Modern Women's Unhealthy Beauty
December 8, 2008
As biologists have explained, beauty is a translation of health. However, for human beings beauty is beyond health and can even go against it. In our modern society, we have rationalized beauty as a factor of social acceptance led by unhealthy practices such as plastic surgeries.
Although physical attractiveness has been related to bilateral symmetry, there is not a universal pattern of beauty. John Manning of the University of Liverpool observes, “Chinese men used to prefer women with small feet. In Shakespearean England, ankles were the rage. In some African tribal cultures, men like women who insert large discs in their lips”. In consequence, the concept of beauty changes between different human groups. Then, what is our pattern of beauty?
Since the Media have become very popular in our society, different kinds of stereotypes have appeared in our lives without our awareness, and beauty has also been stereotyped. Beauty is a matter of appearance no matter how healthy one is. We can see that through those famous models and actresses who, in spite of their extreme diets and risky surgeries, are identified to be what female beauty means. Every time on TV we see these stereotypes in advertisements, movies, TV programs, realities and “news.” Even toys like Barbie and Ken respond to this fact. Is that real beauty?
The fact is that many women look at the mirror and see something different than the beauty stereotype and reflected that they are not beautiful; aren’t they beautiful just for being different?. They don’t like themselves and have lost self-esteem. They feel the necessity of social acceptance. However, they have solution, as TV programs like “Make Over” have shown: go to the surgeon and become a Pamela Anderson or whoever you want through liposuction, tummy tuck, breast augmentation (silicone gel implants), cheek implants and so on.
A BBC News survey, “Women obsessed by their bodies,” of over 3,000 women with an average age of 25 says that “70% felt depressed about their shape or size, 78% of ‘normal’ weight wanted to be thinner” and “most were unhappy with their shape.” This is a clear evidence of how much many women don’t like what they see in the mirror: bodies that, of course, are quite different than those ones shown in the media. Adele Wakeham, an eating disorder specialist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, declares: "It's completely unrealistic to see actresses and models who are usually seriously to moderately underweight, promoting this image of perfection that just isn't real for many women.”
But that’s not all. Social pressure is a great cause of this women’s unhappiness. According to the survey, “Women thought thinness equalled success”: “81% think slim women find it easier to get a good job” and “62% think overweight people tend to be viewed as less intelligent than average”. As a result, even though the brain functions are independent to the body mass, some women’s intellectual confidence is affected by her appearance. This shows a diminishment in the emotional health of some modern women.
In addition, the survey suggests that these women prefer surgeries than a healthy life style: “despite the numbers who were concerned about their physical appearance, 62% did not take any regular exercise, 64% admitted they did not eat a diet which includes lots of fruit and vegetables” and “62% of all women say they will 'definitely' have some plastic surgery.” Therefore, cosmetic plastic surgeries are replacing the natural healthy beauty of many women. Does this make sense?
The truth is that surgeries are dangerous. They can become an obsession and people can harm themselves like Hang Mioku, a 48 year old woman who, after many interventions on her face, was disfigured. Besides, some surgeries may lead complications as is explained by CBC News: “procedures like liposuction, you may be at risk for severe skin infection.” “ Death is also a risk because of shifts in the body” that “can cause kidney and heart problems.” “Severe reaction to the anesthesia could also lead to death.” A surgery is a huge risk; it’s an invasion in the body , which is never going to be the same after this kind of medical intervention. I’d rather to do exercise and eat healthy food.
Many women are harming themselves by trying to be who they aren’t. We have to be critic with what we see and not let the Media “hypnotize” ourselves. Many women are not only destroying their bodies but their emotional health.
This is a complex world full of diversity. Of course, most of the women won’t fit the beauty stereotype. And that doesn’t mean that we are not beautiful. Women should care more about themselves; about their physical and emotional health. The modern women should recognize, accept and love who they are. As nature teaches: beauty is an expression of health. So, instead of watching those TV programs and reading those magazines that make us feel insecure about ourselves, we should put more attention to our lifestyle: eat properly and practice more exercise.