Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pale…(aka you must be ill)

I’ve been thinking about how enmeshed we are as a culture. We are not differentiated. If I look different than you, that makes me anxious. If you look different than me, that makes you sad. Stay with me.

After reading through Darling I found interesting facts…

"According to the New York Times Iran has become the nose job capital of the world in recent years as a large population of women shed their distinctly Persian profile for a ‘Western nose’

The most requested surgery in Korea is the double eyelid surgery so as to accomplish the round, wide eyed look.

Apparently in the Phillippines, it is estimated that four in 10 women use whitening agents on their traditionally darker skin…"

But in America, you know the drill, everyone is running to the tanning beds come winter and act like it’s a crime if you haven’t been tanning for months before your wedding. You have to look your MOST beautiful (which does NOT include fair skin) In American, Botox abounds as white women adopt more voluptuous lips often found across the globe.

I’ve been recently thinking about what a shame it is that we don’t like what we have.  If we are thin, we want to be curvy. If we have curly hair, we want straight hair, if we have light skin, we want darker skin. The advertisers are having the most fun ever. Want straight hair? No problem. Buy straightening spray, a straightener, the shampoo that straightens, and on and on and on. You want smoother skin? Well there are one thousand different kinds of creams out there.  All you have to do is buy buy buy! That gym membership will make your thighs more narrow but make your butt more curvy. This pill will enlarge your breasts. This bra will make them more perky. These heels will make you taller. This foundation will cover your freckles and beauty marks (aka blemishes). After awhile I have to wonder if we are just in a mad rush to hide ourselves. The best we can do is camouflage ourselves and hope that we just look like everyone else. We hope to fade out of the picture and hide our true selves behind our latest and greatest fad. 

This is where creativity is stunted. How can we be beautiful without some diversity? I don't want to live in a world without color.I have been studying my ethnicity and it makes me sad to think I have been resentful of who I am and what I have been given. The Bachelor was sued for racial discrimination because it seems the same looking people are on the show season after season. And now finally they have Juan Pablo who is the first non-Caucasian Bachelor in franchise history (17 Bachelors to be exact) 

Why do we define our beauty by how similar we are to everyone? Why does everyone have to be the same size to be beautiful? Why do we have to be the same weight to be considered gorgeous? Why do we have to be this height to walk with confidence? Why this specific type of nose or these type of eyes to be considered pretty and attractive? I don't want us to go back to black and white television. I hope we have evolved to something much more vibrant and bold and colorful. As I studied my heritage and the physical characteristic and traits I began to realize that I don’t have to be someone else to be beautiful. I have always thought dark hair, dark eyes and dark skin are not only stunning but mysterious and to be envied. No matter how I “tanned” I would usually end up with a sun burn. I studied my German and Irish and Finnish and Norwegian roots and found to my surprise they have pale complexions, they are fair skinned, and they are what some would consider pale! I don’t want to reject who I am. I don’t want to look in the mirror and say, “sorry, not good enough…” I don’t need to look like what the magazines, the advertisers and the media deem beautiful.  They aren’t after my best, they are after my money and they are stealing my contentment. Rather I want to come from a place of gratitude about what I have been given.

Don’t get me wrong, I fall for the new lotions and make-up products as well as the latest trends in clothing. My hobby is shopping so you can imagine how much I am influenced by the media. But if I can learn to embrace my own creativity and my own look without having to blend into what “society” tells me is pretty, I will be the better for it.  Maybe we can spend our money not on the latest beauty products but on a massage to help us practice gratitude for our bodies and all that they do for us. Maybe we can spend our money on an experience like kayaking or wine tasting because life is so much more than how we look, it’s about what we can touch, taste and smell. We are sacred humans on a beautiful adventure.  I want to be differentiated. I want to know that I am enough just as I am. Then maybe I can celebrate the differences rather than resent them.