As I grew older, one awful thing that I'm forced to realize is how tough it is to stay
genuinely happy in this society today. Why do I say so? Well, when I was a child everything was really simple and carefree, there wasn't much for me to worry about...... Perhaps just not being able to buy my fav toy.
Now? It feels like I've to constantly search high and low for things that are able to sustain that smile on my face. It's no longer as easy as being able to catch my fav cartoon or receiving a new Barbie-set.
What do I mean by genuine happiness? I'm not just referring to that few seconds of joy when I get my cravings satisfied, or when I laugh so hard listening to a good joke, that my tummy hurts and I start to tear up a little just for a moment of two. That's just temporary. Those kind of happiness don't last.
I guess like they all say, it's just part and parcel of growing up.
So anyway, there's something that has been affecting me for quite awhile now, and I've never been able to find the right words nor have I had that sudden outburst of anger to address this issue.
Aiya basically, I was just waiting for my patience to reach its limit before I feel the need to write this!
If I'm not wrong, I actually spoke about this on Twitter a couple of times before, but apparently 140 characters just aren't enough to get this anger I've been bottling up, off my chest.
S U P E R F I C I A L I T Y.
Yes, it's somewhat true that looks can actually get you through many doors... And it's something we're all aware of, but I think that the number of people in this society who are placing an exorbitant amount of value on physical appearance these days, are escalating.
I don't just mean on others alone, even with ourselves. People are just obsessed with what's on the surface.
There's something I will never be able to comprehend. Personally, I feel that judging someone based on their looks has definitely got to be one of the last things that one should do.
Lol, but at the end of the day we all know that it's disingenuous if I were to say that I'm not one of those who pass my first judgment of someone just by looking at their hair, eyes, nose, mouth, height so on and so forth. It's undeniable that I'm equally judgemental.
In fact, we all are.
C'mon, if you disagree with what I've said so far... Tell me who would you approach if you were forced to choose one?
We all know what majority would pick. If you say you'd pick the second for either sexes, then you're either a sanctimonious hypocrite or just one of a kind...
C'mon, don't be ridiculous.
Sounds like a rather infelicitous example and I'll probably receive backlash from a bunch of people telling me how insolent I am, but what I'm trying to prove is - Appearance is, indeed what captivates one's attention first.
Everything besides that; personality etc, are secondary.
It's like how most people would pick up a book in a bookstore based on its cover first, isn't it?
I could go on and cite even more examples to prove my point, but I guess that isn't necessary, cos deep down our hearts, we all know that's just another awful truth we have to face.
It seems almost trivial to judge someone at first glance when you look at it with a shallow mindset.
Our concept/standards of beauty is always subjective, but it isn't new that the definition of physical beauty has always been an issue since ancient days - Where people of different cultures have their own definition of beauty. Long necks, small feet, hourglass-figure, pale and delicate skin.
During the Victorian Era, the use of corsets was practised by many women to make them look more attractive and curvaceous. It was a torturous contraption that often caused women to faint and deform their bodies, because of how suffocating it is.
Egyptians define beauty in a different way too;
"Early Egyptians were extremely vain and had certain beliefs that contributed to their daily beauty regimens.... So we can see that despite its great age, ancient Egyptian culture contained the seeds of much of what followed, be it cosmetics, perfumes, or clothing. It is rightly looked upon as an opulent historical period, and contributed much to our modern concept of beauty."
(Source from http://www.thebeautybiz.com/67/article/history/beauty-through-ages-egypt)
Here are some other examples I've garnered:
"Women in Edwardian England would gladly swallow a slimy tapeworm to keep themselves slim and trim. The parasite would digest most of the food the women ate, and it also destroyed their health."
"Face painting with white lead powder was also popular in Elizabeth’s time. The beauty secret caused the premature demise of a number of 16th century lovelies."
The list goes on...
Of course, with today's technology along with improved medicines, one does not have to go through that crazy amount of pain as compared to the past.
Anyway, what scares me is the pressure placed by our contemporary society on the younger generation now, and it's blatant that the degree of concern towards physical appearance has increased over the years.
What's worse? Even girls and boys as young as 9 are concerned about their physical appearance these days. Since when was going to school all about who looks and dresses better, instead of whose grades are better?
So many people are discriminated against, based on their physical attractiveness. How taller, well-built, good-looking workers have more job opportunities and higher income, whereas shorter, fatter, less appealing workers have lesser opportunities and lower pay.
