Beauty as defined by…

We all know the beauty industry is predicated around the idea that we are not good enough as we are and that we must spruce, pluck, tan, nip, tuck, colour and plank ourselves into perfection.

There are lots of videos floating around that challenge this dominant idea, so this morning I’m posting some of them. What I like about all these videos is that they challenge commonly held ideas about beauty.

(I’m sorry about the advertising! Unfortunately all these vids were created by a beauty company…still the ideas are worthwhile.)

Beauty as defined by the beauty industry

The other day I was applying makeup, getting ready to go out. My six-year old daughter was sitting on the vanity cabinet playing with tubes and palettes. She watched me carefully and after a while said to me in a plaintive voice ‘Mumma, you don’t need it. You are already beautiful.’ It made my heart swell with love for her, but also my heart broke a little bit to hear her say that. What message was I sending to her? I don’t wear makeup often these days, but when I do, it’s always for the wrong reasons. I remember watching my mum put makeup on before having dinner guests over. She called it her ‘war paint’, and that’s what it is for me too – a barrier, a kind of protection from the world, a way to feel stronger in situations where I feel out of my depth. It is absurd, when you sit down and think about it.

Beauty as defined by social media

Who knew the selfie could be so powerful? So often we hear about the narcissism of the selfie generation. But in this clip the selfie is reframed, and the generation that created it is also reframed. It is an illusion and deception to think that Gen Y are all narcissists. Actually, they are just like the rest of humanity, they just use different tools to figure out the world.

Beauty as defined by yourself

In this fascinating experiment a forensic artist sketches women as they describe themselves, and as they are described by an acquaintance. The differences are interesting, but in no way surprising.

I think it’s no accident that all these videos feature women. I did try to find beauty related vids that address the way men’s physical beauty is represented in the media. You won’t be surprised that I couldn’t find one. I’m sure they are out there, but clearly this issue of the perverse representation of beauty in the media is almost entirely about women.


2 thoughts on “Beauty as defined by…

  1. I enjoyed this blog. I think beauty is subjective. Nothing new there. But beauty is also a word and we are allowed to mould it and wrestle it into any meaning we like as a child does with a wad of plasticine. Just because it used to look like a sausage, doesnt mean we cannot change it into a pig. Beauty has been defined and processed by so many generations, yet we still argue about its meaning. Therefore, we are able to reverse its trajectory. All it takes is to wad it all up, squish it around and sculpt the word itself into a thing of beauty.

  2. I love that, in a post about beauty, you use the words ‘wad’ ‘sausage’ and ‘pig’. I agree – let’s reverse the trajectory!
    I’d be interested to know what you think about my next post on beauty and the bullfight, coming soon. Lynette

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