, handsome and muscular – and these people turn out to be the most annoying, disgusting, arrogant, obnoxious, bitchy person you have ever met in your life? I’m sure we can all say more than once. It is my belief in some cases that persons who are considered beautiful thinks it gives them the right to take advantage of others, belittle them and treat them in a condescending manner. If they think that makes them beautiful, in my eyes, that makes them more ugly than any person they think to be so.
What needs to happen is that persons who are not “living up” to the expectation of society by virtue of their appearance need to say to hell with the world! They need to have a high level of confidence, self esteem and love themselves for who they are. It is only when we love ourselves that others will love us. By being “comfortable in our skin” we will maintain a level of sanity and happiness to survive in this double standard world that we live in.