The Beauty Myth
You've seen replicas of the Mona Lisa. Did you ever notice that she is ugly. I don't mean no disrespect to a heralded piece of art. I just happen to think it's fascinating that back then a woman's face that was not "pretty" could have been considered so mesmerizing. What was it about her that was considered so beautiful? They say it was the look in her eyes.
I wish we could go back to a time where the look in your eyes could determine your physical beauty. Now we are obsessed with size, and breasts, and the perfect nose. It's possible that human beings have always been kinda superficial, but now that we have the mass media telling us what we "should" look like, it's a lot harder to feel like you personally size up.
If you are a woman and someone ever told you that you were "pretty," it was probably one of the most important compliments you got, especially when you were growing up. If they dared to use the word "beautiful," well that is the jackpot of human worth. Especially for a woman. As the Counting Crows sang, "We all want something beautiful, man I wish I was beautiful."
When I was a girl I loved hanging out with black men because they loved Indian women, they thought I was beautiful and told me so. Indian boys and other ethnic boys, I generally find, liked Indian girls as well but weren't as vocal about it. But I remember in high school I had crush on a white guy who said he was not attracted to girls who weren't Caucasian. I don't think sexual preference counts as racism, but I felt like shit when he told me that. I didn't measure up to the pictures I saw in magazines and in my school's year book.
Now, as an adult I know a lot of white guys who are attracted to Indian women. In fact it is starting to matter less and less as the years go by, what color you are. It has become fashionable as of late to be "exotic."
In India fair skin is considered beautiful, maybe because of the British Rule, maybe it's been happening for centuries, there is much debate about this issue. I happen to have fair skin, but I would personally be offended if someone found me attractive simply for that reason. Yet I want to be considered beautiful just like the next woman. So what is it exactly that I want? For someone to not be attracted to me because or in spite of my skin color.
I did feel beautiful before I gained weight, now I feel less pretty. My body has never measured up to size four standards. Yet I'm blessed nevertheless to have a descent face. I still wish I looked better, it's sad but I would like myself better if I looked better. If I was thinner. My own self love is based on some strange standard that makes no sense.
It doesn't make sense that thinness is a symbol of everything good. You would think that a little fatness would be considered wealthy or something, you have money to eat. But nowadays, fattening food is a lot cheaper than healthy food. You have to have money to get thin.
A man once told me that men are taught to hate their bodies as well in this new culture. The man's body is supposed to be not important, it's the woman's body that is the focus of attention. Woman are given messages that their bodies must be a symbol of beauty, whereas men are told that their bodies are not capable of gorgeousness.
Although everything I'm saying is exaggerated, some men are even as concerned about their body image as women, and vice versa. Yet, women are put in this situation where they have trouble loving themselves if they don't fit particular beauty standards. In the fifties, these standards were more laxed, I've heard that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12. As Hugh Grants ex-girlfriend, what's her name, said something like, "God I would never let myself get that fat," after buying Marilyn Monroe's dress.
Today the standard of beauty is not usually humanly possible. It's a rail thin woman with huge breasts, no wrinkles, a perfect nose and a perfect ass. And I haven't really mentioned all the other standards that go along with this.
My own standards of beauty for myself can be harsh. People wonder why I don't put pictures up on facebook or on my blog. It really has more to do with vanity than insecurity. I look terrible in photographs, something happens to my face when you put it backwards like the camera does. It's freaky. I would rather you imagine what I look like.
The things we do for beauty. We remove unwanted hair from our ENTIRE body. I even want to lazer it all because I'm tired of having to get rid of it. But in my religion, some of my Sikh sisters believe that we are supposed to keep all of our hair. I have great respect for them because they have given up vanity in order to follow something they believe in. They haven't succumbed to the MAN-made notion that women are hairless.
Essentially I am a slave to this notion as are many of my girls. We women take great pains to look like some kind of weird non-animal. Like a statue or something. All because men allegedly are very "Visual Beings." If I hear about how men are so visual one more time, I will croak.
Hopefully I won't throw up though, like many of my sisters who throw up their food in order to remain thin. Some of them starve themselves to the point that they need to be hospitalized
I personally don't have the same standards of beauty for men as I have for myself. I've liked men who are not aesthetically pleasing, I've fallen in love with men who just had "something about them" instead of traditional good looks. I like to think I fell for their charming minds or even their souls. I like to think I have depth.
But the truth is I'm genetically designed to find a mate who can financially take care of me, hence the reason I like men who are intelligent, even brilliant. Men are genetically designed to find a mate that will make healthy beautiful children or something. I don't know if I really buy or get it.
I do know one thing though, if I had a superpower I would like to become invisible. I'm tired of the visual game. I have been invisible before. My father is blind due to a genetic disease. In his presence I have been at times more real and more myself than in front of anyone else. I am a being with thoughts and feelings to him, not an object to be looked at. I know that almost every woman doesn't feel like an object in front of their father, however I think it's more pronounced when your father can't judge you physically in any way.
Although my father tells me everyday to go to the gym to get healthier, but I still feel slightly, oddly, like he knows only my insides. He really truly loves me for who I am.
We could all be like this you know. We could all close our eyes for minute and not look at each other, just listen. Not worry about our zits and wrinkles and fat. Now I have to worry that may hair may grow grey soon.
Getting older for a woman is especially hard, although it's hard for everyone. Luckily I look young, knock on wood, but won't always look this way. I will become wrinkly etc. At some point, if I'm lucky, I will be a grandmother. Then I will have to only concern myself with being loved for who I am as a person.
I'm gonna start now though, trying to love myself for who I am, not the size of my dress. Elizabeth Hurley, I just remembered that woman's name who said Marilyn was fat. Elizabeth is a strikingly beautiful woman but her boyfriend still had an affair with a prostitute.
So why are we going through all these pains anyways? Again, we are being controlled by something other than our true nature.
Our minds are being controlled by a Myth.
The Myth is Mad. And it's very Bad.