Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

What is beauty?

One time I was talking with some middle school kids after having shown them this video. The responses were so interesting. One boy, looking at the finished product, said, “So, she doesn’t exist.” A girl said, “No wonder we all feel bad about ourselves. There’s no way to really look like this.”

I find it interesting that the beauty and advertising industries have sold us a bill of goods that says to be valuable, we must look like this, only to realize it’s impossible.  I wonder how many adult women still struggle with the desire to meet these unattainable goals? Research has shown that when adolescent girls look at fashion magazines or watch commercials depicting the “thin” ideal, they report lower self-esteem and more disatisfaction with their bodies.

So why do we buy into this? Why don’t we just say, “we don’t want to see this anymore”? I’ve read articles and seen media refute this claim. They say that we, as conumers, want this unrealistic imagery. That we expect it. That fashion, for example, is all about fantasy. Well, I disagree. I’d love to see healthy, adult women in beautiful clothes to give me an idea of what I might look like in them. I enjoy fashion, but I know that I’m not going to look like a 15 year old, 90 pound, 6 foot tall model in any of those outfits. The “thin” ideal is unhealthy, for everyone involved.  I think it’s time for all of us to stand up and say, “no more.”

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