It's maddening. A person's level of attractiveness should never be directly related to their capabilities and job performance. I'm not trying to say there's a need for such comparison, or competition academically... But why are people disregarding their work, and prioritising physical appearance instead?
Look at Marilyn Monroe. Just so you know, she's someone I've utmost respect for, and she's one of my role models.
I was really intrigued by her past, hence, I've read up and watched many documentaries of her past. It saddens me how she was never valued for her intelligence and other virtues, besides her body and appearance.
Men and women, both wanted her. Men wished to possess her body, women yearned to have her body.
Hardly any men truly appreciated her for her personality and who she really is inside.
Our standards of beauty have been sculptured by the media and pop culture. TV, Magazines, Commercials are all about "good-looking" and what's deemed as "perfect" people; to an outrageous extent where it's "abnormal" to use people who are less good-looking on advertisements.
Many of you probably think that way because your definition of being "perfect" is the stereotypical image to be tall and curvy, have big eyes, nice wavy hair blablablabla - Which are some common characteristics many Caucasians are blessed with.
So yeah, to all of you girls or even guys who always go like, "All Caucasians are the epitome of true beauty! I wish I wasn't Asian."
But that doesn't necessarily mean that Asians don't look good just cos we don't possess these features, right?
Which brings me to the next point.
Then again, why do people look at things in such stereotype manner that "everything that's beautiful/perfect, is good."
Nobody's perfect. Cliche, but it's true.
I guess fairytales are partially to be blamed, from the moment it made us believe how the evil stepmother has always got to be ugly, and the kind n' good princesses have to be beautiful.
Perhaps if you see if from another pov, the message they were trying to convey was that if you're good on the inside, you'd be beautiful on the outside too. Ok, to think of it again... Maybe not.
That's a rather weak attempt to justify my previous statement, cos the kind-hearted princesses are all already good looking to begin with. Lol.
And because of all these, even girls and boys as young as 9 are concerned about their physical appearance these days.
Since when was going to school all about who looks and dresses better, instead of whose grades are better?
I'm not trying to say there's a need for such comparison, or competition academically... But why are people disregarding their work, and prioritising physical appearance instead?
Coming back to my point on how much physical appearance is valued; I'm not speaking about vanity here, (refers to excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements. In other words, self conceited.)
I'm talking about being insecure, feeling like you're not good enough, thinking that you've to be good looking for people to want and like you.
It's when you've low self esteem where you start to let the adverse thoughts of others adjust your actions; wearing cosmetics often indicates that you're no "real" self esteem.
Duh, I'm speaking from my own experience. I'd spend on beauty products and clothes too, because it makes me feel good.
However, if wearing make-up helps boost your confidence, consider why it does. Is it because you have been brainwashed into conforming to a subjective and mercurial standard of beauty? If so, why inflict yourself with such distress?
Everything above applies equally to the male population too. Costly apparel, spending hours in front of the mirror to achieve that perfect hairstyle — and I have met so many men who put far too much value into being able to achieve a more well-built body compared to another guy.
Fact is, you can never keep up to the "standards of beauty," simply because everyone has their own perception of what beauty is to them.
You don't have to look like David Beckham or Ian Somerhalder, Miranda Kerr or Megan Fox.
There will always be someone better looking out there, and c'mon! You can't be young and beautiful forever. Looks don't last.
Why not focus on finding the right people who would learn to appreciate you for your personality, than to waste your time and effort changing yourself to please people of facile intellect.
Personally, I've nothing against people who go under the knife or spend tons of money on things to beautify themselves IF they are doing it for themselves, and not because they feel the need to do that just to make people like them. It's completely normal.
Superficial fabrication of one's appearance propagates deception. You can do a million things to make yourself look better, but a good personality is what lasts at the end of the day.
Time will tell, even if the people around you can't now. That's what I always remind myself; that I don't have to beat anyone in terms of my looks... Cos it's just gonna be an endless competition. I'd rather beat them with my capabilities.
I know I'm not that influential to stop an universal issue as such, but if we could all stop encouraging and hyping on such superficiality. Physical appearance should not be considered when developing an opinion of someone, or yourself, start learning to understand and see beyond what's skin-deep, perhaps we'd be able to discover the inner-beauty of others instead.
Spend lesser time on Tumblr admiring and absorbing unhealthy information, sharing the wrong idea that outer-beauty is everything, it'd definitely reduce the number of teens who suffer from eating disorders, drug addictions, and depression - Which therefore concludes the purpose of this post.
"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." -