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Passions in Poetry

Image society beauty and us

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brian madden
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since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


0 posted 06-18-2000 12:46 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

Inspired my Melissa's comment in response to a poem in Open 8 by Ashley I decided to post this question
or statement in Philosophy 101. While this will probably resolve nothing it should at least be the grounds for an interesting debate and bring the surface some important issues.  So cutting to the chase…


How can society define and judge beauty condemning some people to meaningless categories, pigeon holing them. Are we all just slaves to what society dictates, buying certain brands looking a certain way in order to fit in?  I know this may sound vague and be please read  "Maybelline Eyes" and "Prisoner" By Melissa Honeybee, "Sex symbol" by Ashely Cain, or even " Candy Heart" by me. This is not a sexist comment but there is more pressure put on women to comply to beauty standards. And who exactly sets these standards? And are we taking it all to seriously?  


Ok sorry about these wide sweeping vague thoughts but if Melissa or any one else would like to step in and make sense of what I am trying to say. OK looking forward to your answers, your thoughts.

“Vanity of vanities. All is Vanity.” - Ecclesiastes



------------------------
"Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time".

Baltimore Grotto

"To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

E.E Cummings.

"Art is a lie which makes us realise the truth." Pablo Picasso

"We Irish are too poetical to be poets, we are a nation of brilliant failures" Oscar Wilde


-----





doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


1 posted 06-18-2000 04:16 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

In America, men on Madison Avenue design women's fashions. They also photograph women and airbrush the photographs to make the woman's skin look more perfect, body look more slender, etc. This is an American thing. I don't think this type of so-called "beauty" is the ideal other countries portray. It's also cultural in regards to race, in America, at least. From what I hear, the black and hispanic population of women in America are more acceptant of their natural bodies & weight, than the white women. Why is this? Who knows. It's all advertising, I think, and all revolves around money. The white woman is portrayed in American advertising as slender and svelte, almost emaciated... long legs, tan, and with sculpted faces. Only recently has the buxom woman become the more popular. Through the 70-s & 80's, the "ideal look" which white  American models displayed was  pretty much skinny all over... no buxum women made the front page of Mademoiselle, for instance. Now, that image is changing and the way the "ideal" is displayed in advertising materials includes a full-figured bustline... but nowhere else. They look like barbie dolls. Real women don't look like that.

It's very sad because a lot of young girls attempt to achieve that look by starving themselves and becoming bulimic or anorexic. (sorry, can't spell those two words)... it's an "ideal" that is most difficult to achieve and these young women attempt to achieve it by threatening their own health.

Again, I believe this is all associated with money. Once the public becomes inundated with an "ideal" image, people end up buying products to try to achieve an impossible image. That's why they put these types of so-called "ideals" on every product being marketed. You can't get there. You can't look like that. But they make you beleive you can in order to sell products which are advertised to seduce you into believing they will help you achieve "this look".

Oh... and about the high heels... very high heels were designed so that women's calf and thigh muscles appear more prominant.. their legs appear longer and they can't run away... LOL... i'm laughing because I wear them myself because I've bought into it and love the look... maybe some nice gentleman will try to chase me soon and he'll win the prize.
hehe

thanks for bringing this subject up, brian. I'll look back to follow this thread.

   doreen

oh... final thought... according to Craig, all women in america are "american models"... all he knows about the image of an american woman is from Bay Watch, so he said... hehe... of course I look exactly like those women from Bay Watch, so I had a difficult time trying to convince him that most American women don't. Oh well.    

(this is how America advertises.... even people England and elsewhere believe what's being portrayed...so who am I to blow against the wind?.. *grin*)

[This message has been edited by doreen peri (edited 06-18-2000).]
Honeybee
Member Ascendant
since 12-26-1999
Posts 5512
Ontario, CANADA


2 posted 06-18-2000 06:44 PM       View Profile for Honeybee   Email Honeybee   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Honeybee


First, Brian, let me say thank you for posting this important topic for all to discuss.  And thanks for referring to my poems as well. Sit back and get your reading glasses on because I have a lot to say, what women doesn't have a lot to say anyways LOL Sorry girls, it's true, we just don't shut up sometimes      

Well, here goes, Doreen, unfortunately the same is true in Canada, not just the States.  I'm, ashamed to say it, but believe it or not, Pamela Anderson Lee from Baywatch or should I call it Boobwatch, she is Canadian, well, let me say that SHE is Canadian, but her body was purchased in the States.  I like to call her the living Barbie doll.

