The Ugly Truth: Are You Falling Into This Hidden Trap of Lies?
-Society, Perfection, and You-
“A ridiculous practice of narcissism” -Urban Dictionary
The Ugly Truth
The truth of the matter is that our society is obsessed with an improbable supposition of beauty, both physically and intangibly, leading us to an unfortunate #selfienation and lots of #bodyimage #problems (almost as bad as those hashtags).
According to a phycology meta-analysis study “American, Canadian, and British cultures have become more individualistic, materialistic, and socially antagonistic, with young people now facing more competitive environments and unrealistic expectations than previous generations” (APAResearch).
The human race, even those from centuries past, has a weakness: humans respond to exaggeration and more so, what appears to us as perfection. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and “ideal beauty” varies per every individual’s personal preference. However, the mass media is professional at constructing and dictating whether or not your version of beauty is right or wrong.
The mass media wants you to constantly question yourself! Their favorite question of the day is “am I good enough?”
Unfortunately , as long as society is asking you that question, you will always answer NO!
Now, we have to wonder if these far-fetched societal standards are just a 2019 trend? Let’s take a look at some good ole’ history to find out!
What the Greek?
It’s not just our generation that deeply desires flawlessness. Let’s throw it all the way back to the Ancient Greek times. Greek sculptors once created realistic depictions of the human body. They were stoked when they created the first statue resembling a real human body.
It wasn’t long before the Greeks decided that the real human body just wasn’t cutting it, literally. In their dissatisfaction with reality, the Greeks became obsessed with precision and sculpting physical perfection.
“The Greeks discovered they had to do interesting things with the human form, such as distorting it in lawful ways in order to exaggerate the brain's aesthetic response to that body… at first glance they resemble human beings, but in fact it's not anatomically possible for a person, however athletic, to look like them. They are something more human than human” (PBS).
So you’re telling me that in 450 BC, the Greeks were obsessed with human form and distorted the human body to reflect perfection… hmm, 2019 isn’t looking too different.
In addition to this ongoing cycle of obsession, marketing and mass media thrive financially as a result of our response to society’s version of perfection; after all, striving to be more human than human requires very expensive unnatural procedures and products. They know what the people desire because it hasn’t changed for centuries!
Don’t Be Fooled
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate beauty in others, and I am all for taking care of my body, looking presentable, eating healthy, and taking care of my temple. However, there is a fine line between being healthy and unrealistic. I know I have suffered and felt unhappy with my appearance as I became my own sculptor.
I tried to mimic and uphold the false/unrealistic standards produced by all types of media, never reaching full satisfaction of my appearance. In order to achieve the “perfect” look according to societal standards of beauty, I found myself straightening my naturally frizzy, curly hair, covering my freckles with foundation, and limiting my calorie intake to minimize my womanly curves.
The vicious cycle continued for years until I stopped idolizing beauty and started seeing myself through the eyes of a creator instead of mass media. Even though I was aware that my beauty routine was obviously destructive to my natural hair, face, and body, I still did it. In the same way, the media can portray pretty images and ideas that are obviously far from reality, but we still buy into the fantasy of it.
In conclusion, the ugly truth of societal standards and human nature may actually be the most beautiful revelation YOU and your mental state need right now. No one likes to be fooled, lied to, or deceived. We are not statues or still images that can be photoshopped. We are human; real, flawed, precious one of a kind creations.