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.