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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Size 0 Is So Overrated...

In what could be a first for the blog, this week’s Thursday Confession is going to be split into two parts over two separate days!

It wasn’t intentionally planned this way, but looking at what my intended confession for today was, and looking at the planned topic for Friday is scheduled to be, there are quite a few parallels between the two.  So, stay tuned over the course of the next 48 hours because this week will be a double confession.

To kick off the first part of this two-part event, I’d like each of you to take a look at this picture.

For those of you who have used Facebook or Twitter, you’ve likely seen this image floating around.  People have a whole slew of opinions regarding this picture, and my opinion will be shared in this blog entry.  After all, it ties in to my confession for today.

THURSDAY CONFESSION #15:  When it comes to physical beauty in women, I have this to say.  Natural beauty, healthy living, and having a positive attitude about aging gracefully are qualities I find incredibly sexy.

Women are being bombarded by images of what Hollywood declares to be “perfect”.  You see it all the time in film, television, magazines, and Times Square billboards.  But in recent years, we’re seeing a rather shocking and alarming trend.

Take the image that I posted up above.  I want all of you to study the top row of that photo.  On the top row, you have from left to right, Heidi Montag, Nicole Richie, Keira Knightley, and Kirsten Dunst.  Do you notice something in common with all of them? 

This seems to be a common trend with the media.  Over the last twenty years, it seems as though actresses and models are a lot slimmer than normal.  When I was growing up, I think that the main supermodels were Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington.  Certainly all three in their prime were quite stunning (and for that matter, still are as of 2012).  But, when you compare those models to the likes of Nicole Richie and Keira Knightley, they almost appear like they are plus-size models in comparison.

And, that’s not a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Now, granted, I realize that people do come in all shapes and sizes, and have differing metabolisms.  It’s entirely possible that the people up on the top row are just naturally slim.  I knew someone who had the same build that ate constantly, and just couldn’t gain weight.  That’s not exactly what I’m concerned about.

My concern lies with the fact that the world of fashion and cosmetics seem to have the idea that this is the “norm”.  According to Hollywood, it’s perfectly “normal” to wear a size zero and weigh less than ninety-seven pounds.  Or, at least that is the impression that I seem to get by watching television in recent years, anyway. 

But this way of thinking isn’t normal at all.  It’s not normal for the vast majority of women out there in the world.

The quest for perfection in Hollywood is in my opinion an impossible dream.  There’s no way to achieve perfection, and those who even try to achieve it usually end up getting hurt.  There have been so many cases of people developing eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, and some have even died from these diseases (such as Karen Carpenter pictured above).  The abuse of over-the-counter diet pills can also be stemmed from the impossibly high standards of the entertainment industry.

The end result for some of these women is frankly, quite disappointing.  Sure, they’ve managed to squeeze into a tiny dress, but in many photos I’ve seen, it’s not very flattering.  In some cases, they have gone way overboard, and look as if they are dead on the inside.  And to me, I don’t find anything beautiful about women killing themselves to attain a standard of beauty that at the most, only 1% of the global population can realistically achieve.  Frankly, I am more disturbed than turned on.

Now compare the images on the top row of the picture to the images on the bottom row.  In case you’re wondering, the women on the bottom row are Bettie Page, Shirley Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe.  Granted, I realize that this is just my own personal preference, but I find the images on the bottom to be much sexier than the images up top.  The reason why I feel this way?  Well, I admit that it’s more of a personal opinion than fact, but I’m going to come out with it.  The women on the bottom row look much healthier, and their natural curviness makes them look absolutely gorgeous. 

Yes, everyone has their own idea of what true beauty is, and I’m sure that some men would look at any of these women and find them absolutely sexy.  I just happen to like women who have curves, and don’t mind showing them off.  I’d rather see a woman shrug off the fact that she has a few extra pounds on her frame than to see her end up killing herself trying to achieve a body image that is near impossible to get.

