Fantasy versus Reality:
What is the Definition of Beauty?
There is no real, solid explanation of what is beauty. Beauty is not determined by age, size, shape or color. Looking at all the photographs from the Beauty & Culture Exhibit inside the Annenberg Space for Photography really sparked all the different pressures that I’ve felt as a woman, and well as a plus size woman. The “ideal” perception of beauty from advertisements from television and most importantly, magazines really create a huge demand for an unrealistic appearance. Sadly, beauty is determined by society. Even if you are brought up in a culture where beauty is different from others, at one point you might think something within your culture is ugly, and others in your culture may not.
As I saw the photographs of magazine advertisements, I imagine the average consumer falling for these photoshopped images and thinking if they buy the products they’d be able to be “beautiful” as the models in the advertisements are. Consumers fall for this ideal perspective of beauty, even though it is in a fantasy setting.
The real problem here is that women go to extreme lengths to follow the ideal qualities of a perfect woman. Plastic surgery being the biggest “solution” for the ideal nose, perfect lips, or high cheekbones, whether you’re 40 years old or as this image below says, 8 years-old. While looking at the video talking about the Toddlers & Tiaras children at the exhibit, I immediately thought of this issue that occurred recently. A mother was injecting her 8 year-old child with Botox to enhance her features and be able to “compete” at beauty pageants. What type of message does this create for the child, that Botox is the solution to be able to compete against others and have more chances at being successful, based on your looks?
The exhibit captivated me in a way that you have to get through the bottom of why beauty is displayed the way it is, and how it can be changed. I think that ultimately, you have the say as to what beauty is. As a freelance makeup artist, I always get clients who want to look like a certain celebrity or bring out features and hide others because they are “unacceptable.” I always tend to challenge my clients and let them know that I, the makeup artist, only enhance features that they love and not be ashamed of the others. Makeup is seen as a way to cover flaws and to have what beauty is to them but I think makeup makes a confident woman. If you feel confident without makeup, more power to you. But for others who don’t leave the house without makeup because of their dark circles under their eyes, with a little concealer under the eyes, they feel the most confident. And that is what beauty is to me; feeling confident in yourself. You will never be able to change the beauty industry. Models and celebrities are in an ideal world, but for the average person, we should have our own unique beauty ideals entitled by your opinion.