Beauty Devolution

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. Coco Chanel

Okay, so you may or may not have noticed but I tend to work around quotes I genuinely like and feel personally attached to. Well, not in this case. I absolutely hate this quote. Now, apart from the fact that I’m still fairly uncertain what “classy and fabulous” even means to most people, it bothers me to no conceivable end that young girls all over the world put this up as their Facebook motto’s and Twitter descriptions. In my personal view, a girl shouldn’t be “two things”, she should be whatever (the hell) she wants to be. Also, and no offense to Coco – who I’m sure really did mean to help advance the status of women from being mere housewives to having the right to feel like actual people -, but do we really believe that this quote is so popular because it makes young women feel better?

Taken from popdust

I’m not going to write a piece on just how much pressure is put on women to look beautiful, because frankly I think we’re in no way more affected by society’s ridiculous standards than men are. Only yesterday, Glen Poole for The Guardian stated how nowadays boys “as young as 10 are beginning to worry about their body image”. Ten, for crying out loud. Basically, the article speaks of the fact that, although it is true that women are still more commonly affected by eating disorders, the problem is no longer confined to just them. Men’s perception of their bodily flaws may differ in content from the worries of women, but all in all “extreme perspectives are damaging to both girls and boys transitioning into adulthood”. Extreme perspectives of what men (strong, successful, tall) and women (slim, flawless, sexy) should be.

Now, I sort of agree with Poole that “being a success symbol (or a sex symbol) in the game of relationships will always be a driver for young men and women”, and I also concur with his belief that we should nonetheless try and find ways to make young boys and girls (and millions of adults, for that matter) “feel happy in their own skin”. But how are we going to do that? How, in a society that is already so fundamentally driven by artificial standards are we going to tell our children that it’s okay to be “who they are”, without enhancements? Ironically, today, Jessie Cole (also for The Guardian) pointed out that “formidably intelligent, beautiful 31-year-old” people, in this case her friend, are already getting botox. Their faces, she says, have much less expression, are somewhat shiny and appear (emotionally) impenetrable. Is it any coincidence that people like me have lost all faith in perfection when what we call perfect today, doesn’t even really exist?

Taken from RedLips HighHeels

The same goes for at least about a thousand youtube videos. Young girls who show other young girls how to plaster their face with just about enough make-up to hide every single flaw they might have, and preferably even change their facial features. After all, it’s a cheap alternative to plastic surgery, right? But hang on a minute, what’s happening here? Of course, we all know our beauty standards are ridiculous, but when everybody gives into them so easily, where will we end up? Is the beauty of the future a perfectly symmetrical, flawless face? Should we all just get an appointment with our plastic surgeons straight away, to make sure everybody comes out looking exactly the same? Or should we control beauty by birth and only let the most genetically perfect human beings procreate?

At some point, we’re going to have to realize that all these media images we’re competing with aren’t even real. Botox, photoshop and starvation can have a marvelous effect on many a model. But … is that really the kind of beauty we want to have? The kind that will always tell men and women all over the world that they’re “not good enough”? The kind that makes young ten-year-old children hate themselves? The kind that enhances quotes like “a girl should be two things”? Well, girls and boys all over the world, you don’t have to be anything specific. If the media’s fake image of reality is the only thing that’s “good enough”, then by all means, feel free to not be good enough.

Taken from Happiness Project

Because if we start reducing ourselves to being two things (classy & fabulous or successful & tall), we forget that we’re over a thousand different things, and they’re all worth exploring. What this world is, well … that’s not for any of us to change. But what we are, how we perceive ourselves, who we want to be? That is, and the less people cave in, the less imperfection will stand out. In the end, a human should be one thing: human. All else … is bunk. And, just because I found it very inspiring, listen to this girl – she has something very deep to say that makes the shallow surfaces of our modern perceptions on beauty remind me of one of my favorite Ally McBeal quotes: “You put the fish in the superficial!”.

Well, in that case? This fish’s saying: so long and thanks, but I’m not going in that dish!

Woman is sold to women … while doing what she believes is preening herself, scenting herself, clothing herself, in a word ‘creating’ herself, she is, in fact, consuming herself.Jean Baudrillard

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3 thoughts on “Beauty Devolution

  1. I believe ‘Classy’ is a very suspicious word at the best of times – people tend to associate class with money and to my ‘morality’ (I guess), the classiest people place money low on the list of their priorities. And as for beauty, I will always find the person who is less obsessed with how they look the more attractive. Keep up the great posts.

  2. Thanks a lot Marc! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my posts. Also, you’re quite right in saying that there’s often an implicit association between class/classy and a money-driven image (although I opted to call it a media image, what you’re saying is of course a very big part of it). I just hope we can all learn to like ourselves for who we are, and not only for the way we change and adapt ourselves to the most standardized of standard images. We’re human, that makes us beautiful and, in my humble opinion, it’s more than good enough.

  3. Yes indeed. If everybody lived up to the media-driven definition of ‘beauty’ or ‘classy’ or ‘fabulous’ – can you imagine what a boring place the world would be?

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