Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Beast that is 21st Century Beauty

Last night I went to a well-known Essex nightclub and it made me think about current attitudes towards how we 'should' look. Of course, places like this, occupied by fake-tanned, skinny-framed, hair extensioned, made up to the nines WAG wannabes are at the extreme end of the spectrum. But they represent how extreme and fake our perceptions of beauty have become in the western world.

don't get me wrong, I love to get dressed up, slap on the fake tan, a bit of make-up and stick on the false eyelashes but there is a limit. When you and your mates start to look like a troupe of walking, talking dolls you know you've gone too far. The fake look is so unnapealing. Ask most men and they will say they prefer natural and curvy. But being bombarded with these images in magazines, on TV and even in our local bars and shopping cenrtres on a daily basis is bound to make a girl feel insecure and provoke thoughts of 'if I look like that will it stop my boyfriend from cheating on me? Will I be more popular? Will I feel better about myself?' When it seems that the society we live in nowadays is designed to make us feel worse about ourselves; Starve and exercise yourself to perfection, cover your natural skin colour in gravy coloured gloop or fry on the sunbed, your natural hair is not good enough; weigh it down with extensions, have a few unsightly lines in your forehead? Inject them with poison to make them go away for a few months. No-one will be able to tell when you're happy but who cares! When put like this our current ideas of beauty seem absurd. But this is the scary reality.

Where will it all end? Will our daughters be begging for face transplants from better-looking dead people for their 18th birthday? Will we enourage people not to smile or frown so they don't develop those awful lines which we simply can't have on our faces because God forbid we look like we've lived a life rather than stepped straight out of a box? I think things need to change and one of them isn't my dress size. Attitudes are all wrong and there are enough problems in the world without persuading people to invent 'problems' with their bodies. It's a cliche but everyone is different and we should celebrate these differences rather than trying to fit everyone into the same, flawless scantily-clad mould. Whose with me?

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