Marketing has the capacity to awaken in women and young girls a kind of anxiety about our appearances - we are brainwashed into believing that unless we look like the girl in the magazine...we will never be accepted. Through those images, we are paying two different kinds of prices, our money for the products that are the key to becoming the venus in the leaflet...and our self-assurance about how we look.
Many young girls and women are struck with the anxiety of not living up to society’s beauty standards. In better words, they have fallen under the power of a lie as seen below.
13-year-old Samantha cannot stop crying because she thinks her nose is too big.
9-year-old Jocelyn is worried that her waist isn’t like her favorite Barbie doll.
As for me, I despise seeing the blemishes on my face, so I make myself guilty for using the tools that corporate beauty standards have given me and multiple others to use as a means of turning ourselves into something we are not.
“Baby Mama coming through” “Baby Mama coming through”
I don’t know how many times I heard that phrase when I was trying to get to class back when I was in high school, but it really hurt my feelings. The truth is, however, there are many women out there who went through many taunts, coupled by the false appearances of the women they see on the magazine and the billboard. Those said models went through the procedure of digi-surgery, allowing them to be able to advertise the latest swimwear or the new mint-flavored foundation.
Let’s imagine 19-year-old Mary laying on a table with Dr. Photographer, Dr. Editor, Dr. Marketing, and Dr. Beauty surrounding her. Each of those doctors takes out futuristic digital surgical tools and begins shrinking the size of her waist, removes those “pesky” freckles, and whiten her teeth. Her hair began to grow longer and she felt her body being changed, and she can’t do anything about it because her contract says that her superiors are allowed to change her appearance without her consent.
However, if digital work isn’t an option to improve one’s appearance, in comes plastic surgery. On the operating table, another 19 year old girl lays still as the doctors and they trace on her where to cut, expand, remove, etc. She is then put to sleep by anesthesia and the doctors get to work - they cut open her skin and remove the unnecessary fat and her breasts are also enlarged. Her nose also undergoes a size reduction and her lips were expanded so that she can get the attractiveness she has yearned for. Yet, it doesn’t turn out the way she wanted it too.
She wasn’t the first person to come to grips with a failed procedure, for many years ago in 1818, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who was 19 years old at the time wrote a novel about a madman who wanted to make the perfect human out of the body parts of the deceased.
As it turns out, the altering of one’s body is a practice that dates back to the year of 1888, only it is before the age of photoshop and advanced medical tools. Meet Dr. Victor Frankenstein, whose death of his mother has driven him to find a way to beat death (Sparknotes). Of course, this was before all the medicinal methods that can properly keep a patient secure during alteration surgery, so Victor turned to digging various graves and taking parts of dead bodies, though his preference was beautiful features. There’s no record of how many graves he dug until he found the right body parts to make his creature, but the not-so-good doctor had a purpose: create the perfect specimen that will beat death. One criteria was not met though….
"How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! - Great God!" Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Chapter 5, pg. 58
We have a Creature who opened his eyes to the world for the first time, expecting love and guidance, but right at the moment he looked at the face of his creator - and was shunned. Without the guidance of his creator, the Creature wandered the countryside of Geneva and beyond, bringing terror to the innocents surrounding him, punishing humanity for rejecting him.
It seems to me that the entire world has been overtaken by the delusion of beauty that in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein - 1994, Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter, killed herself after Victor uses the same manner of how he created the Creature to bring her back to life.
Unrealistic standards of beauty - it’s not just tearing our self-confidence apart - it’s pushing us to destroy our bodies and our lives. There have been numerous cases where women like 23-year-old Sharon who thought that a little alteration on her waist, chest area would get her admired by men, or 21-year-old “Olivia” thought her lips needed to be puffier for similar appeal. Yet in the aftermath of the procedures, they end up looking more monstrous than beautiful and have to live in regret of what they have done to themselves. In one extreme case, Donda West, mother of rapper Kanye West, driven by the Hollywood environment she was in so she went from cosmetic surgery, fully putting her health at risk and passing away the next day because of the stress from the operation.
We are being destroyed by marketing beauty standards - it is killing us. At some point we need to ask ourselves - is what society and beyond’s opinion of our appearances worth our self-esteem and our health? What ever happened to looking at the beauty that comes from the heart and the soul? It is up to us to not let those delusions make monsters of ourselves - you can be any shape or size and still be beautiful, just the way you are.
Let’s conclude this with some words of wisdom:
What's your take on today's beauty standards? How do you feel about instagram models/models using photoshop and plastic surgery to enhance their looks?
Leave a comment below!