Friday, February 17, 2012

The Eye of the Beholder?

The essay I found very appealing was "The Truth About Beauty" by Virginia Postrel. The reason I found this essay extremely appealing is because instead of bashing the media for evoking a sense of what beauty ought to be, like most scholarly essays I've read, she actually presents quite a different view about beauty. I think the thesis of this essay is that regardless of size, shape, or form, we can not deny what is typically pleasing to the general run of the population. Postrel uses a popular cosmetic industry in our society, Dove as an example to prove her point. Dove is accredited towards convincing every woman that she can be beautiful. For example, while trying to convince bigger women that they can be beautiful, Dove uses bigger women, but even then, these women have fat in all the right places, have smooth skin, beautiful hair, and generally pleasing faces, which goes on to justify Postrel's theory; "Our eyes and brains pretty consistently like some human forms better than others." I found this essay extremely insightful, and it provided me with the background on a question that I have always mulled over. Is it fair to tell every woman she is beautiful just the way she is? Does this not give her false hope, and stir away from the reality of her situation? Are people just evoking the message that every woman CAN be beautiful to be politically correct?

4 comments:

  1. Chaitanya, I think you are just nailing a very good point here: we are wired to be attracted to some features more than others. Political correctness is one thing, but I think we also have a culture where people sometimes constantly seek self-gratification and want all that's good about themselves but not much about what might be improved. To me we need a balance of criticism and support, no matter who we are or what we look like. What I see is that advertisers don't care much about truth or who has actual beauty, but they know that the most money is in selling to all body types and groups, but holding up an ideal that is very hard to reach, and very expensive (i.e. show them the money and the cosmetics company will SELL you beauty no matter who you are; that's why they promote this "everyone is equally beautiful" jargon?)

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  2. Mike, I agree. I think there's also a double standard in that. For example, I have a few heavyset friends, and when we go to the mall sometimes, they consistently complain that they can never find any cute clothes or that they're jealous that I can go to hollister, etc. I could just offer them the obvious solution to their issue, which would be to start going to the gym and not eat at McDonald's everyday, but today in society, saying that would make me look like the bad guy, so instead I need to say "Omg, no girl. You look great! You're not fat, you're thick." Same with girls that wear too much makeup, etc. They constantly complain about their appearances, but I sometimes wonder if they genuinely care for a solution, or just want pity, and I think cosmetic companies take advantage of the latter of the two.

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  3. I liked the picture your used, it shows how people think one way is right and beautiful while the other way is wrong and not beautiful.

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  4. I loved that quote becasue it is very true. I believe that some people are fortunate enough to have good looks. However, I agree that every person has his or her own good looks. Moreover,i believe in inner beauty.

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