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IDEAL BEAUTY: IT’S SOCIETAL, STUPID (opens in new window/tab)

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  1. This is seriously a great topic, - one that a comment box can’t even start to really hit - although I tend to weigh in on the other side of DE’s “celebration.”

    I’ve always thought people should strive to attain societal ideas of beauty, and I sometimes have to crush my disdain for people who want to act like its a vicious cycle of victimization. It’s not, because nobody forces you to participate; it’s just nice when you do. And before anyone wants to hang me, I have to point out that these facets of beauty are a societal ideal because most of us think that way whether we mean to or not.

    The catch here is that it isn’t gonna always work. But that’s actually no big deal with me - I just like to see people trying to put their best foot forward. We all get the “only 1 in 10,000 women is a supermodel” deal, but that shouldn’t inspire such reactivity that it erases the element of pride in one’s appearance and the very basic (if maybe old-fashioned) idea that doing your best to look your best is a sign of respect for yourself and the world.

    Maybe my point here is live and let live, even if it sounds like I’m being overly didactic just to cover up superficiality, but I hate when people wanna act like issues like health maintenance, an interest in fashion, or other manifestations of pride in appearance are the *negative* result of societal pressure.

    It’s only a negative result if you follow social dictates on appearance because you are a quaking mess of nerves and low self-esteem.

    You feel me? Or I’m a jerk?

    Comment by r* — 09/10/2021 @ 12:31:24 PM

  2. Not a jerk, at least not much.

    I think the idea of having a choice on whether or not to follow societal standard in this (and most other things) is shaky. Even those of us who like to think we move to the beat of a different drum usually can’t do so unless there’s enough others doing so to create an adequate support system. We’re social creatures, like it or not.

    Finding the line between reciprocating respect and harboring unrealistic projections is tricky business. That’s where the negative considerations come in.

    Overall, I think this theme is considered too one-dimensionally: It’s media corruption, or patriarchalism, or corporate manipulation. Micro- and maco-economic drivers are almost never considered, nor is basic human impulse.

    Comment by CT — 09/10/2021 @ 09:19:11 PM

  3. If a societal ideal of beauty dictates that you should be white, what do you do if you’re black, or asian?

    Thats purposely extreme, of course, but I think the societal ideals that that post is referring to have more to do with things you cant change about yourself (without extensive surgery) at all, not just making sure to brush your hair and wear clean, fashionable clothes and hit the gym a few times a week.

    Comment by The Belt — 09/11/2021 @ 08:05:39 PM

  4. Not as extreme as you might think: Consider the “high yellow” blacks, especially during the Jim Crow era and in places like New Orleans. Their lighter (more white-looking) complexions gave them a tangible leg-up over darker-skinned blacks. Also during the same period, blacks would do things like chemically straighten their hair to look more “high-class”. Some might point to celebs like Halle Berry today and see remnants of this perception.

    This again points to socioeconomic considerations playing a role in societal preferences.

    Regardless, in blondelibrarian’s case, I think she was looking primarily from her personal perspective, which is all she can do.

    Comment by CT — 09/11/2021 @ 08:17:47 PM

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