Monday, October 1, 2007
The Problem with Perfect
This season, like all seasons, conformity is a fashion must. Not in the clothes, mind you - there are some pretty wild designs out there - but in the models. Just everyone is talking about it, darling - looking at the featured Fashion Week models is reminiscent of an Attack of the Clones viewing. Wear whatever color you will, the designers seem to tell us, but to truly embody the feminine beauty ideal - do try to be white. Oh, and be super-slim. Be tall too, if you can manage it - and blond hair is always a great accessory.
As we are bombarded with images of runway models in Milan, Paris and New York, it becomes evident that there are certain traits that an individual must possess in order to fit the one, all-pervasive beauty ideal. Rather than celebrating the glorious diversity of female physiques and figures, we try our hardest to stamp out our differences. Why? Well, for the same reason we do just about everything - for profit. The more narrow the beauty standard, the more products can be sold to those who would squeeze themselves into its close parameters.
Some savvy scientists are also working to make all women look exactly the same, struggling to define the exact proportions, dimensions, and shape of the ideal breast... so as to sell us better boob jobs. Because secure women are bad for the beauty industry, the more narrowly we define the perfectly beautiful breast, the better it is for the economy.
At the risk of being called a pink-o, I would like to suggest that perhaps, in this one case, what is best for the market is not best for society. Perhaps there is not just one perfect breast or hight or skin tone - but lots of ways to look gorgeous. Perhaps with the health care crisis being what it is, it would be nice to encourage fewer girls towards anorexia - and they could use all that self-discipline and the extra energy for something useful - like inventing the magic technology that Bush keeps promising will appear and save us all from global warming.
The Eating Disorders Information Network reports that "that 60% of high school seniors are dieting" and that "'20-30% of normal weight 4th graders think they are fat." Fourth graders are worried about their figures? This is a problem. Are we really going to leave it entirely up to a soap company to save us from these attempts to program us into uber-consuming fembots?