I have recently felt a calling to write about the dysfunctional image the media has of ‘Beauty’ and on the effects this has on women.
The main focus of this article is to look at the dysfunctional ideas and images women receive from the media and all of the mental and emotional problems this creates, as a consequence. Although the pressure is building for men, it is not to the same degree that women have to experience.
Does Perfection Exist?
When it comes to beauty in the media, the focus is usually on the idea of perfection. And typically there is some kind of product and a model or celebrity who is presented as being perfect. This then helps to associate the product with the person who is promoting it and as a result of this creates the illusion of attaining the same amount of beauty if the product is bought.
The trouble here is that these models are often born that way and don’t look the way they do because of the product being promoted. So unless a woman already looks as they do, they are setting themselves up for more pain and frustration.
And if they don’t look as is being shown, then there is typically a whole team of people to create the look. However, if that is not enough they always have Photoshop on hand to create the illusion of perfection.
Stress And Self Worth
The never ending pursuit of perfection not only creates high stress and pressure for women; it also stops the majority of women from developing any kind of self worth or self esteem. So what a women ends up with, is a constant sense of never being enough and if they do feel enough it is fleeting and ends as soon as the next product is available. And maybe to some degree these products allow women to escape these feelings of insecurity.
Creating False Ideas
As well as the need for perfection, the media also creates this false idea that as long as a woman looks good she will attract the person of her dreams. This of course places such a high importance on looks and completely ignores the importance of having a functional self image.
Where Does The Desire For Perfection Come From?
Our own mind works in polarities and when we identify with our past it can create problems in the present moment. Say for example, we are holding onto a traumatic past experience that makes us feel powerless, our mind, as a way to deal with this feeling might go to the other extreme by trying to control everything. You may be wondering how this relates to what I am talking about. What this means is that the whole desire for perfection could be stemming from the minds identification with a past experience in life when it felt imperfect and not enough.
And this is why the pursuit for perfection will never end and will rarely make a woman, who is caught up in the Medias image of beauty, feel truly happy with how she looks.
What Is Beauty?
Of course Women naturally want to look attractive and to be beautiful. The problems arise when this natural and healthy desire is manipulated by the media and used to create women that become obsessed and neurotic. And as a consequence, ends up creating women who have all kind of complexes and body image issues.
Each one of us is different, whether that’s in body or in personality. And not all of us agree on what beauty is, it is not absolute and changes constantly. So to change how we look based on what is currently the in vogue look or body, is not only potentially damaging to the body, but it also means that we are constantly tying to please others while ignoring what we truly want and what is meaningful to us.
Is beauty something that is completely external or is there something inside, something much deeper?
With the whole focus of the media being on the external beauty of women, the inner beauty of women, the goddess within, is largely ignored. Is this because they can’t sell this and because if woman realised the power they had within they would not make as much money?
Does The Media Really Have All The Power?
It could also be said that the Medias dysfunctional view of what beauty is only exists due to what we as individuals are identifying with from our past. Whether we are a man or a woman our self image has a massive effect on our life
And I am sure that good looking people, whether male or female, can testify to attracting bad relationships even though they look ‘perfect’ in the Medias eyes. We only have to cast our eyes to the papers or magazines to see what kind dysfunctional relationships are routinely attracted.
Where Does the Obsession With Beauty Come From?
We seem to live in an age where more importance is placed on how a person looks than on what their like as a person and how there character is. I don’t believe one is more important that the other and that each aspect is equally important.
When I ponder how this obsession with beauty could have come about, my attention is drawn towards repression and rejection.
First I will begin by saying that we have a masculine and feminine side. With the feminine being the left side of our body and the masculine being on the right side.
Each side has many characteristics, however to keep it brief, the feminine is the side that allows us to receive and the masculine side allows us to give. And as we develop our ability to receive we will be in a healthy and empowered position to give. The saying ‘you can’t give what you haven got’ comes to mind here.
So with beauty being an aspect of the feminine and therefore being about receiving, it could be that through the rejection of our own feminine side and therefore the ability to receive, that leads one to obsessively pursue beauty and never being able to accept it as a result of there own internal rejection of there own.
How Do We See Ourselves?
As I have mentioned throughout the article, the image we have ourselves makes all the difference.
We can look ‘a million dollars’ and have everything the media says going for us, however, if the self image we have of ourselves is dysfunctional and disempowering we wont attract functional relationships or be truly happy.
So if we buy into the perspective that how we look defines our success in relationships and in how successful we are in life and we are not getting the results we desire, we will naturally feel hopeless and frustrated.
