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Essay: Has society crossed the line for beauty?

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  • Published: 6 October 2015*
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Is beauty really skin deep or are we programmed a certain way? In today’s society, are we sending the wrong message to women and children about beauty standards? Is there a level that can truly be met? We live in a world where we are judged based on physical appearance, however has that stigma always been there or is it just the media?
Looking into the simplest forms of beauty propaganda, we would have to consider beauty pageants, and how women are shown and depicted as being beautiful. Women who enter are put up against each other, and put through a series of tests and sexual ogling. Women are paraded in their underwear and swimming suits in front of millions of people and are judged, for how they look in them. That is not showmanship; it goes on the basis of how sexually appealing they look in them. It pins women against each other, and only shows women’s outer beauty. They’re put on display like a piece of meat. Weight comes into play because no one’s ever seen a size sixteen contestant, unless it is a plus- sized competition. That’s just biased, putting women in different categories. Verging into a more extreme version of the beauty pageant is the one for little girls. These pageants are for girls aged six to eight, however girls as young as four have entered. Just like the adult pageants they have to go through tests that showcase their talents. Wearing full faces of make-up and short revealing clothing and swim suits. These children are being sexualized at an extremely young age. Should toddlers be allowed to be shown off as prizes, based on who’s the prettiest? It is going to be creating emotional and psychological problems in the long run. It is creating a false identity, that perhaps their looks are the most important part of them. Also, anyone with a television screen can look and can watch. There are pariahs out there. However one of the biggest points for competing in a beauty pageant could be the national pride, and being a part of a larger community. It showcases women’s talents and attributes, not just how women look. They are also competing to win a scholarship, to become more educated in the long run. Beauty pageants for the younger girls can allow them to grow, and bond in a group setting. Additionally, they can learn to take care of themselves at a young age. The biggest part of the beauty world is up keep with health and fitness. Being a part of these events lets the participants have a chance to win prizes. It also enforces their showmanship as they have to accept that they will not always be a winner.
Sex sells. It’s in the media; and is plastered all over magazines, and there’s nowhere to hide from it. It does not help that when you turn on a music video, and you see half naked women shaking their assets in little to almost no clothing. It’s becoming an epidemic, and influencing new kinds of sexual promiscuity. We now live in a world where little children are exposed to these types of profanities. Reality shows like ’16 and pregnant’ and ‘Jersey Shore,” promote the wrong kind of behaviour towards adolescence.
“2% of adolescents have had sex by the time they reach their 12th birthday’ – (Viner 2013)
Little children and teens are being influenced and they are mimicking behaviours seen in media. Young teen girls are now wearing full faces of make-up, and wearing revealing clothing. Let’s look at what women are doing to themselves in today’s world, to look more attractive and young, just for the epitome of being beautiful. Women are altering their physical appearance, and almost completely changing the way they look. Perhaps for the idea that plastic surgery will make them look better. Men and women are altering themselves to look like Barbie dolls, slicing and dicing to become perfect. Cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery emphasises that “plastic’ goes way back to ‘600 BC,” but was used more for re-constructing wounds. Now in the twenty-first century we use it more to look sexy.
Let’s forget about the beauty aspect of it, and let’s focus about the money part; because it is not cheap to look fabulous. ‘Breast enhancement is 2,800 dirham’s, while a tummy tuck costs 3,600 dirhams’- (Surgery 2005). These are just some of expenses needed to fund the notion of everlasting beauty. How about the realities of surgery? Everyone has an idea of what they want to look like in their heads, but on paper it’s a different story. One face is different to another’s. Symmetry plays a big portion in sculpting a new person. The underlying statement is that surgeons of clients may not be able to make them look like the next top model. If all is said and done and the person going under the procedure looks like a ‘million bucks,’ there is always the possibility of complication. We have all heard of the stories of our mother’s friend, going into have some work done and then dying on the operating table. Before you even proceed to the next level, you would have to sign a document that would read, ‘Possible complications: Fluid build-up under the skin, blood clots and death’- (Clinic 2015). It’s almost not worth being put through those kinds of circumstances, but it is all in the name of beauty. It’s different now the age range is getting younger, some as young as seventeen going under the knife. Is our society really okay with allowing children and teens to modify their own bodies, to fit the beauty standards in today’s world? Unfortunately we live in a materialistic world, where looking a certain way, for example a particular height and weight might get you a better job and a more attractive partner. These are the kinds of things that are now being communicated worldwide. However, over time beauty fades. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to understand that, when the average women is a size fourteen; society tells us we have to be a size four.
However a lot of the time, people who go through these life changes, want to feel more confident in their own skin. Having cosmetic surgery is not just about changing the outside; it is also about changing the inside. Looking sexy and/or beautiful boosts people’s confidence levels. It is not just about fitting into a category, but it can make them feel empowered and if people want to spend their money on looking good, that’s their prerogative.