On that note, this brings me to my next argument.  Many women (and even a few men) have gone under the knife to have cosmetic surgery in order to look anywhere from four to forty years younger than they really are. 

As far as my attitude towards plastic surgery goes, I admit that I have mixed feelings about it.  I do admit that there are some cases in which I support plastic surgery.  If you’re badly burned, have a tattoo that you want removed, or elect to get reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, I’d consider those to be great reasons to go under the knife.  I’d even support someone going in for plastic surgery if they had a positive attitude about it, and if they were getting the work done for themselves and not for anybody else.  I also respect people like Jeanne Cooper from “The Young and the Restless” for showing viewers the realism behind the surgery.  In 1984, when Cooper announced that she was getting a face lift done, it was decided that her character, Katherine Chancellor, would get one too, and the show actually showed the procedure on air!  

So, I admit that there are some understandable reasons why people have consulted with plastic surgeons.  But for the most part, I don’t believe that most women NEED to have it done at all.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but whatever happened to aging gracefully?  To me, what I find beautiful about people of an older demographic are those people who are proud of every line, wrinkle, and age spot they have developed through the years.  Sure, they might try to conceal them with age defying creams and cosmetics, but at the end of the day when the make-up comes off and the lines and wrinkles remain, they tell the story of a life well-lived. 

I find that beautiful.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate a beautiful woman as much as any guy here...but I also have a soft spot for real natural beauty.  Actually, I want to change that.  I get incredibly turned on by natural beauty.

It really saddens me that some women feel a need to enhance their already beautiful selves with plastic surgery.  If you want a perfect example of what I mean by this, look at Heidi Montag.  I’ll admit that I never watched “The Hills”, so I never knew who she was until a couple of years ago.  Two years ago, Montag’s name was plastered all over entertainment magazines and news shows detailing the near dozen procedures she had TWENTY-THREE years old!  Twenty-three!  I’m of the mind that most 53-year-old women look fine without surgery, let alone twenty-three!  The really tragic thing about Heidi Montag was that before she had the work done, she was absolutely stunning.  Now, I feel that the natural beauty she once had is now lost and replaced with a manufactured, plastic look.  To many men, I imagine that she is still gorgeous, but unfortunately, I liked her old look.

But, what do you expect from a world where shows like “Entertainment Tonight” do entire exposes on celebrities who have cellulite?  Who cares?  Cellulite is not contagious, nor should it be treated like it is a form of leprosy!  Everyone has it.  Hell, I’ll bet I have it!

(Not that I’m going to post photographic evidence of that fact, as I don’t want to scare any followers of this blog away.)

Believe it or not, as a man, I have also experienced the pressure to look a certain way.  It’s not just women who get bombarded by images of “perfection”.  We men get it as well.  If we don’t have hairless bodies, 6-pack abs, or look good in a tiny black Speedo, then we best kill ourselves right now.  Doesn’t that sound absolutely ridiculous to you?  I know it does to me!

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I do believe that society puts too much pressure on us to look a certain way.  I realize that we all have our own ideas about what a “good-looking” person is, and that they all differ.  But, that’s what’s beautiful about it.  In the end, we all have something inside ourselves that can be called beautiful. 

I have the utmost respect for anyone who can take any flaws they may have, and embrace them to their fullest.  And really, if they see their snaggletoothed smile as beautiful, does that really make it flawed?  I don’t see it as such.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I find people who can look at themselves in the mirror and love themselves for who they are no matter what size they are, or how many scars they have, or how much (or how little) hair they have to be absolutely amazing.  I believe that the true beauty in all of us comes from within.  If we can find a way to love ourselves for who we are, then I find that incredibly beautiful.

That’s the conclusion of Part One.  Part Two begins tomorrow, where we examine a popular reality show that I’m not really a fan of, mostly because it seems to go against the opinions of true beauty that I have shared with all of you today.  But for now, it is...

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