I am not suggesting that appearances should be ignored or forgotten about, what I am advocating is a more balanced and healthy approach. Embracing beauty in its true form and to question our own ideas about what beauty really is.
Being a man, means I have never experienced the kind of pressure women have to face when it comes to how they look. However, my hope is that this article has been thought provoking and as a result of this - empowering.
After recent experiences and awareness’s in my life and also from what is happening it the public domain, I felt it was right to talk about my views and understandings of these two incredibly important areas of life.
On one side we have a great need to feel safe and on the other side we want to be free. However, as our need to be safe is so strong, our freedom is often compromised in the process. And it is easy to see which one of these usually takes precedence in our own life.
The need to feel safe could be described as our egos main priority. With the ego operating from around the stomach area, this is where our survival fears are and is also said to be the oldest part of the brain.
When I think about the need or wish for freedom, I see it as a calling from the heart. I would also describe it as a higher, more evolved side of the human experience, as it is not essential to our own survival. So although we might have the longing for freedom, our body will still function without it.
Better To Be Safe Than Sorry?
The question is, how does our own ego decide what is safe and what isn’t? And might it be acting out of past experiences and old information? Might we also fear freedom at an unconscious level?
So while the ego is doing this incredible job of keeping us alive, the information it often uses to asses whether something is safe or not is coming from our history. So as one reflects on this, it is easy to see that we might well be living in fear in the present moment not because of what is currently happening, but because of old memories and associations that are being triggered.
And as the result of holding onto these old experiences and patterns, we might also be interpreting present situations in such a way that they comply with old experiences, when in reality they might have nothing to do with it.
Trust Or Control?
So as the ego has such a great need to be safe, this naturally creates a life where just about every part of it is created to correspond to what our own ego perceives as being safe.
And then we have the kind of life that Bill Murray had in ground hog day; where the same things keep showing up and these are not always what we want to happen to us.
This can include our relationships, health, self image and many other areas. Whether these things make us feel empowered or disempowered, they exist because our mind perceives there existence as being what is safe for us.
And even though there is an association of safety, it doesn’t mean they are functional or like I said above empowering to us, as familiar is safe to our mind.
After looking at the nature of the mind; the importance of being conscious and questioning what we perceives as safe, starts to surface.
Although the ego is controlling by its very nature, the heart is more delicate and subtle in its workings. Our ego also allows one to be an individual to have an experience that is unique to them; the problems arise when we fall completely into this and think we are separate and therefore alone.
The more we include and live from our heart the more we will begin to trust our life and that we our not separate or isolated beings.
The more we question our own mind and the perceptions we have, the more we will begin to attract what empowers us and not just what is familiar.
However, questioning and observing our own mind is not something that is usually taught or encouraged today. This can cause us to become identified with our ego, to lose our ability to observe and as a consequence become a slave to our own mind.
We then just become a machine and a person that has no control or awareness of themselves. Of course we might develop materialistically, however when it comes to our mental and emotional health we could be primitive in nature.
What Is Freedom?
Today there is a lot of talk of governments and similar figures offering us freedom and such things. Even cars and the latest phones are associating there products with freedom. And I believe to some degree or another they do give a certain amount of freedom.
But what is freedom? Is it something we can receive from others or is it something we create ourselves? And are we responsible for our own freedom?
By living in a society or culture that encourages us to identify with our mind, it is easy to see how our freedom is going and will continue to disappear. If our own ability to be conscious and to question has been eroded, which leads us to live completely in our body, and then it is no surprise that safety continues to be the choice.
When we are filled with fear and overpowered by emotions, there is not much chance of our critical abilities being utilised.
And as a result of this we will quite easily give away our own freedom all to the promise of someone else giving us safety. So ultimately we end up living in survival mode, our own conscious potential being momentarily arrested.
If our own mind is filled by emotions and thoughts from our past, it is hard to see how we can feel freedom at all.
If our own mind is interpreting what is safe based on what is familiar from our past, could it be that our own attachment to our past is causing us present problems? And that the present moment is constantly clouded by our past?
This to me shows how important it is for us as individuals to take responsibility for our projections, to see what we are responsible for and what we are not.
This is why I believe that experiencing real freedom, which could be classed as freedom of the mind, is an evolved and a higher level of consciousness. If we are controlled by our fears, our emotions or our thoughts, it won’t matter how much external freedom we might have.
I hope I have explained each aspect enough. My main intention here is that this has made you think and question, regardless of whether you agree with what I say or not.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.