Mar 10

Beauty as Fraud

Screaming Beauty

How is it that anyone can look in the mirror these days without screaming? I mean, who can stand to look at her naked truth sans the benefits of airbrushing? We have a very high resolution camera in the office that we use for photo imaging and nobody, and I mean nobody, likes it. We are so used to looking at silky smooth computer-aided skin and perfectly sculpted features in ads and billboards that the mere sight of a blemish or, dare we say, imperfection is enough to send everyone running for the hills.

That’s why the recent Dove Real Beauty Campaign is so refreshing for people. You can check out one of their excellent and slightly shocking videos at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTb4hur4gYw

Now, coveting Beauty is not a modern pastime. The power of Beauty has frustrated and inspired people for as long as anyone has put pen to paper or paint to cave walls. Makeup, for example, can trace its history as far back as the Egyptian 1st dynasty (around 3000 B.C.) and it has never looked back. There are many complaints about modern makeup, but these pale in comparison to slightly older remedies that included everything from heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and poisons such as arsenic, nitric acid, coal tar and Belladonna. Our personal favorite was a combination of vinegar and cat dung that, when worn over the forehead, was meant to help reduce a rising hairline. During the Italian Renaissance, Aqua Toffana, created by the Signora of the same name, was a popular face powder to be used only when the husbands were around. Too bad it was made from arsenic. Signora Toffana was promptly dispatched from this Earth when authorities discovered several hundred dead husbands.

The idea that modern media has rewritten Beauty concepts is a bit of a stretch. Influenced? Sure. But, Beauty as a concept has spanned generations and transcends race and culture. Babies prefer to look at a beautiful face, when given a choice. The allure of Beauty, with or without media influence, is undeniable, and that will never change. That’s why restoring beauty, harmony, proportion and with these, confidence and happiness, is so rewarding for us.

Remember the phrase “She’s a rare beauty.” The main difference today compared to ages ago is that Beauty is so much easier to attain. And, if everyone is equally beautiful and Beauty is everywhere, it loses some of its fascination. So, maybe Dove has it right. Maybe our media images of Beauty should be Photoshopped.

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