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Blogger, full-time bum and proud owner of a rubber duck named Bert. Come say hi. I don't bite. Unless you're a cheesecake, then I'd recommend backing away slowly.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The definition of beauty

What is your definition of beautiful?

Is it a slim waist? Curvy hips? A big bust? Expressive eyes? A perfect smile? A tanned complexion? 

Now... pause and ask yourself this question:

Is that truly your definition of beautiful?

It's no secret, the media have been cramming images of tall, slim women with perfect skin for decades. And slowly, these archetypes of 'beauty' have been getting thinner...

Only eight percent of an ad's message is received by the conscious mindthe rest is worked and reworked deep within the recesses of the brain, where a product's positioning and repositioning takes shape.”Rance Crain
It's terrifying to think that adverts have such an effect on us. 

Through the near constant manipulation that the media have subjected us to over the past hundred years or so, they have essentially took our personal views, as well as the views of our society, in regards to beauty's definition and turned it on its head completely. Plumpness was once a signal of wealth, those who were poor would be very skinny due to not being able to afford a sufficient amount of food to suitably sustain them through their tough day's work in fields. Now? Toned, skinny women are seen as wealthy because they can afford to buy nutritional food and hire a personal trainer, whereas poorer members of society are typically chubbier due to the necessity of buying cheap, unhealthy food in order to survive. Make-up was once a signal of a prostitute or an actress, both professions sneered at equally. Now? The make-up industry is a billion dollar industry and many women refuse to go out of the house without at least one layer of make-up. 

And is it any wonder? The average American is exposed to over 3,000 adverts a day. That's 3,000 different companies attempting to sell you a lifestyle, a look, a culture. What you see is some perfume company trying to make you smell gorgeous. But deeper down, beneath the surface, you register a company that will make you sexier, that will make you more desirable. In reality, they have just hired an impossibly beautiful model, so you buy the perfume so you have one thing in common with her. You may not look the same, but hey, at least you smell like her, right?

I'm just really annoyed by the lack of sensitivity and concern the media (and those involved with it) have when it comes to serious issues such as eating disorders and body image. 

I never thought I'd have to mention their name in a bad-light, but Disney isn't exactly being a role model.

Keep in mind that one of its stars, Demi Lovato
left their hit show 'Sonny With A Chance' to
battle her eating disorder.

Yes. This is the spin off from her show...
That's a new low.

There was once a time when Disney spoke out against meaningful issues in its children's programming. 'Lizzie McGuire' had an episode dedicated to eating disorders. 'That's So Raven' had an episode dedicated to racism and they also had one dedicated to showing girls that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes. 'The Proud Family' taught kids how to accept others regardless of religion or ethnic background... but now? The actresses are all stick thin and their character's aim only to date boys. The script-writers sink so low as to make jokes about issues such as eating disorders and they've become generic and utterly meaningless.

And catwalks? Shows such as 'The Fashion Police'? Fashion magazines? They are all just as bad as each-other. No-one will batter an eyelid when someone criticises a celebrities fashion taste or figure, they are a celebrity after all, the public have a right to mock or ridicule them, seen as they are public property(!) But by making this sort of ridicule the norm, we are subconsciously teaching generations of kids that a good fashion sense is a conformist fashion sense. That we are at risk of getting mocked if we stray from what is popular or 'fashionable' at the present moment in time, and that we in turn are allowed, or even expected, to mock those who stray from the flock...

I could go on all night about my contempt for the media when it comes to eating disorders and body images, but I'll stop myself there.

I'll end on this note, to any of you who may have an eating disorder, or if you're just prone to feeling self-conscious about yourself from time to time:

There's a lot of people out there trying to tell you that you need to be a certain weight, height or proportion to be considered beautiful, but don't listen to them, because they are clueless.

You are beautiful, just the way you are. Your uniqueness is what makes you compelling and what makes you one of a kind. Hold onto that with dear life, advertising companies, vain celebrities and confused members of society will try to rob you of your personality and your soul, they'll try to mould you into something less amazing... something that isn't you. Resist their attempts to do this and you'll become (or rather, remain) the most beautiful person the world has ever seen.

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