Does anyone look like a super model? It’s difficult to think that you are attractive; when you are bombarded with advertisements and billboards selling you products you may might not even need or want. One of the highest growing markets in today’s world is make-up. But how far is too far when trying to look your best? We are being sold advertisements with gorgeous women who are all fake, photo shopped and air brushed. One of the most famous icons in the world, Marilyn Monroe was ‘between sizes sixteen and seventeen.” However women today have to be a size four to be deemed attractive. The make-up and fashion industry is trying to sell the average woman, the picture perfect idea of the perfect woman. Nowadays, all you hear and read about in the news is the newest celebrity diet craze that has gripped the nation. ‘The seven day soup diet which entails that you consume nothing but different vegetable soups and lemonade elixirs with hot sauce’- (Squillace and Weaver 2012). The apple cider vinegar diet and the baby food diet are just examples of the more lucrative ways that celebrities get in shape and become ‘healthy.’
Are media and newspapers outlets pushing the boundary levels of profanity to a new high? Celebrity photographers have always gone for the money shot; however now they are reaching new lows. Recently this year indecent photos have been leaked to the by press, of famous women’s genitalia. Young actresses have been put on a list, exposing them completely for the world to see. Children and young teens are witnessing these acts, and what it violates. ‘Privacy must be balanced’, otherwise we become animals, the only difference and this point in time is that we walk on all fours (McCarthy 2005). However even though these actresses have possibly been violated, their lives are in front of the camera. That’s what they do for a living, as well as having sexual scenes on the big screen. They are often put into diverse scenes, were they are nude. They expose themselves for money, but then get upset one a photographer snaps a picture. Who kind of message does that send to a person? They are not forced into that kind of life.
Looking at the modelling world can be extreme; most of the women are size zero to four. There is also a height requirement and physical one. ‘Luisel Ramos died after starving herself; she was only twenty two years old’ (Physical Requirements For Models 2013 ). Terrifying to thing someone so young died from something so tragic. However that is the world we live in. Girls like this are trying to be perfect; most of us are not naturally thin. As we get older our bodies change, and so do our physical feature. What example is the world setting, that to be skinny you have to literally survive yourself? Is that beauty? The media is telling us we have to look like a supermodel to fit in, to get a man; to have a family and a happy life. We are introduced to it when we watch a movie, or a music video; or read the newspaper. It is on billboards when you are driving your car, or buying perfume from an airbrushed celebrity that’s indorsing it. The perfect image in today society of a woman would be ‘Kim Kardashian’, she is not real. Her hair is been bleached; her breast are filled with silicon, and her butt has implants. Yet she is every man’s dream women. It is difficult be perfect when you are completely fake. There is a modelling agency that caters to a different standard of beauty, ‘Ugly modelling agency’. It deals with an unusual scale of models. However even in the name of the business it is derogatory; from when you first read the name you immediately associate as negative. However it is stepping outside the box, and allowing for a new kind beauty to show. Perhaps it might now resonate with the norms, but it is being real. They are using everyday people, from the streets and world.
We never consider the outcome of our actions, beauty lines and standards are blurring into oblivion. Sex sells should not be what we strive for in a society. Educating our youth should be number one priority. Bereaving women in sexual games in front of the world to see, in nothing but their perfect size two bodies puts a dampen in our plastic detention of the world . Ostracizing little girls for the mere pleasure of watching them, in nearly nothing is disturbing. Media outlets try and sell you a world that perhaps only exists in our minds. Beauty will fade, we will grow older and no amount of money or cosmetic surgery will fix it. Theirs an idea of how we are supposed to look, ‘You were born this way’ (Gaga 2011 ). No one has said it better and perhaps no one else will. The thing is there is this invisible line of beauty; it just depends on what your definition is. Big; fat tall, thin, black, white, orange, purple. These are all just stateless things that we have seen, or that have been put in our heads from what we can see and hear. If we can change the way we see beauty, and take it for what it is, then we can except that we are all beautiful.
Gaga, Lady. Metro Lyrics . 2011 . http://www.metrolyrics.com/born-this-way-lyrics-lady-gaga.html.
McCarthy, J. Thomas. Legal Information Institue. 2005. http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/privacy.
Physical Requirements For Models, Size Zero And BMI For Models. Physical Requirements For Models, Size Zero And BMI For Models. 2013 . http://www.wolfkettler.co.uk/models/pro-models/.
Clinic, Mayo. Mayo Clinic Cosmetic Surgery . 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cosmetic-surgery/basics/risks/prc-20022389.
Squillace, Mary, and Jennifer Weaver. Fitbie. 2012. http://www.fitbie.com/slideshow/16-craziest-celebrity-diets.
Surgery, Dubai. Dubai Surgery . 2005 . http://www.dubaisurgery.com/cost.php.
Viner, D.R. Hale and R.M. Policy responses to multiple risk behaviours in adolescents. 2013. http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/search?author1=R.M.+Viner&sortspec=date&submit=Submit.

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