Faces of Beauty

I find I needed to return to the issues surrounding women and our fascination with beauty, more importantly society’s fascination with it. This is particularly important to me, as a woman in my 50’s, not even my early 50’s but hitting the very center of the mark this year. I look at our world, the young women who represent ‘beauty’ in the media and realize it is a rare thing indeed for one of them to be a natural beauty, to not have had some part of themselves changed in some way shape or form. By the time they hit thirty they are already chasing ‘wrinkles’ and in fear of aging.

What? Really? It just makes me want to shake them by their shoulders till their brains rattle, but then I think to myself, it is very likely their brains are already rattled and my intervention would do little to no good.

There was a time we venerated beauty in its natural state, with a fair degree of variety and acceptance there were differences among us. Every nose wasn’t perfectly straight and narrow, every face wasn’t perfectly symmetrical; indeed part of what defined beauty was its uniqueness. This is not to say they weren’t helped along by great lighting, perfectly applied make-up and of course, tight foundation pieces, they were nonetheless beautiful.

       

 Gina Lollabrigida (sodahead image)

 Barbara Stanwyck (sodahead image)  Lauren Becall     (sodahead image)

 Betty Grable       (sodahead image)

Something has been so firmly entrenched in our psyche over the last few decades we believe the hype, we believe we can stop time, stop gravity and if we don’t do so we will be somehow “less”. Now we have so corrupted our standard, so devalued women in their natural beauty many of us will do anything to stave off aging and pursue a version of perfection that leaves us disfigured forever.

     
 

 Lisa Rinna          (Sodahead image)

 Priscila Presely   (Sodahead image)  Jenna Jameson (BestandWorst Image)

 Dontella Versace      (zinbio Image)

We come to a time when even young women willingly inject a homogenized form of Botulism into their faces, that’s right a lab created version of the Black Death, into their faces in the hope of staving off the natural progression of age. What is wrong with society that we have gone to such lengths to convince an entire gender they are simply not good enough as they are and by doing so not only stripped them of their confidence but created a billion dollar industry.

Consider, though created in labs this is in fact what we inject into our bodies in pursuit of youth and beauty.

 
Five days after sustaining a compound fracture of his right arm, this 14-year-old boy noticed that he had blurred vision. Four days later, he could not swallow, move his lips, or protrude his tongue. Other findings inc)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Botulism1and2.JPG

Honestly, give me a bit of growing old gracefully and with a small bit of panache. Maybe even a little vinegar and vim. Let me please, just be able to squeeze my jiggly parts into some spandex and even if I have to lower the number of inches on my heels, let me still be able to put my feet into them and sashay for special occasions please. Let me not be so afraid to age I inject poisons into my proof of a life lived, freezing my face forever into a portrait straight out of Madam Tussauds Wax Museum.

In fact, let me emulate a true woman and lady:

   

 Betty White, 1955 (Sodahead Image)

 Betty White, 2010 (Wikipedia Image)

Let me count my wrinkles with relish, enjoying that I earned them! I did stupid things before I knew they were stupid, playing in the sun, riding my bike down steep hills and building sand castles on beaches so I could watch the rolling waves wash them away. I traveled, often getting lost in strange cities only to find the greatest bistros and bars. I drank Mescal straight from the bottle on star lit pyramids in Mexico, even eating the worm once. I have a antique sea chest filled with photo albums of nearly 40 years of life lived, life that is etched into memory and will someday be etched into my face and other body parts. A body that has already certainly felt the affects of gravity much to my constant dismay.

I ask only that I age gracefully in heart and spirit, retaining some humor please. Maybe also this, when I am finally tired.

Front Porch Ideas (Image)

Comments

  1. I LOVED this post. Sorry to yell.
    Betty White looks superbly amazing. I sure had my days of overprocessed permed hair, too much makeup, too much sun and uncomfortable clothes that I thought looked fabulous. Natural or at least a bit of all the extras to help highlight the natural is far more beautiful then what is going on now. There’s no photoshop in real life so we have to value and preserve what we have.

    • Sorry for the delay in my reply (aarrgh).

      I love Betty White, she is such a grand old dame (loving said).

      Suspect we all had our days. I am a true Texan, there were the 70’s and 80’s when we still believed the bigger the hair the closer to God, ah hell there are still some that believe this! I was taught to never leave the house without lipstick, so I don’t; I just generally forget that I am supposed to put it on my lips not just keep it in my bag.

      You are so right about photoshop, most of us don’t have that option so we live with what we are handed. I am grateful to my hairdresser who doesn’t think I am odd when I say …. purple I am thinking purple.

