Hope Contagium

A therapy journal of self-obsession, depression and meaning.

Erasing Beauty

There is an issue I would like to address.

I just saw Kim Kardashian’s post on Instagram: a picture of her previous Halloween costumes. Two of them were decent enough and a tad creative, but the rest was just a collection of skimpy “little-girl” dresses which goal was to look sexy in. Again I was reminded of girls and teenagers who look up to this idol of theirs and learn that dressing up is all about dressing down. It’s no longer about pretending or celebrating the holiday, but about evoking sexual desires in others. This is nothing new and the subject has been discussed by many.

Then I remembered Demi Lovato’s stunt on natural beauty, where she chose to pose nude for a photographer with no makeup in a Manhattan hotel room. Of course with no retouching to change the photographs. When she speaks about it, she mentions: “Confidence is about feeling comfortable in your own skin”. This is very fresh and a nice attempt to embrace your body. I congratulate her for taking this step and having courage.
But what she couldn’t help portraying in these images was sex. Not by being naked, but by posing in positions that call for admirers. Poses to make her body appear attractive and sexy – ergo still collecting an audience through sex.

Which leads me to the common bond between Kim Kardashian’s costumes and Demi Lovato’s photo shoot: both still setting a standard for your body’s image.

It’s extremely encouraging to see new body types in the media, but from my point of view, they do not seem to be about celebrating yourself and your natural appearance. They are unfortunately still setting demands and standards for beauty. Because in them still lies a main goal: to be beautiful.

Celebrating your body shouldn’t be about altering it through surgery, fitness, poses and so on in order to awake a sexual sensation in others. It should be about you – only you. It should be about loving your body with all the gifts from gravity, aging, posture, pain and nurture. It should be about swimming naked because it arouses a feeling of freedom in you – and not because others like to observe your naked body in water. Fitness should be a fight for health and inner ease – not about a certain way of looking. Exercise makes us feel beautiful, not because it changes our bodies on the outside, but because it makes us feel strong and healthy.

I understand how others see Demi Lovato as brave and love Kim Kardashian’s curvy figure (I do apologize if this seems like an attack on them – it isn’t – they are just two of many examples out there). But our idols are forgetting some key elements. Maybe because they haven’t felt anything but the spotlight for so long. Or because they’ve forgotten the pressure of being one of the many; one of us girls down here in our boring, everyday lives, not able to understand why we don’t feel beautiful. Taking your makeup off for the camera once in a while (once every few years) doesn’t change our perception of beauty and it won’t bring confidence or an acceptance. All these waves of liberating your body and celebrating natural beauty give the tiniest sprinkle of hope to people and trick us into believing that these rare occasions are enough. We are blinded by single acts so we forget to look at the details.
To bring change you have to live the change. You have to feel the change.

How beautiful it would be, if the people we looked up to actually lived a life true to the cause they create awareness about. Instead their battle for awareness and helping others feels like a publicity stunt. When will they face the reality that in them lies great power and an unimaginable large amount of influence. Use this influence beyond yourselves.

This post is not an angry outburst. This is not a criticism towards sex or a feminist trying to speak up to fight for women’s rights. Beauty standards do apply for men as well. I am merely expressing the feelings that grow in me as an observer of our mass media society. This is more a hope for humans to be allowed to be humans – just the way they are. I believe there always will be beauty standards, since we can’t escape them from our natural instinct. Even animals search for a certain appearance in their mate and strive to attract the opposite sex. The difference is that animals do this for reproduction, for survival. We simply do it to make money.

Though this seems an impossible goal to gain confidence and self-love from within and not through approval and admiration from others (because we do reflect our self-worth through others). I do believe we can create a world, where the pressure isn’t as heavy as it weighs today. Also our idols are under extreme pressure and this might be the explanation to why they portray themselves as they do. Alas, they are the ones with the power to change this world and even more importantly, we, us, the fans and consumers, have even greater power to make a change.

