Monday, October 13, 2008

Horse's Mane

The idea of beatuy has crossed my mind a lot recently. How we put value on beauty and how we define beauty. I realize there are extreme in depth studies on this subject and I am not even remotely starting to scratch the surface of the subject. Though I have thought of it none the less.

In my philosophy class I took a year or so ago we discussed how beauty is very influential and powerful. Studies have shown that many small children and sometimes even babies perfer more "attractive" people over their counterparts. This is not just a child thing, there have been studies that have shown that many presidents of the United States have been chosen based on attraction. I find it frieghtening that presidents have been chosen not for what they stand for or how they will serve the country but rather on their appearance. This is also mildly disturbing for people like me who don't always fit the world's definition of attractive. I'm not tall and leggy, I don't have flawless skin by any imagination and I have a fivehead (not a forehead). If attraction is so influential, then those of us who don't fit the bill have to work double time to try and compete with those who have it easier.

Then there are thoughts of how the key must be confidence. Others are more attractive because of confidence. That may be why babies like them better, they feel more safe and reassured because whomever they put their trust in has confidence. Presidents that look unsure of themselves are not only unattractive but who wants someone who isn't sure of themsleves. That being said, I think that is only part of it. I realize that truly gorgeous people can be self-concious and what not, though I do think they have an advantage in the confidence department.

I realize that even if I don't fit the world's definition of beautiful...I am beautiful. Not to say this in a cliche way. I truly believe this though. Not just in the "yes, you are beautiful on the inside" or the Proverbs 31:30 (Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but the woman who fears the Lord should be praised)...though I find these to be true as well. Beyond the inside out or the way I live my life, I truly think I am beautiful. I think every person holds a unique and intrinsic beauty that cannot be reckoned with. What we often refer to as beauty is actually attraction. Everyone holds a beauty made up of their flaws, quirkyness, their being completely unique and the fact that we were all made in the image of G-d.

I realized this a couple years ago. I was shooting photographs of women who I deemed influential in my life. As I looked through the lens at my mom, I focused on her eyes and realized that they were enhanced by the beautiful wrinkles around her eyes that were caused by smiling, frowning and every other emotion. When I showed her the photograph that I thought was so beautiful, she shuddered and told me to get rid of it or to do my "photoshop magic." You see attraction is based on the beholder not beauty. I know of several guys who find Paris Hilton to be extremly attractive and I know an equal amount who don't. I am attracted to certain types of guys while my friends have totally different attractions. I can find someone to be beautiful without being attracted to them.

Sometimes it is the flaws that make us beautiful. There are certain Native American groups who would make a flawless tapestry and would purposely mess up a few rows because it would more beautiful and true to life. This idea of being perfect is so unappealing to me. And no this is not a cop out to make me feel better. It is something I have thought of. Ontop of that I dislike the idea of comparing yourself to someone else because we are all unique and it doesn't make sense to say one is better than the other.

The idea of comparing was thought of with Dolly Parton's song Jolene. (Featured on NPR)

WORD OF THE DAY: ambivalent

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