We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Price of Beauty

I saw a commercial for Jessica Simpson's reality show The Price of Beauty and the idea intrigued me so much that I have just watched the first two episodes online. Having grown up in a South Pacific culture but now living in the US, being constantly bombarded by images of how people in mainstream fashion believe I should look is deeply unsettling. I've never had 100% positive self esteem, but the messages being machine gunned down my throat on billboards, TV and even radio are sometimes overwhelming and have me questioning what I believe beauty to be. Do I believe something is beautiful because that is what I think, or because that is what has been dictated to me as beauty? I don't quite know the answer to that question, but I'm slowly sifting through the rubble in my mind to find what I truly think about beauty and about what I believe is beautiful about myself. Now, in the past, I've been frustrated with Jessica Simpson and her tendency to appear airheaded at times. There were a few moments in the first episode where I thought she was being disrespectful, but she admitted she was wrong (which doesn't change what happened, but oh well) but the idea behind the show has some merit. At least, I believe it does. Instead of the all around exploitation of other reality shows, this show is trying to teach something. It really makes me stop and think about the preconceived notion of beauty. All around the world there are different standards of beauty. Most cultures see another culture's beauty standards as bizarre, but is peer pressure at fault in all these instances? Did someone somewhere decide something was beautiful and everyone else just jump on the bandwagon without asking why? I don't know. But it makes me reconsider my perception of beauty and strengthens my resolve to find inner beauty and not put so much stock on outer beauty. I still like my makeup and girly clothes; I just want to remember that I'm me with the same intellect and talent and compassion whether I'm all gussied up or not.

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