Modern society has something of a fixation with beauty. This has led to such bizarre things as “boob jobs” or cosmetic breast enhancements. Other women inject toxins like “Botox” into various parts of their anatomy to firm them up.
Whole magazine shelves are devoted to “beauty” magazines, and in recent times, they have been augmented by rows of magazines devoted to exercise. TV “infomercials” extol the virtues of this or that exercise machine for men or women, designed to perform miracles on a person’s shape for as little as 10 minutes exercise per day.
Somewhere there may be someone who is happy with their weight and body shape, but I doubt it. I know that I am not completely happy with mine, but I don’t obsess over it. Some people turn around it and strive in the opposite direction from the mean and try to become, say the heaviest man in the world.
None of this artificiality is beauty. If one measures a beautiful woman for example, one will probably find that the statistics of her measurements are well removed from the average. Miss Beautiful Woman 2015 is way down the bell curve in many ways.
Angeline Jolie, considered to be a beautiful woman, says:
I don’t see myself as beautiful, because I can see a lot of flaws. People have really odd opinions. They tell me I’m skinny, as if that’s supposed to make me happy.
If Jolie is not 100% happy with her looks, how can other women, with less of the physical advantages of Jolie be expected to feel happy with their lot? Of course most women are realistic enough to know that not all women can look like Jolie (or would even want to for that matter), but that doesn’t stop them wishing. Similar holds for men. Not everyone can look like me or George Clooney.
It is evident however, that there is not one standard of beauty (for men or women). Beauty pageants promote one standard of beauty, but films and TV promote another. Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. Though it is not usually considered to be a usual measure of beauty, body building is also all about having the best body.
There’s a double standard here, of course. People aspire to be beautiful, and to be highly regarded as such, but if someone goes out of his (or her) way to look at beautiful people, on the Internet, in magazines, all around them, it is rightly considered that there is something wrong with them.
So on the one hand you have people who want to be beautiful, and that is pointless if they are not seen to be beautiful and on the other hand you have people who are obsessed with beauty, which is unhealthy. Of course most people as is usual fall somewhere in the middle ground – they want to be prettier, but they wouldn’t go to the lengths of cosmetic surgery or Botox.
So you have people who go to the gym twice, eat a week and a half of “healthy” food and then relapse back to their usual ways. They then feel some degree of remorse, have some degree of acceptance, and maybe resolve to try again some time in the future. (It’s these people who the gyms make their money out of, not the enthusiasts who turn up week in week out!)
Some expressions of the search for beauty verge on the bizarre. In particular the “child beauty pageants” are disturbing and border on the weird. Very young children are dressed up and made up like adults with revealing costumes and perform suggestive actions and dances on stage. Costumes sometimes include fake breasts on children well under teenage.
I personally find these shows distasteful. It teaches mostly female children pretty much all the wrong things about sexuality. The parents of the children justify these shows by claiming that it gives the child confidence and often that the child is the one that is driven by the urge to compete.
All this happens in a world where parents are told to constantly be on their guard on behalf of their children. The message is that there is a sexual predator behind every bush. While the advice to be on guard for the children is good advice, is it true that there are a vast number of pedophiles out there?
It seems unlikely that there are more than there were in previous generations. It may be that there is more opportunity for such people as people these days know far less about their neighbours than previously and people do move about much more than they used to. Maybe this has allowed such people to. if not flourish, to become more of an issue.
Even so, I think that the pendulum has swung a little too far in the wrong direction. Sure we should keep our children safe, but it seems that parents are being targeted for innocent photographs of their children. It would be a rare parent who has not taken photographs of their children in the bath, and to think that taking such photographs is a sign of a perversion is perverse.
To parents, their children are beautiful, clothed or unclothed and while it not impossible that parents could be sex offenders in that way, it is probably very rare. I’d suggest too, that it should be relatively quick and easy to determine whether or not parents are sex offenders. Here is another article about the case of a family in England, in which the authorities explain some of their thinking in such matters.
In one case of beauty and the beast, the beauty and the beast are the same. I refer to the situation where a young lady dresses in a beautiful if revealing dress and proceeds to get very very drunk. There is nothing beautiful in a young lady throwing up into a bush or stumbling into the gutter, not to mention the danger that she is putting herself in by getting into such a state.
Obviously the fact that a drunken woman might be vulnerable does not in any way justify someone taking advantage of her while she is in that state. Nothing does.