  2. I’m happy to see you highlighting Betty White. She is natural and beautiful. There is such pressure in Hollywood for women to look younger and wrinkle free. I hope to embrace my wrinkles as I age, especially the laugh lines!

    • It isn’t just Hollywood, they simply set a standard and the rest of us poor souls follow blindly. I love Betty White! She is epitomizes what we should all hope to follow and she hasn’t given into the silliness of avoiding the inevitability of age and gravity. I admit, I despise some things about gravity and am not adverse to correcting it but this has nothing to do with social stigma and everything to do with my personal comfort (if I could have chopped them off when I was 12 I would have). I find the older I get the less concerned I am with the affects of aging, perhaps it is wisdom creeping up on me and the fact I smile more these days.

  3. I forget who I am says:

    I have to agree with all of you especially John. If we go by religion it’s a long topic, but the body is just the temple for the soul within. If the soul is good the inner beauty shines. This is the true beauty that should shine. Enjoy For thou art beautiful ❤

  4. Your last two paragraphs tell the truth Val.

    People who equate self with body are doomed because, unless we die young, our bodies grow old. We are not our bodies, we just happen to live in one for a time.

    John

    • Ah but for the body of our youth when we are finally old enough to appreciate it and take better care of it, dang.

      I think it is harder for women John, we are bombarded by information everyday that we aren’t enough, no thin enough, young enough…just not enough. When twenty-five year old girls are already worried they are growing old, what is next?

      Val

  5. I forget who I am says:

    Oh My Dears!! The only true beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Inner beauty always exudes and shines. Some people never learn that. We talk about the bullies on the schools and are now trying to see that it is halted somehow. Some of those bullies grow into adults and still have the school mindset. The only way they can survive is basically “putting down” others. They meet a person and make their minds up that this is who or what the person is period.
    Change the mindset and possibly change the world..
    As for me. I don’t die my hair that often. I never have been big on makeup. What you see is what you get. My appearance as Me. Now talk o me and you might find I am a person….. Enjoy Life…

    • You have hit it directly, I think Sadie. Though I admit to hair dye it is more because I love the variety than to mask a deficiency. This month my hair is dark brown, red, blond and purple. I will occasionally remember to put make-up on, mostly for date nights with my husband and mostly to elicit a compliment from him (he loves to see me dressed to the nines so now and then I accommodate him). I do think it is fun to play girly girl now and then, it is who I am but not who I have to be; perhaps that is the difference it is a fun choice rather than anything else.

      This subject is one that both repels and fascinates me. Some of it is very personal and some is simply because it affects some may different aspects of our everyday live.

      I hope you will stop in again.

      Val

  6. Be still my heart. Now you’re talking.

    Even Elizabeth Taylor, as beautiful as she had been when she was real, took the low road and it hurt to look at her. What a mess. I am especially shaken when YOUNG girls decide they MUST have so much readjustment and realignment when they haven’t fully LIVED yet.

    Thank you for diving in and shaking up this subject.

    • It isn’t the first, likely won’t be the last. The subject simply ranks high on my list, otherwise known as “things that piss me off”.

      I simply don’t understand our obsession. Or maybe more to the point I don’t understand our self-hatred, it is so sad.

  7. I have a two year old daughter. She is a beauty at her age but I cringe every time some one calls her pretty on her face. As a mother, I don’t want to grow up thinking being pretty is anyway important. In today’s society, with Barbie and Cinderella, it is going to be tough.
    Respect you for your attitude. I hope I can hold my head as high at 50.

    • Being pretty is wonderful it proves our parents chose well! It surely isn’t as important as being kind. Certainly not as important as using all our mental facilities. If your daughter learns how important having a sense of humor is, how vital being a good person than she will shine with an inner light no one will be able to take from her.

      Holding my head up becomes more a matter of good foundations every day.

      Val

  8. My darling sister, your heart has not aged a moment, and you are more lovely by the day, for your inner light shines the beauty time cannot erase.

    For those who judge, remember: The box the package comes in gets thrown away.

    Red.

    • After we stomp on it a few times that is to ensure it will fit in the recycle bin……just kidding. I actually care not a wit for what people think any longer it is why my hair whatever color I like and as I explain all to often, not a color the Lord has every put on a human head. I more often than not leave the house without make-up too, gad my poor grandmother rolls in her grave daily.

      • Grandmother, hell. Momma still asks me on the telephone if I am wearing mascara! I have make-up in the bag old enough for a driver’s license, so this is not lost on me. And I only dye mine anymore to fight the stinking blonde. I despise when people talk more slowly. *Steps off soap box before rant about chlorinated water begins.*

        Red.

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