Foppery at its Finest

November 3, 2008
By
Being a teenage girl, I have a subscription to a cliché fashion magazine. It wasn’t until recently that I started taking additional notice to the high-gloss pages filled with models and cosmetic ads. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I had nothing better to do than scan through my new magazine. I casually thumbed through the slick pages, noting the dramatic makeup, tight clothing, and long hair extensions. “This isn’t what I want…” I thought to myself. I don’t want to have skin that resembles the tenor of plastic or layers of foreign hair woven into my own. I don’t want to be judged on how closely my figure resembles the silhouette of a peanut shell. What kind of civilization are we living in? There is a great deal of pressure put upon girls in our society to be smoldering temptresses, much of which is fueled by Hollywood and the public media.

Hollywood is an airbrushed mess of unattainable perfection and cheeky popularity. Looking at the rich and famous of today, you see the difference between the two sides of beauty: the real and the processed. Images of slender, toned bodies invade the minds of teenage girls across America. The message they are conveying is nothing less than a crime. Girls are starving themselves and obsessing about their figure at ages they shouldn’t be all because of picturesque movie stars. Pop singers belting out risqué ballads in lacy leather outfits that skim the line between clothing and lingerie haven’t the slightest idea that they are recklessly shaving away layers of self confidence from teens across the nation. Beauty fifty years ago is nothing similar to what is considered beauty in this century. True beauty nowadays is masked by thick coats of foundation and clumps of fake eyelashes. It has gotten to the point where thirteen year old girls consider themselves to be unattractive without their makeup on and their hair done. Vanity is a destructive element of disposition: so quickly it can consume one’s mind, leaving nothing for the important aspects of life. However, Hollywood is not doing it alone. Newspapers, gossip columns, and television shows are equally as guilty.

The media is quite simply life through the eyes of a camera lens and the mouth of a rumor. Snapping photos of scandalous celebrity parties and writing stories about the latest developments in lip gloss, it seems to control teenage girls like a marionette. Bright neon bolded titles scream blurbs about the latest new diets, and the new “it” style trends. Like Hollywood, these news sources also influence teens in negative ways. By constantly promoting items based solely on physical appearance, the media is diffusing to girls across the nation to sacrifice more time and spend more money than is necessary on their facade and, unfortunately, this concept has bled into the rest of our society. Suddenly, a small column detailing how to look “hot” has sparked a wildfire of vanity and tawdriness. The world might as well be coated in mirrors. Confidence is a very important foundation of our character on which we build and develop our personality. This can lead us to the conclusion that a lack of assurance equals a lack of spirit. Humankind has reached a level where many women dress up to simply go to the local grocery store. Are we so vain that we heed the opinion of those we don’t even know?


If you want something done right, as they say, you must do it yourself. Stop buying those shallow magazines and idolizing stick-thin celebs. No two people are exactly alike. The world without variety would be, frankly, boring. We must come to terms with reality and understand that though there are ways to permanently change our physical appearance, by doing so we are fundamentally giving up on ourselves. It is possible to wear less makeup and reduce the amount of time we spend gazing at our hair in the mirror while still managing to look good. People do it every day. Life was given to us as the ultimate gift, to do what we please. Why waste so much time feuding with narcissism when we could be chatting with opportunity?
What has become of the days when beauty came from your character? We are speeding down a road of self destruction. The message our society is sending to girls is that appearance reigns with absolute supremacy. We should be able to be pleased with what looks and features we were born with; instead we shun them and wish for someone else’s. Our society is becoming gradually more superficial. What will happen when we become so shallow there is nothing left? I believe that people resemble the bud of a flower: you should not judge by what is on the outside, but what vibrant bloom is on the inside. Our contemporary society is committed to buffing and embellishing the cage in which man is retained, but to what avail? When we reach the moment when our physical appearance trickles like water through our aged fingers, when time has polished away our exterior, stripping away everything, all that remains is what has truly mattered all along: ourselves.





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