Unfortunately, so many women are slaves to society, dying, literally to be beautiful, to fit into the mold that society creates for them.  And while men also must fit a certain mold, society is more ready to crucify the woman who is not "perfect or gorgeous."  This is the day and age of the eating disorder, where visa cards are maxxed out purchasing the latest designer clothes, spiked high heels and makeup galore just for women to get attention or approval from men.
Women are so eager to become "plastic" just like Barbie.  And, that is a great tragedy right there.  And I can't scold women for this, because even I have fallen prey to society's standards - I wear the heels, the black short skirts, I have starved myself, overexercised, worn the concealor and the makeup and become obsessed with my appearance, just to fit in.  

Women are constantly reminded that Barbie is the perfect woman.  So, there we have it, the perfect haircolour is blonde, the perfect eyecolour is blue, the perfect waist is 24", the perfect lips are pouty and full, the perfect breast size is a C cup or even a D cup to make men happier, the perfect legs are long and slender with a hint of muscle, the perfect height is 5'9, the perfect body size is a size 2 or 3, and I say that the perfect ASS is anyone who still believes all that crap.  I don't want to have to change myself or sell my soul to be just like a Barbie doll or Pamela Anderson Lee or those waif models (Hey Kate Moss eat a big mac for god's sake).  I am Melissa, not Barbie, thank you very much, I may not be perfect, but I am myself.  We are all beautiful in our own way.  Being unique makes us who we are.  Maybe some features we dislike most about ourselves are the features other people truly admire. So, I say to every woman and man even, dare to be yourself, dare to love yourself, it's difficult I know, I suffered from eating disorders and major insecurity to conform, but, still be brave enough to love yourself flaws and all.

Most of the ideals are unrealistic anyways, no woman on the face of this earth can reach these ideals of perfect beauty.  Society is constantly bombarded with fashion magazines, runway models, diet pills, gimmicks, and the latest makeup.  Remember that these fashion magazines are telling you to be a lie, to be just like everyone else, not an individual with intelligence, dreams, unique beauty or ideas.  Even the models themselves can't live up to that image because that's not what they really look like.  Remember their photos are airbrushed with the right lighting, they wear concealor and girdles to suck in the little fat that they have, they are all great magicians.

In honour of this discussion, I will post my own story/essay in the "Passions in prose" forum entitled "Dying to Be Plastic: Society's Lust For Beauty" please read it if you're interested      

Take care,
Melissa Honeybee

"I'm sick of the masquerade.  I'm sick of pretending eternal youth.  I'm sick of belying my own intelligence, my own will, my own sex for the limelight.  I'm sick of peering at the world through false eyelashes; so everything I see is mixed with a shadow of bought hairs, of false happiness.  I refuse to be an impersonator.  I am a woman, not a Barbie doll!

Quote By Germaine Greer




[This message has been edited by Melissa Honeybee (edited 06-18-2000).]
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


3 posted 06-18-2000 07:47 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

UPROAROUS APPLAUSE!!!!!

{rising from my seat}

couldn't have said it better... melissa... you said it all!

now... here's the question... What can be done about it? How can we teach and show the young girls and women that this isn't real and that striving for it could hurt their health, both mentally and physically? How do we teach and show the young men and ALL MEN, that this isn't real and that striving for it could make them never satisfied with real women?

any ideas?

This is a great topic and again, I'm very glad you posted this, brian.

I'll be back later to check on this thread... gotta go put the batteries in "Cool Skatin' Barbie" for my daughter. I didn't buy it. Her father did.

LoveBug
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4 posted 06-19-2000 03:07 PM       View Profile for LoveBug   Email LoveBug   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LoveBug

Ok, I know I'm getting in late here, but I have some things to say.

As a 15 year old American girl, I deal with this issue every day. At school, my friends and I share a bag of chips... 4 ways. We talk about anything, about cars, boys, anything, to keep our minds off of our hunger and to try to ignore the guys surrounding us with their Big Macs and Quarter Pounders, happily eating away. True, I'm still not the thinnest girl in the universe, but the sad thing is that I wish I was.

Deep down, I know the truth. I know that beauty is a fleeing thing, and that even if I looked like Barbie, it wouldn't last. The realy beauty shines from within. I know this, but sometimes, it's easy to forget.

It seems, to me, that weight has become the scapegoat for everything wrong with my life. The guy that I wrote most of my love poems for left to go back to his country, and why did he reject me? I'm too fat for him, of course. Why didn't I get the big role in "The Aracoma Story?" Because, as the director put it "You don't fit the role, physiclly". The sad thing about this is that not all of it is just in my head.

You ask, "What can we do about it". Well, I honestly don't know. Everyone wants a simple solution, but there is none. How do you change the mindset of an entire society?

Well, I've rambled on enough, I think!  

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -Oscar Wilde
"The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief" -Shakespea
Honeybee
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since 12-26-1999
Posts 5512
Ontario, CANADA


5 posted 06-19-2000 04:05 PM       View Profile for Honeybee   Email Honeybee   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Honeybee


Well, Doreen posed the question "what can we do about it?"  To be honest, there really isn't anything that powerful or persuasive to convince the entire world that image  isn't everything and that we should all, media included, accept people, especially women for what's on the inside rather than their "beauty" on the outside. How can you change something that has been around since the beginning of time?  

Well, when I get married and have children of my own, I will be honest with them and try my best to teach them to love themselves for who they are.  But that can only go so far, society still can condition a child, a teenager and a young woman to believe that they have to conform to fit in and be liked, that beauty is the key to happiness, the best boyfriends, the richest husband,  the best jobs, the luxuries, etc (you get my point I'm sure)  And kids are way smarter than we think, I say even when they are young explain to them your experiences with these horrible ideals that society places on women.  While no one can eradicate society's obsession with beauty, we have to try our best to resist these pressures and trust in ourselves and teach our kids this.

So, I say, that in order to make progress we should have discussions such as this, talk to our kids, talk to anyone who will listen to this problem and slowly but surely there will come a time when the barbie doll image will fade away releasing women from this trap.  Unfortunately this will be a slow process.

I wish that I was Jeannie and I could just snap away this problem, but I can't,it's up to the next generation to make their own minds up.

Brian, Doreen, Lovebug is there anything else that we should discuss?  Let's keep this well-needed discussion alive!      

Take care,
Melissa Honeybee

P.S  Pamela Anderson eat your heart out, my boobs are real nah nah nah.  And I'm proud to be a brunette, I refuse to dye my hair blonde to get more attention from men.  BRUNETTE POWER RIGHT DOREEN!    

Hey Brian we have yet to hear from you!  Have us genius women intimidated you?  joking! LOL    




[This message has been edited by Melissa Honeybee (edited 06-19-2000).]
LoveBug
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6 posted 06-19-2000 04:59 PM       View Profile for LoveBug   Email LoveBug   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LoveBug

I think you have the right idea, Melissa. We're going to have to begin with the next generation, I think. Our generation is already broken, I do believe. Not that we should completely give up on ourselves. Change begins within. If we can change our mindsets, we have already improved our society a little. Our generation can be improved, but it's going to be much harder than it will be to instill certian beliefs and values within our children.  

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -Oscar Wilde
"The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief" -Shakespea
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


7 posted 06-19-2000 06:07 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

Melissa, you said, "How can you change something that has been around since the beginning of time?" which is at the very key of this discussion.

First of all, that's not really true. We weren't really around when Marilyn Monroe was  the "ideal" female image in the 50's. She was a size 14, btw. And she was quite "natural" in that her hourglass figure was "real", not enhanced (unless I don't know my facts correctly, but I think this is true).

That era was just a smidgeon of history... even long before the 50's, used to be that the "ideal" of beauty was a more natural, normal woman... witness Rubin's paintings (among others) of nudes, for instance, with a robust figure, smaller breasts than hips, a rounded belly. These were REAL women who modeled for artists who represented their beauty in a very real way. Slender women without a "roundness" to them (as today's models) were simply considered unattractive and unappealing. Culture and society were different then... women worked hard physically and bore more children then they do now. But the point is, the "image" set forth by society as what was socially acceptable as "beautiful" was different than it is today.

Ok, so what's happened? Like I said before, I truly believe it has a lot to do with advertising and money. If the people advertising products can project an image IMPOSSIBLE to obtain... if they can make the "ideal" of having the body of a 12-year-old prepubescent adolescent seem FEASIBLE to the public for women in their 20's, 30's, 40's, etc., then... they can sell products which elude the population into believing that this  image can be achieved.

Melissa and LoveBug, I think you both said some VERY important things about mindset and teaching our children and young ladies about the truth of all of this. But I do think we can do more.

To answer my own question, "What can be done about this?", I would first say, yes... speak out against this very wrong mentality to everyone you can in every way you can... especially children and young girls. But why can't we take it a step further?

I mean, why can't we boycott those manufacturers of products that most adamently try to persuade young girls? Why buy Jordache, for instance? Have you seen the commercials for Jordache on tv? Women are portrayed as waifs... emaciated beyond belief... they look 12 years old and they are in various stages of undress... The image they project is not only bogus, but disturbing. Very disturbing. I find those ads to be almost edging on child porn. And they are targeting an audience the age of LoveBug.

LoveBug, btw, I thought your statements about how you realized how beauty was fleeting were very mature and wonderful. You sound like a very intelligent young woman and whoever that boyfriend of yours is who left you... well, he didn't deserve you.

So... i digressed a little... but you get my point, I hope. We need to continually speak out about the bogus banter and IMPOSSIBLE image... we also need to start boycotting various products which play into this.

Third, maybe there's another thing we can do. Maybe we, as artists, can start bringing back the image of the REAL woman as beautiful. I don't know exactly how and i don't think any of this will happen overnight. These are just ideas which I think are one step better than throwing our hands up and saying nothing can be done.

This is a tough subject. I'm sitting here starving and ready for dinner and have a headache because I'm hungry, but I want to fit in my size 8 jeans. Go figure.

I'm going to get off here and go get my daughter some dinner. Then, when she asks, "why aren't you eating, Mommy?", I'll answer, "Because I'm not hungry right now".

Stupid image has got me, too.

Thanks, all, for listening and participating in this very important discussion.

Anybody else???

[This message has been edited by doreen peri (edited 06-19-2000).]
brian madden
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since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


8 posted 06-19-2000 06:17 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

Hi Melissa,

"Have us genius women intimidated you?"
no way. I posted a response to your dying to be plastic essay, and I think I covered my thoughts on the matter in response to the issue at hand. As a poet I have one response,

I posted this in Open 7 a few months ago.
It is an exploration of beauty and the means and price to achieve "beauty" wrote from the point of view of a woman. In case anyone is wondering I am not a male feminist, I think I might be a lesbian though LOL.  

Deconstructing Eve

I bruise easy: the price to pay
for the precious flesh I wear
taut on my petite frame,
I long for my skin to suffocate
as a Clingfilm cocoon.
Take care to paint me
gingerly erasing all blemishes.
Cleanse my skin,
deconstruct my form
or drain me if necessary,
for I am going to look beautiful,
tonight I diet: the sacrifice
to be wanted by their eyes.
No sweet cakes to churn bitter vomit.
No alcohol, for I can not lose focus.

You linger for hours unsure
of how to approach
such a splendid specimen,
unsure on which areas to
improve upon.
Ready the scalpels, skin grafts
and lasers,
consult diagrams and magazines
full of pictures of naked
beauties you used to
masturbate on,
now to be studied to perfect
this  fatal flaw.
When I am completed immerse
my skin in Vaseline for there
must be easy motion
on my lusted flesh: the price to pay
when reconstructing Eve.


------------------------
"We Irish are too poetic to be poets we are a nation of brilliant failures" Oscar Wilde

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


[This message has been edited by brian madden (edited 06-19-2000).]
Ron
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9 posted 06-19-2000 06:25 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I wish I had more time to give this topic the treatment I think it deserves. So often in these forums, I see something to which I would like to respond and, knowing I don't have the time, I put it off until I can find the time. And I never quite get back to it. Rather than do that to this one, because I think it's an incredibly important subject, I'm going to at least try to throw some ideas into the fray.

First, I don't disagree with anything that's been said. Physical beauty is vastly overrated. It's terrible the way women (people) are made to feel because they are less than perfect. Things desperately need to change, and quickly, before more young lives are lost or destroyed. I agree with everything that's been said. Unfortunately, I also think you are over-simplifying something that is vastly more complex, and perhaps attacking the symptoms rather than the cause.

Advertising, fashion, the media, and even the peer pressure of society are not omnipotent. I could cite hundreds of cases, from AT&T's video phone of three decades ago to the numerous dot com companies of more recent years, that have found it impossible to shove something down the public's face that the public just wasn't ready to adopt. Advertising and the media don't control society, but rather are a reflection of society. By and large, they give us exactly what we want. That's how they stay in business.

I personally do not think society is entirely at fault (though I recognize that advertising and the media don't help). I have some ideas on where the fault lies - but those will have to wait until I can find more time.

What do you think I'm going to say?
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


10 posted 06-19-2000 06:40 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

LOL!  

That's not fair, Ron! Quit teasing us! Out with it! Want us to try to read your mind??? ROFL...

Men!!!

hehe
Honeybee
Member Ascendant
since 12-26-1999
Posts 5512
Ontario, CANADA


11 posted 06-19-2000 07:20 PM       View Profile for Honeybee   Email Honeybee   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Honeybee


So far, everyone has had really intelligent, insightful things to say, hopefully more will join this discussion.

Hey "lesbian" Brian, you had me cracking up at that, your poem was excellent...as usual.

I agree with Doreen......Men!  Ron likes to tease us, just to get us to think.  But, my brain is fried right now, I'll think some more about this topic later  

Take care,
Melissa Honeybee
doreen peri
Member Rara Avis
since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


12 posted 06-19-2000 07:33 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

i've been seriously considering becoming a "lesbian nun" myself... but ... i don't want to make a "habit" out of dressing like that ... plus... i like being teased by men... and don't know exactly what it would mean to be married to god... the rest all walked out on me, y'know? LOL
*wink*

sorry, little bit of levity... very little...

more serious discussion on  this most serious issue, please... don't mind me... i'm unstable and confused
  



[This message has been edited by doreen peri (edited 06-19-2000).]
Honeybee
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since 12-26-1999
Posts 5512
Ontario, CANADA


13 posted 06-19-2000 09:54 PM       View Profile for Honeybee   Email Honeybee   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Honeybee


Hi everyone, I am not sharing my opinions this time, but I will next time okay!  Instead, I am posting a short story that I just wrote related to this discussion, I hope that everyone likes it and finds it an appropriate addition        


~*THE GIRl NEXT DOOR'S PRAYER~

     "Hi God, it's Sara, remember me?"  her soft voice quivered in despair.  "I'm the one who prayed to you for straighter teeth when I was 10, for larger breasts when I was 13, for you to make me Miss Popularity when I was 15 and prom queen when I was 17, and for thinner hips and thighs when I was 19, remember me now Lord?" the now old in her shoes 24 year old sighed.  "You've never answered my prayers, and to this day I don't understand why, why I am forced to be the cute "girl next door," why I have to be me, when you and I both know that's not good enough.  But, I have one last favour to ask of you, one last attempt, before I completely give up.  I know that you're very busy and all, but, please God, please make me beautiful."  Hastily, Sara shouted forth demand after demand to God, and He, patiently, listened until she was finished.  "God! I want long, sexy legs like Naomi Campbell's, long flowing, blonde hair like Christie Brinkley's - most men prefer blondes afterall, I want Helena Christiansens' small, perfect nose, I want a thin waist like Kate Moss', sculpted, sunken cheekbones like Christy Turlington's, I want a mole placed perfectly on my face just like Cindy Crawford's - I want to be unique just like her, and to have Pamela Anderson Lee's breasts and her full, pouty lips and make them look real!  Do you hear me God?  For once in my life, I want to be beautiful, so that a man, any man would love me, so that I could love myself.  I you answer this one prayer, I promise to never ask for anything again."  And so, once Sara had finished her lengthly list of all the things that she wanted God to change, He answered her prayer, and with an instant Sara became everything that she had hoped for.  In excitement, she raced to the mirror, and saw that her prayer was indeed, finally answered!  She became every woman who has ever graced the cover of a magazine, every model who has walked down a runway, every glamourous actress who shone bright on the movie screen, she was everything that society wanted her to be, finally free of the ugliness and loneliness that held her heart captive for so long.  Without hesistation, Sara grabbed her purse, rushed out the door, and partied until dawn, flirted with many men at the bar, was asked out for many dates and received many jealous stares from the other women.  No man cared about the person on the inside or her thoughts when she tried to have a conversation with them, they were all over her, drooling over her beauty.  They refused to see the real Sara.  But, that didn't bother her in the least, it was worth it to finally receive the attention and acceptance that she had waited her entire life for.  

When it was time to leave, Sara said her goodbyes, blew kisses and handed out her number to many men, she took a taxi home and the driver said "for such a pretty lady, the cab fare's on me."  Smiling, she walked into her apartment and skipped to her bathroom mirror to get another look of her new beauty.  She thought to herself:  "it will be like this for the rest of my life now!  Happiness! Finally, I am beautiful!"  Staring once again, into the mirror, looking deep into her own eyes, reflecting back the window into her soul, a reflection that never lies, Sara no longer recognized herself, her very own spirit.  Her eyes were blank, they possessed an emptiness  just like everybody else's.  All of her intelligence, dreams, fond memories, achievements, uniqueness...the very essence of who she was had vanished.  Still, with all this beauty, now a "perfect" woman, Sara had become drop dead gorgeous with long curled lashes, perfectly applied makeup, long beautiful blonde locks, a size 2 body wearing the latest designer fashions...but, it still couldn't hide the expression of a sad heart.  Now, Sara mournfully sings a prayer, begging God to make her the girl next door again.  Instead of crying for the person that she was, Sara now sits alone, still unloved, crying for the person that she has become, no longer unique, no longer Sara.  The years have passed, and now all Sara receives is silence, forced to live trapped in this mold of beauty.  I guess God knows what he's doing afterall.

*By Melissa Honeybee*




[This message has been edited by Melissa Honeybee (edited 06-19-2000).]
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


14 posted 06-19-2000 11:41 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Doreen,
What's a 'lesbian nun'?  
Certainly possible but seems a little hypocritical.

Melissa,
Intriguing story -- almost thought you were going to pull a 'Wishmaster' ending there where her body disappears and she literally becomes all the other people she mentions. Instead, your character seems to reflect what most people here are arguing against -- physical features and identity are, if not the same thing, intricately linked.

I don't disagree.  I do believe that one's identity is formed and reformed by the opinion of those around them, just not in any particular way or formula.  I also believe that any individual has some say in the forming of his or her own identity.

Nevertheless, I disagree that someone who is beautiful by any given society's standards is necessarily controlled by that beauty -- you can be beautiful and smart at the same time.

If media and advertising have so much power and influence in shaping the way you want to look, why have obesity rates in America increased so much in the last ten years?

Doesn't seem to be working very well.

Honestly, I don't think the emphasis on beauty is the problem. I think the problem lies in the idea of a permanent identity -- one thinks too much about what they should be  when they should be thinking about what they should do.

Brad


doreen peri
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since 05-25-99
Posts 8028
Virginia


15 posted 06-20-2000 12:14 AM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

Brad, you asked, "What's a 'lesbian nun'? Certainly possible but seems a little hypocritical."

Yep. Exactly. That was the funny part. You missed the funny part.     
Both words.. "lesbian" and "nun" have something in common because they have NOTHING TO DO WITH MEN. hehe... sorry... laughing... bad joke i guess... only thing is, I get it (unfortunately)... LOL...

Brad: "If media and advertising have so much power and influence in shaping the way you want to look, why have obesity rates in America increased so much in the last ten years?"

Well... because people CAN'T meet up with the "ideal" image... so they give up, end up overeating, or something... i'm sure it's much deeper than this, and i think this is a really complex issue

Brad: "Honestly, I don't think the emphasis on beauty is the problem. I think the problem lies in the idea of a permanent identity -- one thinks too much about what they should be  when they should be thinking about what they should do."

Very good point, Brad!!.... we should all think about who we really are inside and what we will do with our lives. Who we are shouldn't be associated, necessarily, with "appearance" and "perceived beauty" or an "accepted image", but instead with WHAT we are and what we do which is unique, creative, and particularly US. And that means... what we DO. Trouble is, there's too much emphasis in the culture on looks and weight, etc., which is why young women end up starving themselves and getting sick... just to try to meet that 'ideal'.

But this isn't an "identity" issue. This is an "image" issue. It's different.

And, it also has nothing to do with being "smart". Of course there are beautiful, smart women.

Well, I don't know if all this is clear or not...

thanks for listening.


[This message has been edited by doreen peri (edited 06-20-2000).]
JP
Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA


16 posted 06-21-2000 01:31 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Well, once again, I come into a discussion to find Ron already there and gone and saying most of what I wanted to say.... darn him all to heck!

I will however, stir the pot just a bit  

Doreen's first response to this discussion pretty much summed up one of the most pressing problems.  She basically began by placing the blame for the beauty focus on men on Madison Avenue - Men are at fault and big money is at fault.

What she has done is taken the power away from individuals of society and gave it to an untouchable 'they'.  Men are not at fault unless women/society, allow them to control.  Big money is not to blame unless women/society give them the power, and by placing the blame so readily on these well used targets, you have basically given away your will to power.

There is a school of thought (backed up by some pretty reliable research) that says that humans have a natural tendancy to gravitate to beauty.  Studies with newborns have shown positive changes in the autonomic nervous systems of babies when interacting with people whom society would consider beautiful, and opposite responses when interacting with not so pretty people.

The question may very well be:  Does society promote and emmulate what our bodies already recognize as the preferred?

One other point.  Why do women, and men, dress and diet to conform to what 'society' deems beautiful?  Do not 'ugly' people meet, fall in love, marry, breed...?  Why then the high heel shoes?  Why the starvation to force a enticingly plump body into a smaller dress size?  Why the teeth whiteners, hair colors, etc?  The answer is easy... It is not to find  a mate and be happy... it is to find a beautiful mate.

We complain because we think 'society' tells us we must be thin and beautiful and yet we spend our lives looking for that in others...


Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway
brian madden
Member Elite
since 05-06-2000
Posts 4532
ireland


17 posted 06-21-2000 01:59 PM       View Profile for brian madden   Email brian madden   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for brian madden

This seems to be a popular discussion at the moment, I heard on the radio that there is a debate/ discussion taking place in England on the whole subject. Teenage girls, designers and supermodels will be present to give their opinions. Maybe they will stack the buffet table up with donuts and finally feed Kate Moss.
A fashion editor for an Irish newspaper was interviewed on a radio chat show (Gerry Ryan 2fm). Her response was that sex sales and fashion is somewhat driven by sex. It explains the slender eye pleasing women who parade the catwalk. We are partly to blame. As a society we are addicted to the notion of perfection, that the shiny sports car will make us happy, that if we wear the same clothes as x celebrity, and if we have the same diet as Kate Moss we can look like her.
It is our vanity that keeps the business going but the problem is that the business is pushing it too far. We all know that" beautiful sexy" women sell, Elizabeth Taylor in her fresh faced years is a prime example as well as Marilyn.  These women became icons of beauty. Yet the problem is that the industry is pushing it too far.
They always take things to extremes, If slender sells then skeletal with sell even better.  I mean they now have diet shakes to help you lose weight. The fashion industry, as all of the advertising industry, is feeding on our fears and our need to belong. They are taking a stereotype we have created of beauty and they are selling back to us, improved and three stone lighter. So now we have a new image of beauty to aim for.  

As I was reading the responses to this discussion one thing kept surfacing in my mind.  "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis.  Ignoring any stigma attached with the extremes of this book (it happens to be one of my favourite books) it deals with a character obsessed with image and outer surfaces so much so that he soon believes that he is just an exterior, a shell with no humanity. As he is a slave to his society he is often mistaken for other people who dress and act similarly to him.  He only wears top labels. The body explores what our society is in danger of becoming if we let our vanity take over. Vanity is a natural instinct, we all want to look good and want people to like us but it is being pushed into extremes. We should nurture our internal beauty as much as our external beauty.

Anyway these my meandering thoughts on the subject.


------------------------
"We Irish are too poetic to be poets, we are a nation of brilliant failures." Oscar Wilde

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


[This message has been edited by brian madden (edited 06-21-2000).]
 
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