Friday, October 30, 2009


“No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” is the phrase that ends the very brief video below. And I apologize if you’ve all seen this before, I know it's a few years old. But I hadn’t seen this before yesterday, and I found it pretty compelling.

Take a quick look:
(How nice to have such a quick and painless eye job!)

Of course we all know that models in fashion magazines are airbrushed and that the actors (hell, even news anchors) we see in the movies and on TV have on an inch of makeup and a bottle of hair spray, but the constant barrage of physical perfection still does something to our psyches. Does it not?

As we get older, it has less and less of a pull on us, but it can be so devastating to younger people, especially girls.

Seeing as I have three girls, this is something I’m going to have to contend with more and more as the years go on. It’s just beginning with my third grader, who is only 8 years old -- it seems so young, doesn’t it?

But in a 2002 study, fifth graders, so we’re talking 10-year-old girls and boys, told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show "Friends.” (They’re 10!)

Another 2002 study reported that teen-age girls who viewed commercials depicting women who modeled the unrealistically thin-ideal type of beauty caused adolescent girls to feel less confident, more angry, and more dissatisfied with their weight and appearance.

Angry teenagers with low self confidence, sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it?

Of course this ideal of physical perfection is not going to dissipate, and I’m not suggesting that I’m going to take up some anti-media crusade, but it does give one pause and is sometimes good to remember how toxic unattainable beauty and body image can be.

So I'm going to throw out the fashion magazines, turn off MTV, and simply enjoy my Halloween candy, or maybe some donuts.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Ach. Depressing, isn't it? I'm just glad I'm not a teenager any more. Or in my 20s. Or 10.

Thoughtful and interesting, Beth. Me? I'm laying off the donuts, which don't tempt me, and heading straight for the wine bottle.....


Me, You, or Ellie said...

You innocent types aren't the only ones suffering. It's not easy being beautiful and envied like I am. sigh.

Where are those milky ways?


Anonymous said...

What's the big deal? Even after all the photoshopping, I still wouldn't do the girl in the video. What has the world come to when we have denegrated the unattainable to the mediocre? What kind of message are we sending our young daughters??

Kathi D said...

It is so sad that even the most "perfect" of the beautiful models is not perfect enough. Hell, anybody could be a supermodel, since they Photoshop the pictures anyway. As I get older, I actually pity the girls that are known for their beauty. It must be so hard for them to face getting older and "losing their looks." Better to be the smart one, or the funny one, or the eccentric one--you can keep being that one until the day you die.

Hsin-Yi said...

As a young Asian-American teen, I had a really hard time with the idea of beautiful. When I was growing up, there were no Asian models, and I remember being in 6th grade and looking in the mirror and being disappointed at what I saw. It was disheartening because I knew that I would never be able to pull off blue eye and blond hair (unless I wanted to be an Anime character). I tried to stop looking at the magazines that my sister loved, but it was all around me.

One of the nice things about getting older is that we learn to love ourselves. Your daughters have your support and encouragement. While they will assuredly have moments of doubt about their physical appearance, they will also know that they are loved. As they grow up, they will be able to see just how beautiful they are.

This is how we gain our true ideas of beauty and it makes it a bit easier to stop stressing about nose jobs and big boobs. Most of the time anyway...

Me, You, or Ellie said...

You rock, Hsinny. And you're beautiful. *And* I miss you.