The fact that the media portrays unrealistic people isn’t a new epiphany. But what may be is the fact that we, the people who are lamenting and criticizing the way media is portrayed, are the ones who are allowing it to continue. How? Because as long as we keep buying into the marketing campaigns that aim to make us feel as though we won’t be complete without that new-improved-life-changing thing, we are making those campaigns work. We are validating that this is what we want to see. And as we buy diet pills and hair dye and expensive clothing to look like those people, we are showing the media that they are indeed giving us what we want.
The media is only a reflection of what will interest us most, what will make us turn our heads and pay attention, and therefore garner the most attention, income and (what else) power. I’ve worked in media for a few years, and I can tell you that what goes on the front page of the newspaper is what’s going to make people pick it up.
So, anyway, I digress. My point: I propose we redefine beautiful. To hell with the idea that beautiful is thin and white and long haired and flawlessly skinned. Why does it all have to be physical? What does being thin and white and long haired say about someone? That they are Caucasian in ethnicity, don’t eat much and don’t get their hair cut? The people we love are the people who are most beautiful to us. Because beautiful does not have to be physical. Actually, if you ask me, inner beauty speaks infinitely more, and is so much more striking and powerful.
So let me tell you what I think beautiful is. What real, deep, inner beauty is. Beautiful is the woman who keeps her head up and is proud of her body, just as it is. Beautiful is the man who has to hide his gay lover from his judgmental parents, but who loves, regardless of what the world will think. Beautiful are the women who buy the jeans that fit them, not the ones they hope will fit one day; the people who wear what they want because they like it. Beautiful are the people who choose love. Beautiful are the people who allow their bodies to be their temples and canvases, and who create their outer beings to reflect their inner. Beautiful are the people who hurt and feel insecure and make mistakes—but rise above, and find confidence and admit when they’re wrong. Beautiful is you and me. Beautiful is everyday. Beautiful is the struggle and the triumph, and beautiful is the understanding how necessary the struggle was. Remember that the next time you feel hopeless. Beautiful is loving yourself enough to know you’re worth more than feeling inadequate.