Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The campaign for real beauty

Isn't it IRONIC that Dove, a cosmetic-based corporation, should start a Campaign for Real Beauty? We've all seen the ads. They've been on air for a while now.

Defining Beauty
Many a time I've found myself asking whoever created these "guidelines" for beauty. Who said that having a 26inch waist was ideal, or the oval-shaped face was most desired by women. When did the perfect profile mean a straight nose, perfect chin, no double-chin, etc etc. Can you define beauty in your own words? Shouldn't beauty, literally, be in the eyes of the beholder? If you argue that that statement still holds true, why do we have women being categorized into "cute", "hot", "gorgeous", "sweet, but not sexy", "ugly", "unattractive"? Or even men being rated as "geeky", "hot", "hunk-ish"? Shouldn't you be deciding who looks a particular way, and not using the rules set down by commercials, products, magazines, music divas and peers to make a conclusion? But why draw a conclusion on someone's outward appearance? If we were all born blind, would it matter? Would we still go to a website and rate women?

On the Picture
Look at the picture. Do half of the women in the world look like this? Let's get real. A trip down to the nudie beach can be quite eye-opening if you think women look like this most of the time. But yes, according to the numerous campaigns, these women are a step-down from the runway models. Most real women wouldn't pose in underwear for a beauty campaign. BEfore I forget, courtesy for this picture goes to Dove's website, who's image caption was img_curvy_girls (which I believe says image of curvy girls). So now curvy is the new "in"? What about a bunch of those who look, well, not curvy?

Beauty and Race
If beauty can be defined, so can race. As I mentioned above, if we were born blind, beauty would hold no importance to us. The same way, if we were born colour-blind, no one would give jack about a person's race (to a large extent). Racism arises from the discrimination against one's race. Discrimination against one's "beauty" or appearance would be called... ? We don't have a word for it, of course. Racism is rebelled against in most places around the world. They say it cannot be tolerated. They say the person experiencing such a behavior becomes upset and is effected mentally and emotionally. Since God knows when, race has been an underlying cause for most of the wars fought and has sadly, taken many lives. But is that statistic as alarming as people dying from anorexia? Does a comment, "Who'd go out with YOU?" take an emotional toll as a similar moderate racist comment? So I say they're similar. One is already being addressed all over the globe by caring individuals who live by example. The other is being done by the forerunners of beauty promotion.

Re-defining Beauty
Is it not time to embrace people for who they are, for the ideals they stand by and move on from this superficial world we've created? After all, they are like us. They grumble to go to work so early in the morning, they go to schools, they come back home, eat dinner and watch TV like the rest of us. But the only difference between them and the others is that they were born in such a way and which, is beyond their control. They were not born with the "B gene", the beauty gene. So they resorted to the options offered by society, and tried to fit in with the people they saw on a flat-screen. They still weren't satisfied. So once again, they fell at the merciful hands of cosmetics, surgery, etc. A couple people out of a million were satisfied by the end of it all. They WERE the perfect homosapiens, with el natural looking looks that fooled others. But what they didn't realize that in the process of fooling the world, they were fooling themselves. The world loved them for who they were not. The world wanted a Marilyn Monroe, a Jackie Kennedy, a Paris Hilton, a Salma Hayek, a Beyonce. The not-so-perfect people conformed to become like one of those women, in the process losing any originality that would have come with age. Were they happy? That is a matter of personal consciousness. Were the majority happy? No. Was the world happy to learn about the truth at some point in time? Definitely not. The world called them liars. Not Monroe or Hilton. The world put on a halo and everyone became angels, prophesizing real beauty. They campaigned for real beauty in the day. But they were back to their true, shallow selves by night. It took too much energy to change the world. It was no point starting with themselves, when the world would not follow. After all, what can a small group of people believing in re-defining beauty do to bring change? The world would see it as a passing phase.

Read Isabella Mori's Carnival of Eating Disorders. It's truely enlightening with references to many more people's thoughts.


Moi said...

now that wud be an ideal world!!! but we don't live in one....:)
"Real beauty" is again a personal some it's skin deep while to others and i know tons of them, it goes deeper than that!!!

Moi said...

Sharing a parable from Khalil Gibran (borrowed from another frd's blog)

Upon a day Beauty and Ugliness met on the shore of a sea. And they said to one another, "Let us bathe in the sea." Then they disrobed and swam in the waters. And after a while Ugliness came back to shore and garmented himself with the garments of Beauty and walked away. And Beauty too came out of the sea, and found not her raiment, and she was too shy to be naked, therefore she dressed herself with the raiment of Ugliness. And Beauty walked her way.

And to this very day men and women mistake the one for the other. Yet some there are who have beheld the face of Beauty, and they know her notwithstanding her garments. And some there be who know the face of Ugliness, and the cloth conceals him not from their eyes.

PS: Did you notice that Gibran has portrayed Beauty as a 'her' and Ugliness as a 'him' :)

Mia said...

True! Its a personal perception alright, but very few go with their instincts. The society's "image" is applied in most cases.

And I love Gibran's quote! :) Thank you for sharing it Swati. Women are definitely more beautiful ;) We know that, don't we! haha

Random said...

we certainly and very certainly do agree that women are more beautiful. and let me know what you think of this...

also...naughty naughty...dont spend too much time at nudie beaches.

2lrbl said...

:)... Well, true beauty is in the beholder's eye, but it is also true that there are certain parameters that are constant as far physical beauty are concerned. These constant parameters arise from the fact that our body can instinctively recognize a healthy person. Physical beauty was meant to be a reflection of physical health. It is too intrinsic to humans, and not recognizing this might be a bigger problem than solely basing yourself on it...

On the other hand physical beauty is something that loses its charm with time, because as we learn more about a person we see the person more clearly, in a different light... So I believe there must be a healthy respect for physical beauty and its attainment, but as with everything in life there is a balance...

isabella mori said...

great post!

by the way, i think the word you were looking for is "lookism."

the comment insinuating (in jest, i am sure) that going to nude beaches is "naughty" is very interesting. in my experience, in countries where being maked is more natural than in prude north america, anorexia and problems with body image are a little smaller.

3ng1n33r said...

Hi 2lrbl!

I agree with you. People need to respect a person's health when it comes to beauty. But what concerns me is that not many healthy people are considered "beautiful". A lot of the people on the ramp and on the silver screen are far from being healthy. But the media and a lot of us love them for that. We form images of "beauty" from such personalities and that I believe, is unhealthy.

Thanks for the comment! I appreciate you giving the matter some thought :)

3ng1n33r said...

Thanks isabella! :)

Interesting word and concept... lookism? I just googled it and it seems like they have a word for my post! Yeah, I was trying to joke when I talked about nude beaches... but I was trying to send across a message there too. You seem to have pinned it. You see, when it's perfectly okay and in a way liberating to go to nude beaches in certain countries, people DO see others in all shapes and sizes and they KNOW how the world looks. And not the most amiable and personable people need to have six packs. I believe that's where people see beauty in things other than physical appearance.

I'm glad you touched on that one :)

3ng1n33r said...

LOL... maybe you need to join me on a trip to a nude beach Ravin ;) It's true enlightenment! As is your poem. I love it.

If I may share it here for whoever reads it...

Beauty is grace
Beauty is eloquence
The mind that grasps is beautiful
Refinement is beauty
The nurture of my mother
The bearance of my father
Laughing with my friends is beautiful
The smile is beautiful

Thank you for that. No idea how I miss so many wonderful posts of yours. :)