30 June 2012

Beauty in uniformity?

These days my house is festooned with supermodels! I have made the switch to haute couture and kilos of make-up. Well, that may be an exaggeration; I bought a dress for the recent wedding I attended, and it was delivered with a concomitant flyer, adorned with two ladies of most decorative qualities. And these ladies, as out of place as they were in my somewhat unmanicured house, provided some interesting insight. 

The first bloke who laid eyes on the picture figured it was a photoshop. And I think it was, to a certain extent; we all know how airbrushed such pictures are. But he didn't mean their perfect skin or long elegant necks; he simply thought it was the same girl twice! When I said it was two ladies he thought I was kidding. I must say I struggled to point out the differences; one has slightly rounder eyebrows and marginally differently shaped lips and teeth. All these models are selected on the same beauty criteria, and I think some personal characteristics simply get airbrushed away. So you can't tell the difference between these ladies anymore! 

It's not only models: other entertainers receive the same treatment. I remember once hearing a comment about a music video, which made it instantly make sense. It featured a gentleman who cheats on his girlfriend, and then gets murdered by her. But as all these singers and actresses look the same as well, I hadn't noticed that there were two different women in the video... 

This, by the way, is not a pamphlet against the beauty industry. I think it's good to pick beautiful people for photo shoots, and the airbrushing is fine with me too. If you are confronted with a more than life-size near-naked lady on a poster at a bus stop she'd better (pretend to) have perfect skin. These people should look better than you and I; it's their job! I want my dentist to be better at dentistry than you and I too (my apologies to any dentists reading this.) And if his dentist skills are very good I think it's fine if these of the next dentist are indistinguishable from his. And I know models get the blame for a lot of self esteem issues in, mainly, young girls, and for eating disorders too, but I think it's a better idea to try to give these kids mental resilience in the face of both beauty and ugliness, than to try to shelter them from people they consider prettier than themselves. Not an easy task, but I think the only good way with dealing with the issue. But, bringing this back to the models; it does sometimes mean one needs one's scrutinising taxonomist's eye to see the different between different specimens of this subtype of the human species!

The ladies that accompanied my newly bought dress

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