Beauty and the brain

Every day I turn on my television, go to Google, or check Facebook there is a new video or editorial piece on finding the beauty within.  They are clever memes and quick little videos about how someone realizes how truly beautiful they are and how we can help one another find that beauty in each person.  And I believe these are meant to help us out in a world that seems to be driven by outward appearances.  Any time a famous actress wears pants that may cause her to appear heavier, it is front page news.  Weight, perfect skin, beautiful hair, and th outfit seems to be at the forefront of every woman’s mind.

Earlier this week I watched a piece on the Today Show about an experiment conducted by Dove.  A handful of women were asked to wear a beauty patch and record their findings.  This patch was said to work to release something into the women’s blood that would help them feel beautiful.  After a week the women reported a greater sense of physical beauty and self-confidence.  Not so shockingly, the women were told that the patch actually contained nothing.  They somehow found the key ingredient to feeling beautiful all on their own. Hmmmm

I immediately had very mixed feelings about this project.  Like I said earlier, every time I turn my head there is an ad or post about attaining beauty.  And most of the time it leads to encouraging you to feel beautiful and a lot of times why using products from Dove or others like it can help you be the most beautiful you.  And I agree, we have to feel great.  We have to take care of our bodies and our skin.  We need, as women and men, to feel attractive.  It is part of the human condition. But, what I find most alarming is the focus on physical appearance.  Even after all of the tears, it boils down to the way you look and begs the question” what is real beauty?” And are all of these commercials and ads featuring bigger women reminding us that we aren’t as beautiful as we could be unless we are buying their products because they have the magic element for obtaining physical beauty?

I have been stuck in down-the-rabbit-hole thinking about the obsession with beauty.  It isn’t new and has always been something of a struggle for most women, even men.  Feeling attractive is important.  However, in the midst of all of this face obsession we are forgetting some important points.  Things like accomplishments.  When I hear someone complaining about how unattractive they are, I want to point out that degree on their wall.  Look at that!  You worked your tail off for that degree and are now employed in your field of expertise. True, some days your hair looks a bit like a nest, but you are smart, brilliant even.  And yes I know this comes off as a slightly jaded response to current marketing.  I mean, it is a good thing that more natural beauty is being targeted and models are becoming a more realistic mirror of the average female.  However, it all goes back to physical beauty.  And I suppose it really is important to us, otherwise it wouldn’t be so prominent in marketing.  But if we are mainly focusing on what the face looks like or how something hangs from our bodies, we are minimizing our accomplishments. Somewhere there must be a more balanced pairing with brains and beauty.  And really it is up to us, the consumer.

I’m not trying to complain about a trend, which I believe is a good thing after years of being saturated with perfect bodies and faces.  I just hope we remember to embrace ourselves as the whole person.  The mind, spirit, body, and brain.  Youth is fleeting and if we are only putting our stock in the physical and not nourishing our minds and spirits, they will also one day leave us before we’re ready.

Hug yourself and realize you’re beautiful.  That’s it.

Post by Carrie

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