The Dark Side of Beauty

November 28, 2012
By , Cambridge, MA
Beauty. A daily complement for some. A haunting dream for others. A word that people spend countless days and dollars searching for. A word that drives people to alter their bodies, their faces, anything that society would label as 'ugly'. They change the things that make them unique. They get rid of the things that make them different so they can look like “that girl in Vogue”, or “that girl on tv”. Although it looks beautiful on the outside, 'beauty' is a nasty, twisted, deadly word. I hate this word with a passion. A beautiful passion.

I hate what it does to people who feel like this word doesn't apply to them. They lose self-confidence, making themselves believe it’s true. The word ‘beauty’ pushes them to extremes. Not being ‘beautiful’ has lead to diseases like anorexia and bulimia, both life threatening if taken too far. This feeling has lead thousands of teens down a road of depression, obsession, and in extreme cases, suicide. Is that really what our society wants? Hundreds of suffering, dying teens who ended up that way because they thought they were rejected by the beautiful? Because they don’t like how they look? Because they don’t fit standards set by the media?

For those of you who believe being beautiful is only for the good-looking, know that you are not alone. As a child, I was a tomboy who didn't give a second thought to what people thought about me, or what my appearance was like. I wish I still had the luxury to be ignorant of these things. When I hit puberty, my chubby child body started to grow into a taller, slender version of my original look. And I loved it. But after the initial shock of my transformation was over, I started to criticize my body and face for not looking the way I wanted them to. For not being the generic definition of ‘beautiful’. I still criticize myself a lot, but I have come a long way after only a few short years as a teen. I am more aware of the fact that being perfect is boring, and that being myself is awesome. As soon as I stop obsessing, I feel free to be me and find myself. I’m sure many of you have similar tales, and that a lot of you know that being obsessed with how you look is normal and one of the many downsides of hormones. But don’t let the dark side of beauty take over your life. After all, it’s a stupid word, but a beautiful feeling.

Now I ask you a question with a million answers; what is ‘beauty’? What does it really mean to be ‘beautiful’? Does it apply to how you look? How you dress? Both? Or is being beautiful more of a feeling then a characteristic? Is it a feeling that fills you up? Like it’s being poured into you slowly, by some unseen being, and you just know that you are beautiful as soon as it reaches the top. That you are gorgeous , and the beauty is oozing out of your pores, turning heads as you walk (or should I say strut) past. A feeling that makes you glow with happiness, and shine with confidence. I like to think that’s the real definition of beauty, instead of the obvious definition. It’s a deeper, hopeful meaning to such an ugly word. A meaning that anyone and everyone can be part of. A meaning that I hope everyone will soon realize, is the true definition of ‘beauty’.

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