Liberated from appearance-based identity? Is this even possible?
What does it mean to challenge society’s standards of beauty?
Is it standing up against the media/corporations who cover the newsstands, televisions and advertisements with ultra thin, unhealthy looking models who are selling an unattainable youth and beauty to the masses? I was talking to a friend who felt this is a cop-out, an excuse. Aren’t we smarter than this?
Is this challenge redefining the idea of beauty? Showing people that beauty comes from within and not our physical appearance?
Does it mean that I have to challenge the idea of beauty from within myself rather than projecting my own perspective of beauty on to others?
Every day I hear men talking about women as objects of beauty. The most recent overheard, “You should date her, she is cute, you would look good together.”What does this mean? What is attraction? Is it based on beauty? Whose idea for beauty? I keep hearing there is a lid for every pot. I so want to bop someone over the head with my pot!!
When I shaved my head in July, I did it to show that we are not defined by our physical appearance. We are much more than that. While no one has ever identified me by my “signature locks,” hair is a huge symbol of beauty in our society. It always has been.
What does it mean that I wear make-up and just bleached my hair blond? What does it mean that I DO want to look beautiful?
Am I succumbing to society’s pressure? Am I tired of being ignored and judged because a large majority of people I am around only see the superficial and talk about appearance? Do I worry that I won’t attract a mate? OR that a guy won’t be attracted to me? Or are tons of guys attracted to me, but they are just too shy to say anything? (Yep this is probably it!!)
Or… am I finding my voice, my identity in a balance of appearance AND personality based identity?
For so many years, I have not felt complete. I was always struggling between extremes; the ideal of being thin, beautiful and loved VS the reality of being loved for who I am, intelligent, witty, talented and beautiful on the inside.
Is this putting my self down? I don’t know. When I look in the mirror, I can’t say, “You are beautiful”. I don’t look like the figure of a woman that men are attracted to. If I did, why wouldn’t I be with someone? Of course, why am I worrying about what guys think of me anyway?
The question of beauty goes around and around and around. Who says I am not beautiful on the outside? For me it is years and years and years of being ignored, neglected and judged.
Does this all have to do with self-acceptance? Accepting yourself and loving yourself for who you are? Why do I need the love of a partner? Do I need this love? Why is it so important to be accepted by someone else? I don’t need validation from anyone but myself, right?
How can I be liberated from appearance-based identity as an artist? My work is all about the visual. Maybe that is what I am realizing. Yes I shaved my head, but I also got some super cute glasses to wear. Yes, I wanted my hair to be natural, but then I thought, how cool it would be to go blond. I can always shave it off in a couple weeks, no worse for wear.
Then I started getting tons of compliments on how good the color looked on me.
Yesterday I was showing a co-worker a Yahoo article about Charlize Theron showing her buzz cut for the first time. (Ummmm nooooo of course I wasn’t on the internet at work!! LOL) I was kind of appalled that the article was focusing on her hair. I told my co-worker, her hair doesn’t define her. I hate this. She has so much more going for her than this.” My co-worker said, of course she does. And she is known for her other qualities too. This is just one article about a specific thing. Of course, where are the articles about her intelligence and her talent?
It really got me thinking. Am I focusing too much on beauty? Am I thinking in extremes again? Am I being bipartisan?
I need to change my perspective.
The idea of beauty, around for centuries, has been talked about in myths and fairy tales, sculpted and painted by the great Masters, shared with our children through the guise of Barbie, saturated on magazine covers and billboards, flaunted in Miss Universe pageants and used as alter-ego identities in virtual worlds. Men and women want to be beautiful. They spend billions of dollars on make-up, youth serums and plastic surgery. They want to be desired, wanted, needed. Sex sells, right?
What about confidence? Isn’t confidence desirable? Isn’t confidence attractive and beautiful? Why don’t advertisers use confidence as a selling point to make money? Of course, they probably think they are using it, through beauty. They are saying, if you are beautiful you will be confident. What if we changed our perception and said, if we are confident we are beautiful? But then what kind of product would be for sale? None, which of course wouldn’t work for companies trying to make money. Ugh!! Money!!! The root of all evil? (That’s another story)
Isn’t she beautiful??!! She looks so radiant and confident. There is that C word again…