This morning as I read one of my blog subscriptions: Deep Thinkings, Friday Question: What is Authentic Art? I started thinking. As with art beauty is a deeply personal concept, perceived and defined differently by each individual. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yes? Well this thought would not leave my head and kept growing.
Who are we to judge one another, and to weigh what is considered beautiful or ugly? Why are we so hard on one another? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Who sculpts our minds, creates our perceptions? What is beauty? What is beauty? Really… what is it?
In 2011, Dove® released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older…
Now I do not actually use a lot of Dove products and am in no way promoting any specific brand… I also want to state however, that I appreciate the direction Dove has gone with its advertising and wish more companies would follow suit. Promotion of all ages, sizes, colourings – hair, skin, etc. is important because they are all beautiful in their own ways. I also have to state that I find Dove’s reported statistics sad and troubling; I have to wonder why girls, and women, do not think they are beautiful. Why do we feel so much pressure to obtain an immeasurable thing? Even resorting to surgeries in order to obtain what we feel we do not have? And who says we don’t have it? Who taught us to loathe ourselves and our physical attributes? Why do we allow ourselves to fall prey to such thinking?
I will be the first to admit that I myself have body issues (they are getting better but I have a long way to go). I have had children, I am getting older, my body has changed – not for the better. I have been a poor example of self-image to my daughters, sighing, poking, prodding, hating… But through it all I have always held that in my own way I am beautiful. It is not a vain thing, I am not God’s gift to man, I do not ‘strut’ around (that would actually be ugly) but I am unique, and genuine and I believe I have a simple beauty – which is just as much inside as outside (maybe more). But apparently that puts me into a rare category of only 4% of women. That is so very sad. (And I have to wonder if my body issues nullify what I believe?)
I also have to wonder if guys are as hard on themselves as women are as this is not something we hear a lot about, and I am not aware of many advertisers or studies that have focused on male body image/beauty perception (or should that be handsomeness perception?).
Seabird – Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful