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How do we fix the beauty monster?

April 9, 2011

There is not easy fix for the monster that we have created. We’ve turned beautiful girls into young women thinking that they have incurable problems. The beauty monster starts by only nipping at the toes of little girls while they try on mommies lipstick so they can be just as beautiful as she is. This cycle of girls and beauty continues with the presence of Disney princesses showing and proving that only the pretty helpless girl gets a man. We encourage this behavior as a society and tend to forget that the implications can be catastrophic.

We’ve all played a role in making this monster. Whether we watch movies that objectify women (Milburn) or we buy from a store whose advertising campaign is targeted towards being thin. When we make decisions to do things like this we are feeding this beauty monster. No matter how we look at it we’ve creating something that is out of control. But, there are ways to fix it.

Women that saw the picture above wrote to Glamour magazine in the hundreds and talked about how it was the most beautiful picture they have ever seen. Readers were able to identify with a model for the first time in most of their lives. These readers got a chance to experience being accepted for who they are.

The proverbial example from American Beauty about what beauty is is probably the best example. We see our beautiful blonde cheerleader as the beauty in the film and then later we realize that she isn’t the one the title is referring to. The culminating moment in the film is when Ricky tells the blonde cheerleader that she is not beautiful “And you’re boring, and you’re totally ordinary, and you know it.” (IMDb). The quote implies that beauty is far more than being pretty. He shows that you can be pretty on the outside but still be an ugly person. This movie won five academy awards.

No matter what way we have fed the beauty monster it’s time to starve it. We need to quit forcing little girls to play with pink toys because it furthers the gender dichotomy and, in the end, it forces girls to see only one path to femininity, that one through long blonde hair and pink high heels (Smithsonian). We need to quit supporting a movie and television industry that feels it’s acceptable to make date rape a joke. And as a whole, we need to stop defining beauty as a box that we can put people in. Beauty is only skin deep.

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