Sunday 15 January 2017


Photograph free license by Steve Evans

A culture's concept of beauty is all about acceptance by the tribe. We all want to be told we are acceptable, and to belong.  

When I was growing up I thought I must be adopted. All of my immediate family had dark brown /black hair and blue/grey eyes. I had red, later auburn hair and green eyes. No one ever said I was beautiful in that family, so I felt I didn't belong. I was very shy. I remember this was a phase. When I met my cousins, some had the same colouring as I. 

I was looking at some top 10 teen hits the other day and I think this is a positive song for young people. 

You are beautiful - One Direction

Christina Aguilera -You are beautiful

Joe Cocker-You are so beautiful

Interview with my daughter, who is in her mid teens:

Q.  Do your friends think they are beautiful?

A. No. They all have issues and half of them think they're the worst. 

Q. What do their friends say about that?

A. It's a circle. Half of us at any given time are downing ourselves and the other half are trying to get ourselves out of our mood, then it just spins around. 

Q. What are they saying to cheer their friends up?

A. Well, we don't actually usually succeed in that, but we usually tell them the opposite of whatever they're going on about. 

Q. What are they complaining about?

A. Everything, they hate pretty much everything about themselves half the time. 

Q. What has made them be so hard on themselves?

A. Everyone's got a different story to that, and most of them don't say it. 

Q. Why do you think they don't say why?

A. Half of them go to the school counsellor. 

Q. Do you think music video clips are to blame?

A. No, they are not into mainstream. 

Q. Are they hipsters?

A. No, (laughing).

Q. What are they looking at that makes them feel not beautiful?

A. Themselves.


Running on empty said...

Please tell me your experiences.

Running on empty said...

Fizzfan said...

With the advent and rise of cosmetic plastic surgery comes the possibility for everyone to 'transform' themselves. The more commonplace it has become, the higher the beauty bar has been set. We've bought into a culture that is more damaging psychologically than it is physically beneficial. Youngsters are particularly vunerable to these pressures and I think it's very sad. The fad for the trout pout for example is completely bonkers, but it just shows how susceptible to suggestion us humans are. I admit that some famous celebrities do look amazing and some procedures can transform people's lives if they genuinely do have a disfiguring feature, but basically, we're distancing ourselves more and more from the natural human state and indeed reality. The net result is we are beginning to hate ourselves more and more. I say embrace the average with all its quirks and flaws. I have strong doubts that many of these procedures bring the transformations anticipated as probably many of them are more to do with psychological issues than physical.

Running on empty said...

I would have to agree with you, Fizz! I did some research to get the photo for the article, it seems there's been a focus on physical beauty through the centuries. Even slaves were checked over at the markets like racehorses are today.

I had a music student (who was gay) who was really angelically beautiful. He became a friend and wherever we went eyes, and sometimes girls, followed him. It was crazy. Hmm, I wonder if he kept up with his music. I think some beauties fret that their brains are not taken seriously. It just shows that we all have our worries.

Fizzfan said...

I knew a young girl once who was extremely pretty and everywhere she went and whoever she met, her beauty was commented on by adults. Her behaviour was one a spoilt brat and I wondered how much those constant unearned accolades had affected her and indeed would go on to. I don't think I've ever told a child they are pretty but I do praise their behaviour and also say if they look nice if they have taken an effort with their appearance. Human beauty is almost unattainable, pretty short lived and only skin deep. We value it far too much.

Running on empty said...

I'm afraid we are guilty there, we have told our daughter she is pretty and beautiful all her life. We also gave her other compliments. I did not want to withhold admiration like my parents did. She just rolls her eyes, lol. Since she doesn't study hard, or in some cases at all, she might need to earn some money at modelling, maybe as a student.

Yes, the media would have us believe that beauty is temporary, but I see beauty in all age groups. It's all about making the most of what you've got, and expressing oneself through clothes, makeup, hair, maybe tattoos.

Then there is the beauty within a giving soul. They are the ones children and pets gravitate to, as they see into the heart of things.

Fizzfan said...

I can see why you felt the need not to withhold that kind of praise from your daughter. My beef is when perfect strangers constantly comment on it to a child as I think it sends them a message that they are special just by virtue of what is basically just their particular gene mash up. It's not earned and other children hearing that and not receiving the same praise would always feel less 'worthy'. I think it has to be handled carefully according to the child and situation. I have said to my son he looks good when he's made the effort to groom himself, and ditto to friends when I like their clothes etc. I think I may be a bit odd but I've often heard people raving about how lovely someone is or indeed unattractive (or ugly) which is a hideous thing to say about anyone, I just never have a strong urge to express it. If I'm honest I very rarely see anyone that I think is actually physically beautiful but most people are on a spectrum of attractiveness in some way or other. Tom Hardy however does get my PHRWOARGH vote, but that's different!

Running on empty said...

It's good you encourage your son.

I looked up Tom Hardy because I only knew the novelist before. He doesn't grab me (the meaning of the phrase before The Donald , ) but do you think he looked better without the beard?

Fizzfan said...

Either with or without makes no difference to my FEELINGS! LOL. He can do no wrong as far as my extremely shallow PHWOARGH radar is concerned. He's kinda grown on me after a very good friend introduced me to him and we're currently watching a BBC series called TABOO (about government corruption in 1814 between the UK and USA) Begs the question is there such a thing as honour in politics and has there ever been?! Another reason I'm sold on him is that he's just read a story on a Children's Channel! Now you wouldn't get too many other A Listers doing that!

Running on empty said...

Well, if you've met him! Nudge nudge wink wink! ;)