As I flip through the pages of glossy women’s mags, I’m overwhelmed by the relentless fire of ads that tell me my skin is not smooth enough, how to reverse the aging process for fear of wrinkles, how my hair is not shiny sleek enough and how at 30something, only surgery will flatten my stomach to its prepubescent splendour.
What is interesting is that the very industry, (yes see $$s!) that consistently manufactures and churns out the latest version of universally acceptable ‘cause-they-say-so’, airbrushed images of beauty is turning in on itself.
It seems there’s a new beauty code that is being subtly infused into our psyche through the very same ads. Now, they tell us – all that that they said was beautiful is no longer en vogue. Infact, quite the opposite!
What does this mean? During a recent chat with a casting agent friend, she, a buxom beauty herself, gleefully told me that the ad creatives are now looking for regular looking people. There’s a trend in the ad industry to place people that look like, guess what? You and I!
At last, I hear you cry, as your heart leaps – at least now there’s a chance that you may just be socially acceptable? Now surely, more of us can play the glamour stakes? Are they saying that cellulite orange peel skin and stretch marks are no longer such a vanity offence after all?
In South Africa, many women naturally possess what are probably the most sexy genetically enhanced hourglass figures on the planet. Natural hi-riding bumpers that would send J Lo running to the surgeon, trimmed with neat shapely waists are the inherited beauty of many this side of the world.
However, as the diet and beauty industry tightens its grip, women from girlchild to the 40somethings try to shear off nature’s inches as they squeeze voluptuous thighs into skinny drainpipe jeans- all the range in the fashion world yes– until they tell us its something else!
Meanwhile, the sisters are burning up on the inside as they edge further along a self-effacing path to never being good enough. How much longer are we going to allow the beauty industries to dictate our standards of beauty and raise the insecurity bar while making so much money out of us?
Yesterday it was waif-slim, today, its regular Joe and Jenny and tomorrow- who knows?! Just where is this beauty and the beast syndrome coming from. Is it all imposed on us or are we making poor judgement calls when it comes to packaging and asserting our God-given assets as beautiful.
Seems to me that every time we invest in a new anti-cellulite cream or decide to follow the latest fad diet we co-sign on the agreement to keep feeding a beast called unworthiness within us. Do we really need the beauty industry to package ‘real women’ for us to consume all over again? A resounding NO! We’re already the real deal and we love us!