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.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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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.