I am not addressing an issue which hasn’t been discussed by many, I am not trying to focus on objectification or body images – but though they clearly contribute. I am talking about our approach to this subject and the flaws in our self promotion. I miss seeing beauty portrayed without sex involved. Without confidence, without makeup, cameras, fashion and more. I’m even tired of searching for and admiring physical beauty. I just wish for honesty and existence beyond our appearance in the eyes of others.


http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/10/demi-lovato-spontaneous-nude-makeup-free-photo-shoot#5

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My Reflection

I had lost myself. I can’t even place when or how, but I know now that I was lost. My focus had shrunk down to the size of a needle point. My ambition was flushed down the drain.

Finally a day arrived where I could pick myself up; a day of opportunity. I had been up for hours, but only spent 15 minutes preparing for the day. Ready, wearing my coat and big winter boots, I spent the next five minutes staring disappointed at my reflection in the mirror. Staring back at me was a despondent body and a colorless, discouraged face. I did try – truthfully. But the result was tiresome.

Standing, waiting, pacing and turning. Rolling my eyes in annoyance. Letting my past creep into my thoughts and haunt my conscience. Turning back time isn’t possible, I tell myself. It’s wasteful thinking about it.

On my way back home I feel like a used rag doll. The recurring memory of my reflection stiffens a frown on my face all the way home. Bashed by deceiving thoughts that crumbled my spirit I had transformed back to that little girl, blinded by fantasy, who forgot her insight.

My forehead and cheeks turn sore from the constant frown. I keep shaking my head. Hating my longing for youth and serenity, I steal a final glimpse of myself in the bus mirror before stepping outside…

A Day

Another gray day making its mark on a black soul.

A gray day.
A gray mood.
A black soul.

Mediocre life.
No value.
No meaning.

Universe
Infinity
Death

Searching an Understanding

So I can see how a woman who’d long slept restlessly on peas might have difficulty lying on an anvil. Nevertheless, it’s a pity that she couldn’t remain within the still, serene well of sheer incomprehension. Oh, I realize you can’t stay bewildered – the need to understand or at least to pretend you do is too great – but I myself have found wide white mystification a place in my mind that is blessedly quiet. And I fear that Mary’s alternative outrage, her evangelical fever to bring the guilty to book, is a clamorous place that creates the illusion of a journey, a goal to be achieved, only so long as that goal remains out of reach.

 – Page 79, We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003), Lionel Shriver

Moving Forward

Oh sweet relief! I have become better at letting go of the distressing feeling of remorse. I can fairly quickly ease my self-hatred. I am moving forward.

L’existence est Difficile

The days gone by have been entirely different. Covered by negative energy, I haven’t had so much fun and laughter in ages. I haven’t felt more appreciated by others or more satisfied with myself than I have these last couple of weeks.

Mornings

Morning come and the dawn shines on a stronger you. I still feel like blowing my brains out. But, but, I won’t do it. Partly because I don’t have a gun.

The Unsaid

It may have been disingenuous of me to imply at the start of my last letter that when we conferred at the end of a day, I told all. To the contrary, one of the things that impels me to write is that my mind is huge with all the little stories I never told you.

 – Page 13, We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003), Lionel Shriver

Hide From the World

It was good to sleep. The anxiety is gone for now, but the depression is here. Though I do feel anxiety every time I think about going back to work. It feels unbearable that life is so difficult for me… And others who are troubled, of course. I know I’m not the only one to feel this way. I still think about suicide often. And sometimes I just wish I could be hospitalized again. Lately more than usual. I would be looked after and I could hide from the world. I wouldn’t have to lead a life. I know there are happy moments but I hate those as well. Because I know I’ll be depressed again; and even though I enjoy them while they are there, I despise them in times like these. I hate myself for being happy. For letting myself feel joy. Every bad thing that happens I hate myself for. So much self-hatred. Even now I know this is a message to nobody; there is no receiver at the other end. So my words will echo empty and I’ll keep counting down the minutes of my loneliness.

Bewildered

Papa just wrote to me. I had a slight urge to cry when I read his message. I still do thinking about it. I find it so hard with family. Why can’t you turn your back on them? How long shall you keep trying? Am I not able to forgive? Am I not stronger than giving up all the time? Hiding and crying. How many wrongs will I survive? Or is it me who’s completely wrong? Am I to blame? Should I patch things up or let go?

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