At the risk of sounding completely self-absorbed or vain, I’m going to put this right out there as I see it. I was considered a Pretty Girl growing up, getting regular praise for something completely out of my control and not of my core self — and as a result, feeling strangely uncomfortable about it from a very young age on. Maybe I didn’t totally believe it, or more likely I saw it as a very small window of “opportunity” relative to my lifetime, and so I actively and deliberately chose to work on developing my personality, sense of humor and personal growth in multi areas. I expect(ed) a lot of and for myself (as my mother drug-pushered onto me:) owing to my talents expressed as action of not hard but smart work. But enough about me. This is what I think about us.
Today’s self-indulgent yet self-hating vanity looks a lot like some sort of ‘50s, Stepford Wives, The Rules backlash to my Feminist 2.0 eyes. Let me be clear I am not against any cosmetic surgery if the person is doing this only for themselves and after real deliberation, and research and comparison (i.e., doctors’ Before/After computer renderings). As I believe myself to have stated clearly above, I’m all about enhancement and improvement! But our celeb culture shouts loudly that looks count. Only. So what do your lips, cheekbones, breasts and even your butt say about you? Do they say you are stylish, rich, sexually desirable, or insecure and dissatisfied? With the plastic surgery numbers as high as they are and only growing, it appears as if many Americans believe what our looks say about us is far more important to work on than what our personality — and its engine, our character — does. And more than ever, people are asking their surgeons for Angelina Jolie’s juicy mouth, or George Clooney’s strong chin, and reality show superstar Kim Kardashian’s bountiful booty, without any regard to appropriateness/fit at best, and distortion and the risk of psycho-emotional and physical pain, at worst.
Here’s the 411 for anyone unfamiliar with the recent Kim Kardashian-wannabe fan Twitter incident.
While Kardashian’s speedy response was lauded by (if not surprising to) many, and no one seems to dispute this fan is suffering from a scary case of SWF-syndrome, with a heaping tablespoon of low self-esteem folded into the mix, the CNN reporters‘ vapid so-called “debate” is truly what’s disturbing to me.
I would expect such insipid questions and this sort of trashy arguing on the Insider (with its shit stirring tag line, Which side are you on?) and ET but this faux Cross Fire exchange is only insightful to the very, very young or people with A.D.D. Can’t allegedly real news outlets fulfill their duty to be more responsible to their viewers by offering a more insightful look at the disturbing underlying cultural trends? I know how the business works but must it completely fail itself and us so often? No wonder the once-venerable (the Smart not Pretty Girl from the block) CNN is failing.
Again, they were pseudo-debating this “story” not “subject” — there’s a big difference, and it ain’t pretty so it doesn’t get much air time — its upshot is that our culture doesn’t promote real and sustainable self-esteem born of the work and achievement of inner beauty of average (that’s most of us, folks!) people (especially those of the beleaguered female gender). In fact, it’s deeply economically incentivized (fashion, cosmetics, elective surgery industries, et al) to perpetuate the beauty myth instead. And when you have a culture that values looks over character then is it any wonder more and more dissatisfied people behave as though they can buy happiness? …Sigh!…Then again…beauty does count to us mere humankies. What’s my diligent self-care when I feel overly consumed by someone’s looks over their talent, words, or real merit? It’s spirituality to the rescue for me as I run my deep breathing, clarity exercise imagining a beautiful glowing and white light of Truth running through my 3rd, 4th, 5th, the will power, heart and third eye chakras, and connect that light to their heart. And then I am more able to open my ears to the messenger.
What trend or subject(s) show you that our culture seems to dissuade developing actual self-esteem in girls and women? How have you found the beauty industry to be an ugly enabler of shallowness than to enhance one’s true confidence? Which news sources do you count of for a more in-depth, balanced look at our culture’s trends/our psyches?
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