Beauty Today: All Smoke and Mirrors?
Did you ever notice that the bar is continually being raised on exactly what physical characteristics define beauty? As I sit in front of the TV, I am bombarded by beauties with pouty lips, perfect bone structure, flawless skin, more "voluptuous" upper regions, size 2 waists, and hair that resembles spun silk. Take these same beauties and plop them back in time 20-30 years, when the advent of modern cosmetic technology had not even begun to reach its full potential. Do you think they would have had those same attributes you find yourself longing for when faced with these images? My guess is probably not, or at least not to the same extent.
True, genetics play a role in physical beauty, but with the likes of total "extreme" makeover reality TV (The Swan, Extreme Makeover, Dr. Beverly Hills) and abundant publicity, we see that beauty and cosmetic improvement can now be achieved by a few thousand dollars and a good plastic surgeon. Not only that, but cosmetics in general are now so technologically advanced, you can improve your looks by personal makeup application and home treatments.
There are now do-it-yourself cosmetic treatments such as home microdermabrasion kits, chemical peels, "botox" creams and gels, teeth whiteners, hair removal treatments, cellulite treatments, professional hair straighteners and colors, self tanners, lip enlargers, acne treatments, and the list goes on and on. Cosmetics marketers and science have joined forces to give women everything they ever wanted to be their most beautiful, and feel better about themselves. Women are benefitting by so many companies competing for a piece of these fairly new markets by lower, more competitive prices.
Not only are there new breakthroughs in the world of cosmetic science, but there are constantly new studies and discoveries in the field of nutrition, fitness, and wellness. Combine this with the new wave of technologically advanced cosmetics, supplements, and treatments, and you've got a recipe for a healthier, longer, more satisfying life for those of us who decide to take advantage of the advanced knowledge of our time.
So, does your desire to be your best and most beautiful self make you shallow, less credible, or somehow jeopardize your feminist agendas? Unless you've somehow compromised your integrity, morals, or core beliefs along the way, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! As long as you are not putting yourself at high risk for physical harm, obsessing endlessly, or spending your life savings, investing time and money into your beauty ultimately is an investment in your well being, self esteem, and many times, mental and physical health. Feeling beautiful is part of what makes us women. Come on, it's just plain FUN to experiment with different looks and different products! It feels good to be noticed, and when you feel beautiful, you tend to radiate confidence and power. It is inherent in our nature to want to feel feminine and look and feel our best, and there is nothing wrong with it, as long as it is not all-consuming.
As a self-proclaimed "product junkie", I can attest that many of these newly engineered products really do work, as I have tried nearly all of them in the quest to look and feel my best. I can't wait to see what they'll come out with next, as every new product seems to top the last. Hey, women have come a long way, and we deserve to feel sexy and confident - beyond smoke and mirrors!
Danna Schneider, Webmaster