Friday 4 January 2008

Don’t be a yo-yo victim of the Beauty Bullies!


Each year before Christmas we are bombarded by a barrage of industries’ nagging advertising campaigns, persuading us that we are beautiful beings who deserve to wear the finest jewellery, the most expensive shoes; to eat vast amounts of the most luxurious of foods; to drink oceans of beer and rare vintages of wine and generally indulge in all manner of excess.
Then, after New Year, we annually find ourselves assaulted once again, under attack from several different industries trying to convince us that we made a terrible mistake; that we are in fact gross, ugly and fat; sick in mind and body; that we must lose weight, detox and clean up our acts.
The only requirement placed upon us at subjects (sic) of the consumer society is that we consume. Trouble is, if we behave like good little citizens, buy loads of shit, and adhere to the imperatives of the bottom line, (the gross and net margins), we become nothing more than merely the other half of the equation that creates profit:
Industry creates, we consume and somebody gets rich.
Human beings are expendable links in this chain. It doesn’t matter if we become obese or anorexic. The angles are covered by products on the shelves.
Well, right now, I want to detox, to cleanse my life of this selfish greedy society.
I’ve just spent a few fascinating minutes sitting on the loo, reading a little freebie red top tabloid magazine called ‘Individuelle’.
Under a subtitle declaring itself a ‘Beauty Essentials Magazine’ the front cover promises:
‘Lose inches in an hour.’
‘Bigger breasts without surgery.’
Despite its name, ‘Individuelle’ is clearly concerned with anything and everything apart from individuality, steering its readers away from beauty, and into the murky mediocre world of homogeneity, where all of us look the same, or at least, for some godawful and as yet unknown reason, aspire to.
The mag leaves me with a really nasty taste in my mouth, and no, I didn’t munch it, but I did feel like screwing it up and chucking it into the recycling.
Instead I kept it to share it with you, because the perception of beauty is important.
We are a beautiful species.
Although I may have been in my dim and distant past, I’m no longer an inveterate slut, but still when people ask me if I fancy a woman, I invariably say ‘yes’, because, well, because I just think women are beautiful.
Even though the stuff that goes on between their ears remains a mystery equal only to the fascinating words that spill from their mouths, I find it easy to fancy all women: tall short thin fat white black brown and yellow.
Blokes aren’t bad either, and despite being a straight as the next man, (often that ‘next man’, however hairy chested, macho and GAA he might like to appear, has actually got a whole loada woman going on inside him that he tries his manly desperate darndest to ignore) I am able and willing to admit that I can spot a pretty boy and a handsome bloke as well as most birds.
Sometimes, I get it completely wrong, and to this day cannot fathom what the fuss over Brad Pitt is all about, but I can see clearly why George Clooney and Jose Mourinho are considered handsome.
But so are you, and you and you, yet to believe ‘Individuelle’ and the industry it belongs to, we must each consider ourselves loathsome.
Flipping the pages of ‘Individuelle’ we travel swiftly through the need for whiter teeth toward something that is ‘Better than Botox’.
Next up is a tablet that will increase your breast size, followed by a scary-sounding hair retardant spray that will nuke your body of any trace of its natural mammalian fur.
There are pills that will have the fat falling off you and potions that will make your spider veins disappear.
If you put on a Detox Foot pad your liver will somehow magically shed its poisonous load onto the tiny bandage overnight.
Your life is apparently meaningless without a décolleté patch, breast enhancer, underarm sweat shield and something called an EasyLife Speed Shaper, while your HairPro laser zapper gun will encourage hair to grow once again where it has given up the ghost.
My eyes start to swim as I read about cold sores, stretch marks and fake tans. Bloody hell, an alien who picked up this maglet of tripe would imagine humans to be a complete bunch of mingers.
This magazine is not about beauty at all: it’s dedicated to making you feel ugly and disgusting, and whoopee, it just so happens that right now so many companies out there want you believe that you are in desperate need of a makeover, inside and out.
Well, this colyoom says screw ‘em.
Their hypercritical and bullying tactics seek to destroy your self esteem.
If you believe, you will be worshipping at the altar of an industry that treats you as a victim; an industry that insists on pointing out every thing it considers ‘wrong’ about you: (and here I quote from another tabloid freebie simply entitled ‘Beauty’):
‘You want a cleavage that makes other women jealous.’
‘You want a facelift.’
‘You want serious pouting power.’
But do you?
Do you need to look like everybody else, when you have your own unique beauty, that nobody else can buy?
Why am I on my high horse about this? Of course, we need the freedom to do what we want with our bodies, but by participating in this narrow-minded perspective on beauty, we have created a culture where a narrow band of beauty is held in such esteem that it has become more important than our own humanity.
This selfish beauty is insidiously eating away at values that humanity demands be kept intact.
Everyone in Galway remembers the tragic murder of 17 year-old Swiss student Manuela Riedo last year.
But ask yourself this:
Would you have cared as much, or felt so much remorse, had the murdered woman been a fifty year-old alcoholic homeless person, whose pockmarked aged and decrepit face looked like the back end of a bus after a rear-end collision?
Be honest.
Come on, wasn’t it easier to mourn Manuela, because she looked good, in a conventional way?
Now tell me that one life is more important than another, and I will leave this place and pay someone to wax my crack back and sack.

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