Eye of the Beholder

September 12, 2008
By Cori Benge, Castle Rock, CO

Power is not everything to strive for, existence is. Today we do not exist as we will tomorrow or did yesterday. Today, we do not even think to exist, we merely are. Everyday we get swept up in the competition of life. Except now, the competition isn't about survival, or even surviving. It’s about becoming better then the has-beens of yesterday or being better then what is up and coming. It’s about the trends, the moves, the right things to say. The pressure is immense, but this time around it isn't pressure to succeed, to get ahead. Its pressure to look better, smile wider and whiter. To show that your curves, your hair, your skin, your body has less flaws then your neighbors does. Everyday becomes a battlefield. A battlefield of cosmetics, silicon, and brand names. It isn't about male or female anymore, because in this day and age those boundaries have been blurred as well. Today it’s merely about being prettier.

As a girl, a young adult, an up and coming participant in society I see these things. Everyone does, but who really sees them, who really cares enough to fix them? We have beauty companies campaigning for self esteem but their goal may very well be just more capital. Where am I supposed to look to find a role model? To find a woman void of the vaporous conditions that seem to purge through these ages, it may present itself to be impossible.
To survive we must conform, but to conform is looked upon as a sin unto itself. What to do? Do I forget about my mind and decline in the evolutionary process by conforming? Or do I strive to be that one? The one whole will damn the whole process and forge my own path in life? The consequences themselves be damned? But who will follow? Aren’t we as humans are wired to the very core of us to be social, to need other humans, to need contact? Am I to reject the very nature that I am, only to not conform to a society of non-conforming conformists? But wouldn't I then be conforming to the social norm, despite my attempts to thrust the very idea away from me?

We grow up seeing all these beautiful creatures that we can never compare to. Our impressionable minds are influenced by the perfect woman. But who is she? We hide the irony of that by saying she is every woman. If I am part the perfect image, what part am I? Are my toes the perfect part of me? No, one of them slants at an odd angle, damaged from childhood. What about my ears? They are small and fit my face, but no, they are not perfect. It cannot be my ears. My lips? Too thin, too small. My eyes? What if the world prefers blues to grays? My hair? What if brunettes are in this day? My nose? No, its upturned, like a character from Doctor Seuss. Nothing about me is perfect. My personality is harsh and judgmental, but underneath the crude exterior I am still the same. There is no underneath. I am simply me, a small girl who will never model because of her height, who will never be compared to Jolie, or Hepburn, a girl who would rather settle into something comfortable then dress to fit the expected. Strangely the mind frame I dwell in thrives on the fact that I will never be compared to the more fortunate of the species. I relish my anonymity. I judge without being judged by the masses.

Today we exist to show ourselves off. It isn't about sex, it isn't about rights or lack there of. It is about being simply better. Are you better then me because you are older? Are you better then me because you have been through college? Are you better then me because you are 100% English or American or German and I am a bit of everything? Are you better then me because your hair is straighter while mine is curly? Everything has come down to appearance; does it matter if my sense of humor surpasses that of Shakespeare’s if I am an overweight young woman? Does it matter if I am as smart as Newton if I have the perfect figure? No. It simply does not matter. You are what we see. Simple and plain. You give us only what genetics gave you. That is all we want, thank you and good day. If you are intelligent, we do not care. If you are wise, do not impart it unto us. We have no use for the irony of the beauty and the brain. We will take only the surface choice. It is all we see. It is all we want.

I am emerging into this world. I am enthralled in a trap of beauty brands and labels and my life, whether or not I conform will be arranged and will go the direction that the masses see fit for me. Beauty, in all reality, is a communist idea.
Welcome to the twenty first century.

The author's comments:
I wrote this a personal narative for my english class. Surprisingly it turned into something more then personal and more then just something for english class. This is what we all wish to see before us. It is the sad reality that girls and boys are growing into. Its time someone began to tear this 'norm' down.

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