This week’s Friday Dose is all about the kinds of beauty that the media can’t sell you anything for. If people —particularly women— are comfortable with their bodies and selves, then they don’t really need anything from outside of themselves to feel good. They don’t need creams or enhancers or concealers or Spanx or worst —to hide.
The modern notions of ‘beauty’ and ‘falseness’ essentially have the same meaning when it comes to many women’s appearances. Women are often encouraged to try to look like anyone except themselves. I’ve written about it many times (e.g. Being Beautiful, Cruel People etc.).
If a company can’t sell us something, then they need to convince us that we’re wrong the way we already are. That is entirely their job. Advertisers make us think we need products because they teach us there’s an ideal version of us we should be striving for, all while everyone looking at us has unique tastes so how is that even possible?
You know what ideal we should be realizing? The real us. Unadorned, unadulterated, unaltered, unpurchased us. Our beauty does not come from a tube or pill or surgery. Our only meaningful beauty is innately an aspect of our very being and that beauty is with us even as we grow old and withered.
We’ll start with photographer Jade Beall who rather accidentally discovered that there were a lot of women longing to see themselves represented more honestly. Now, thanks to social networking, all of us are potential publishers, so it’s not just the people selling something that can share images with the public.
I like that these were popular. If images like these were in the media more, women wouldn’t be so stressed about completely acceptable, normal and yes beautiful changes to themselves:
Honouring the Post-Baby Body
Next we’ll knock down another media barrier. Our perspectives change drastically as we age, which is why many of the insults that young people hurl at older people just bounce off without effect. Because they were once younger themselves, and they did the same things to the generations older than them, they know that when we’re younger we often simply don’t have enough perspective to know enough about what we’re talking about.
Whether it is beauty or youth, for the most part, the media’s completely brainwashed us into liking what they want us to like so they can sell us things. And about the best we can do is try to do the opposite, but even that is a form of imitation. Even an anti-social person is, in a backward way, letting society decide who they are.
The very best part about ageing is the gain of wisdom and experience that allows us to see through all of that salesmanship. There will certainly be innocents who will find something like this unacceptable or even funny. But if they’re lucky enough to live long enough, they too will come to recognize the short-sightedness of their vision:
And finally we’ll end on a discussion about ageing. This radio documentary asks people of different ages what it’s like to be those ages and how their perspectives have changed. They’re wonderfully honest and frank and the result is a journey of self discovery for the listener.
I was amazed at how many of these ideas I had never really thought much about and yet when I heard them I immediately knew them to be true. Download the podcast, listen to it online… it doesn’t matter. But if you’re in the right head-space, it’s a fascinating look at something that will happen to all of us. It certainly nothing to be afraid of. To a wise and aware person, the world just gets cooler and more interesting to me every day. Enjoy:
Ideas: Aging By The Book
Have yourself a wonderful weekend. Celebrate yourself. You’re worth it.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.