Monday, January 5, 2009

Not a catalog of faces

Standing in the bathroom staring at my huge face in the mirror (okay so my face isn't really all that big I am just so blind I have to stand really close to see anything) contemplating my pores my mind starts to play a "What if" game.

What if instead of the laws of beauty stating that we should have non existent pores it was the exact opposite. Instead of putting on special tightening creams with caffeine and very expensive unguents everyone would slather on a good tub full of bacon grease to give their face a gorgeous shine and really bring out those pores?

Sound a bit too far fetched? Well it was just a little over a 100 years ago that a flash of ankle was more likely to rile up the male blood than any amount of cleavage ever could. In the Elizabethan era women were spending hours to cover their faces in lead paints so they could be as pale as snow. Now they line the block to be spray painted the same golden brown as an oven roasted turkey.

The size that the perfect woman is supposed to be has changed so much as history shifts it's a wonder women haven't evolved into some sort of tall Gumby with boobs (check out this ancient fertility statue). Ever really looked at a middle ages or even Rennisance painting? Back then women were painted to have some fat and even the horror of horrors cellulite. Now we photoshop all that out.

Women were not told to shave all their body hair off until lagging disposable razor blade sales gave the blade makers an idea to open up their market.

Over New Years I caught a few old Twilight Zone episodes and one of them involved a society (that happened for want of a better term in it the year 2000) where every person upon reaching the age of 19 would be surgically altered to look like one of two people. It all opens with two women looking over a cataloge and the mother keeps badgering her daughter to pick one.

The daughter didn't want to do it, but she kept being told over and over "Don't you want to be beautiful?" "You don't want to look weird do you?" "It's for your health, don't you see?"

It's amazing how much those really resonate today. All too often people are quick to spout that you should do this or eat this claiming that it's for your health when really starving yourself so that you can fit into a certain size of pants is for one reason and one reason only, to fit societies ideal.

People who are in no risk whatsoever of suddenly dying from a heart attack or diabetes are willing to risk dying in a pointless surgery just to be a smaller size (and really ask yourself if only fat causes heart attacks and diabetes why are people of every size afflicted?)

It can be just as true the other way, women who are just naturally skinny try to eat way over what their body (we're talking 10,000 calories a day sometimes) can handle and wind up in the emergency room trying to get Scarlett Johansons curves.

What's so wrong with diversity? Why are we trying to claw and destroy each other in order to look as much like one of two people?

Well guess what, I am what I am. I am not going to curl my straight hair to appease society. I will not slap on face paint, a padding stuffed bra, or eat nothing but celery for a month just so I can blend in with everyone else.

I am proud of my weird little amalgam of genes that lead to what I am. I refuse to talk about any problem areas because; guess what, it's what I come with so like shag carpeting or a small garage you better just get used to it cause I am not going through all the remodeling to fix something that isn't broken.

Who is with me? Who else refuses to get duped in by the resolutions they flaunt of TV to change yourself so you can become one of the two options?

We're always being told by all the fashion and beauty magazines to hide our flaws, to do our best to mold ourselves to look like a society ideal (which no one, even those famous beauties in History, ever really acheives) and not be a square peg.

When we all look the same then no one is really beautiful.


AmyJean said...

BRAVO! it's so easy to fall into society's concept of beautiful - whatever it may be at the time, but i agree - diversity is awesome, and more than that. being comfortable in your own skin i think is the sexiest thing about anybody. A comfortable smile, translates to a beauty that no surgery can ever match... I love this post!


Linda said...

Amen, sister! I refuse to look like everyone else. Now I do look at fashion magazines and read about fashion as you know. But it's all about individual style. I like the way I look. If I like something I wear it.
We have to embrace each other's and our own beauty.

valerie said...

I try to tell myself that none of this stuff matters and to face it... I'm a fat, hairy, pale girl with wiry curly hair. And that's me. And there's nothing wrong with it.

I guess I should have been born in a different era. I'd be much sought after and painted, haha.

Anonymous said...

I'm so with you on this one (after years and years of being squarely in the other camp unbeknownst to me). Fantastic post!

Jennifer said...

YAY! Lovely post..thansk for the reminder and the horrors depicted with the Twilight Zone episode. Now I just have to try to rmember this as I face myself in the mirror in the morning!

Never teh Bride said...

Damn right!

Now if I can only convince myself. I'm one of those people who has no trouble seeing her friends as gorgeous... and my friends are aaaallll different shapes, sizes, and colors. When it comes to me, though, I'm still working on embracing diversity.

The Pissed Off Bride said...

Great post. Being comfortable in my own skin was something I struggled with for a long time.

I agree with AmyJean about the smile. . .

Cate Subrosa said...

Excellently written, Sabrina, and you are of course absolutely right. I particularly loved your last line: When we all look the same then no one is really beautiful.

Leslie said...

You know I agree with you 100%, but what triggered this rant now?