Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?

When you think of the ideal physical attributes that a man or woman should possess, who do you picture in your minds eye?

I would imagine it is unlikely that you would picture yourself as an example of physical perfection (although if you do, I greatly envy your self confidence!).  The simple fact is that there are very few people out there that meet the popular definition of beautiful.

The usual suspects in a situation like this are the Angelina Jolie’s and Scarlett Johannsen’s of this world…..those that I like to refer to as “the beautiful people”.  But what makes them beautiful?  And are they truly born more beautiful than the rest of us or it is cosmetically assisted beauty?

It is no secret that Hollywood – in fact celebrity in general – is riddled with surgically enhanced physiques, and it is getting harder to find a natural beauty in amongst the sea of nose jobs, boob jobs and eye lifts

What worries me is that with all of the surgical intervention that we know is going on, how can teenage girls benchmark themselves against this beauty in anything other than an unrealistic way?  I am a grown woman and I find myself occasionally judging how I look against the ideal woman.

Fortunately I am grounded in reality enough to realise that I am never going to match up these days – I mean if I wasn’t all that when I was 22, I am not likely to transform into a siren in my mid-thirties now am I?!

I have toyed with idea of cosmetic enhancement – sadly I was not as blessed as I would have liked in certain areas – but I have always shied away from it on the basis that although what I have isn’t quite how I would wish it to be, it is at least, my own!

Russell in a skirt (wouldn't say that to his face!)

Then you have the consideration of personality versus looks.  I believe that looks are only part of what makes a person attractive.  For example, if you have someone who is absolutely gorgeous – total perfection – but they have a mean spirit – would you find them more than superficially attractive?

My favourite example of this phenomenon is Russell Crowe…..bear with me!.....I loved Russell in Gladiator.  I had a huge crush on him after that film and thought he was so attractive it was ridiculous.  Then he allegedly punched someone.  He did successive interviews where he appeared to be sullen and grumpy and self-obsessed.  And my love was gone.  Personality (as perceived through the media at least) was horrible, therefore his beauty was no longer visible to me.

Aaah....Bless him!
Then you have someone like Steve Carrell.  Not the world’s most handsome man – more quirky and funny I would say.  But he seems to be such a nice man, and he is funny, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Therefore if Russell and Steve both wanted to take me out (and my husband was open to the idea – which is never going to happen!) I would choose Steve.  Every time.

So what we need to do is try and encourage young women to understand that there is more to attraction than how long your legs are/how big your breasts are/how skinny you are.  I don't know how we can achieve this in a world where magazines and movies thrust the idea that beauty is everything down our throats at every step, but at least we can take some small consolation in the fact that as these young women grow older, they will come to realise that often it is worth looking a little further than skin deep when deciding how truly beautiful a person is.


Panda said...

AMEN!! I with more people would think like you. I know way too many girls who are and have been and always will be obsessed with how skinny/boobs/nose/hair nothing is ever good enough, but i wish they would look inside of them and ask the same questions.
Is my heart pretty enough? would i be my friend? is there something more i can do?

Great post!! i am sharing.

Livi said...

Very well said! I must admit I am one of those insecure girls, always have and am always trying to move past that. Its hard...i always wonder where I got that from cause my mom or sister arent that way. Great post!

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