Friday, 5 February 2010

Plastic Fantastic?

When I read the article in the March edition of UK Marie Claire on the perception of beauty in Argentina, my blood ran cold. It made me scared and sad for future generations, to be brought up in a society where bodily perfection doesn't seem to be a distant dream but near enough compulsory. Where writing a shopping list for plastic surgery is pretty much normal and 3 year olds are being treated for eating disorders. What kind of madness is that? When I was born plastic surgery was more or less unheard of on a purely cosmetic "just because I feel like it" basis, now it seems to be normality. We're pushing the boundaries of perfection, constructing robots and building the foundations for a society where looks really do mean everything.

Its funny, because magazines, television, all of that try to make out that "otherness" is acceptable. Shows are applauded for being all-embracing and pushing out representations of anything that is less than normal. What is normal anyway? Take 'How to look good naked with a difference' shown on channel 4 in the UK the past few weeks. In that they tried to encourage a high street store to feature an ad campaign with a girl in a wheelchair. Stuff like that shouldn't be groundbreaking, it should be everyday. It echoes that of a circus charade, a spectacle. Why is it taking shows like this to put it out there? This is the 21st century yet we don't seem to have moved on that much in some ways from the 19th century. The word otherness in a sense doesn't exist, because really there is no us and them.

We try to kid ourselves that we're non-judgemental but we're not really. Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of it as much as anyone else. I read somewhere, that the only reason we worry what other people think of ourselves is because we know how critical we can be about other people. Maybe people seeking some form of perfection have got it right. We all want to feel good about ourselves and if that means changing every part in extreme ways, then so be it. It just seems a sad way for us all to go.

In a conversation with a friend the other day, she made a comment about not wanting to hear about somebody else's problems. And I guess that too is also true and goes hand in hand with maintaining a polished and perfected exterior. But what about whats going on inside? Its that no longer relevant? Glossy, gleaming, forever young appearances disguising chipped and destroyed interiors. A world full of perfectly messed up people. Currently we choose to escape to the glossy land of magazines where everything is wonderful and the flaws are removed, offering a world that is in reach if you have the wealth and even that is changing. Yet it seems a little too much like sticking our head in the sand.

Some of the comments in that Marie Claire article scared me. The amount of pressure to be perfect, or virtually outcast otherwise seems so wrong. Our present selves maybe in quest of perfection but where is that going to lead in the future?


  1. oh, this is so moving and upsetting to think that girls as young as three are worrying about their bodies so much, they shouldn't even be thinking about things like that, i find it really scary how the future generations will grow up thinking they need to be perfect.

    p.s. i have changed my blog link and name to the sea ghost (i used to be teacups and bows) xx




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