Do you think about beauty? Apparently it is a huge issue in the Twenty- First Century. I was at a children’ dance show and children were putting on make-up and videoing themselves. They were going to share this video on social media. It is this perfect image that concerns me and it seems like many others also, as in a BBC news article a blogger talks about her relationship with beauty and what happened when she took off her make-up and showed her skin. She received abuse and people told her she was ugly. Is this right?
I had a similar experience as a teenager, but mine was the issue of dark, thick body hair. So should girls who have gone through puberty have body hair or not? At school, I was showering after swimming and one of the other girls stared at me and pointed at my legs. She said, “you’ll never be a fast swimmer with such hairy legs. Don’t you know how to remove body hair?” I didn’t say anything, instead I run in to my cubicle and dried myself as fast as I could and got dressed, so I didn’t have to face this girl again. But her words played over and over in my head. Why did I have such hairy legs? How do you remove body hair? I was going through puberty so life was incredibly confusing and I didn’t know what way to turn. I knew that my Mum had body hair but I didn’t feel like I could talk to her. I went through lots of different ways of removing body hair from waxing, where my skin bled; buying an epilator with money I had earnt from chores and babysitting, which also made my skin bled and was agony; and then the type I use for over a decade – a razor, this was not free from pain, as I use to cut myself by accident and I would walk around with pieces of tissue on my legs. Why did I and these other women feel they had to remove their body hair?
I believe the Western societies have a fascination with the pre-pubescent female form. This is why a woman is more beautiful if she has no body hair, no wrinkles and a pert body. Why do we believe in skin deep beauty? Is it because of TV and our shallow appreciation of a human being? Is it because the media bombards us with perfect forms? A fashion model gave a TED talk about her perception of looks and she believed it was the legacy of her genes that were chosen over generations. I think this is incredibly brave of her to talk about and it would be great to watch if you are interested in beauty. However, why don’t we talk about other important issues that I have raised in this blog and I believe make me the woman I am today.
What has happened to valuing other parts of the human form? In this TED talk, the image of beauty is challenged, as only part of a human beings contribution. Meghan Ramsey identifies other areas of self that needs to develop such as education, family life, and hobbies rather than focussing on appreance. From my knowledge of other cultures, the female form is recognised at different stages in her life for her role as a mother, a carer, an enabler. I believe this is starting to be lost and it worries me. This issue was recognised by Helen of Troy, when she said, ‘if only I could shed my beauty and assume an uglier aspect, the way you wipe colour from a statue.’ (see exhibition at British Museum, London). So in the 21st Century where should the issue of beauty stand?
I want to think about what beauty is for? From a basic instinct perspective, beauty is use by numerous species to attract a mate and select the fittest partner to ensure the survival of the gene. However, humans are social animals and so beauty can be part of choosing friendship circles, especially if skin deep beauty is your main indicator for a friend. Moreover, humans have created markets for trading goods and services and I believe beauty can shorten transaction times, which is the ultimate goal for an entrepreneur. However, I think this misses an issue about the emotional language of humans
I believe I have beauty within because I trust my emtions. This allows me to watch a man cry and hold that sadness. It enables me to face the joy and heartache of life with equal strength. My eyes have been opened to the beauty of human beings emotions and our ability to connect and reach out to each other.
This is for Kevin. Thank you for showing me how to live.