Stef (firecat) wrote,

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some thoughts about appearance

The Beauty Myth via eve_l_incarnata: There's a lot of good stuff in this article, but I also have problems with various points.
The wishful notion that with enough time, money, effort and will-power any woman can and should attempt to look like an extremely tall, young, slender-yet-bosomy, Nordic blonde model of a certain facial bone structure more-or-less summarizes the prevailing beauty myth.
No, there's more to it than that. The beauty myth also says that a woman's personality can be determined by looking at her. And it says that no matter how a woman looks, she isn't to be taken seriously. Beautiful women are bubble brains, and ugly women are offensive non-entities.
A self-confident teen is a rarity in the U.S. Millions of young women suffer from chronic, health-threatening eating disorders. Some try to play the dangerous, often deadly game of becoming thin enough. Others opt out by stuffing their negative feelings with excessive, unhealthy food or deliberately making themselves less attractive. Some try to become invisible or even mutilate themselves in reaction to the idealized mold. No girl remains unaffected. 
There's some truth to this - there are a lot of teens with eating disorders. But somehow this paragraph implies that any young woman who is thin, or who is eating a lot today, or who is wearing loose-fitting clothes, or who isn't standing on the table with a lampshade on her head, or who has a tattoo or piercing is doing this because she lacks self-confidence. It's just another manifestation of "I can tell what's wrong with you just by looking at you - and no matter how you look, I'll find something wrong with you."
Girls with DNA not programmed to fit most of the highly improbable physical characteristics of the beauty myth just give up, often in depression. Even those who come closest to attaining the current "look" tend to magnify or imagine minor "flaws" and are often the least self-satisfied of all.
OK, so we've determined the beauty ideal is ridiculous, and now we're criticizing girls who give up on it? Actually, I agree with the suggestion that many women who come close to fitting the ideal tend to be more unhappy with their appearance than women who never came close to fitting it. If you know you'll never be a tall and willowy, you can get on with other things in your life.

(The rest of the article deals with the healing joys of social nudity in a rather simplistic way and can safely be skipped.)

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