Hope Contagium

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

Category: Uncategorized

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.

https://instagram.com/p/9bzT_UuS5T/?taken-by=kimkardashian
http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/10/demi-lovato-spontaneous-nude-makeup-free-photo-shoot#5

Nothing but Flowers

A mother’s work . . .

Bare Naked in Public

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In the weeks before Mother’s Day, I had planned to write a glorious and glowing post about motherhood.  I felt sure that words would emerge and my story would unfold. Yet, I sat for hours; the heat of my laptop warming my thighs as my fingers clicked away, typing words that just didn’t belong to me. I struggled to express what I felt in my heart. Too melancholy for a celebratory post I put my laptop away for a few days.

Instead, I focused on my Sunday before Mother’s Day ritual, handpicking cards and writing personal notes to my girlfriends, sisters and aunts. Since my mom’s passing, I have honored her by celebrating the amazing moms I know and admire. As I dropped my stack of cards into the mailbox, I smiled thinking about each one of them opening my small gift and smiling too.

With Mother’s Day nearing, I…

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If I knew then . . .

Bare Naked in Public

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When my kids were small I was a full time student. I rushed them to childcare, attended classes all day with care-free twenty-somethings, picked up my kiddos, raced home and then stuffed them with five minutes meals. Bath time was followed by bedtime and all the while I scolded hurry, hurry, hurry!  I studied all night, and after a few hours of sleep dragged myself out of bed, and poured milk with my eyes closed into waiting bowls of cheerios. Enjoying the moment seemed an impossible goal as my brain was always calculating hours of study versus hours of sleep. No matter how I tried, I could never get enough of either.  In those early years of parenting, functioning in a state of exhaustion seemed to be a way of life.

When I finally graduated with a degree in Accounting at twenty-three, my children were just five and four…

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The Contents of Her Stomach by Chelsea Laine Wells

Cease, Cows

In tenth grade you say to your friend Katie, “Let’s be anorexic.” You are joking, but not really, and she’s looking straight at you and she says, “Okay.” Katie takes to it like a house on fire, but you are weak. You break and eat after dark with shaking fingers in the cold light of the refrigerator. Katie pares her daily intake down to an apple and a can of tuna until she decides she’s enjoying the tuna too much, and then she drinks the juice but leaves the meat. She cuts her lip on the can and it doesn’t heal and doesn’t heal. She drapes across your bed, staring at the ceiling, and works the cut with her tongue while you do homework. You watch her skeleton emerge like a time-lapse video of decay. One day she passes out on her way back from the lunch line and breaks her collarbone against the corner of a…

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Take Heart

This I can relate to even if I never did become a “full-blown” addict (there’s still time). Even at this moment I’m thinking about getting high so I can endure the emotions inside.
But having a past which isn’t exactly conversation appropriate and fills a great deal of your life, is also a struggle I know. In the dating-world it just sucks, it’s stupid and sad. You can’t escape the feeling of being different, not normal. Addicted to misery some have told me I was – not that it’s the same. I was always hurt when people said that…

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by Mari Casey

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The most difficult part of my recovery today, the most terrifying prospect in my life is not related to an urge to use or a potential relapse. It’s about dating. I’m twenty-six and single—a fun idea, right?—except I have four years clean, and just the thought of going on a date turns me catatonic. They recommend a year without sex when you first get clean. I didn’t do it then, but I might get it now, and not for lack of desire.

In my life, there are two major categories of potential suitors: people “in the rooms”— recovering addicts at the meetings—or “normies”—those strange creatures who can drink just one beer, maybe even hit one joint every now and again, normal people. I’ve dated in the rooms before. Pros: mutual understanding, shared experience, easy to meet. Cons: dating someone as sick as you are, and the whole…

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Poetry That Frees The Soul

This Is Water

If you haven’t seen this video, please do. Many things can be written to describe the video and sell it to an audience, but I want to use a single sentence from the video itself as an introduction: it’s about life before death.

Why I write?

Randoms by a Random

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I don’t have the answers,
Not yet anyway;
The questions building up inside me,
Torturing me till date;
Maybe if I say it out loud,
The voices would refrain;
But the truth Is dear voices,
Even I don’t know what to say;
Though I might be a writer,
I don’t know why I write everyday.

Maybe it’s to make a difference,
make a change, leave my name.
Stamp my mark in the sand of time,
leave my footprint in peoples heart;
Lessen the burden my heart weighs,
pour out frustrations my head can’t take;
Maybe a little less, maybe more-
Maybe it’s none of the things above.

Until I do find the answers,
to the questions that you pose-
Dear voices, bear with me,
As I write the time away…

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The Death of Idealism

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