We live in an era where the superficiality of the physical beauty of a person takes precedence over the inner beauty of a person. This is a myth that has helped fuel the billion dollar fashion and celebrity industry as pictures of “perfection” grace magazine covers and endorse products aimed at “beautifying” the physicality of the person. I will admit that there is nothing wrong with looking at a handsome man or a pretty woman. But the reality is that without the help of dozens of beauty and fashion team members, not to mention computer image manipulation, those men and women whom so many of today’s youth idolize , will never look like the idea of “perfection” that they are portrayed to be on the pages or on-screen.
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The discussion of the image of beauty will not be complete if we do no first mention the benefits of portraying idealized beauty in the mass media. First of all, it gives the readers or watchers an ambition to improve themselves even if only physically. It delivers the message that everybody always has room for improvement and that with help, one can achieve the look that he or she determines as the definition of beauty.
Second of all, the quest for beauty is a centuries old mission of both the male and female populace so that it has become, as I mentioned above, a multi-billion dollar world-wide industry. Thus giving employment to those who otherwise would have been unemployed. These are the image makers who define the look and style of the population for the era.
Negatively speaking though, such man-made ideas of beauty tend to depress those in society who suffer from low self-esteem. There are those who will never be able to achieve the look, body size, or even muscle mass of the people on the magazine covers and the wide-screen. Such people suffer the most in today’s society because these ideologies affect the inner beauty of a person. Not everybody gets beyond the physical look of a person. The first impression is always the physical look and if one is unable to portray the “ideal” beauty or handsomeness, that person will have the tendency to be overlooked by society at large.
We also have the celebrities who are hawking beauty products all over the internet, magazines, and home shopping networks. Without realizing it, they are delivering the message that one must never be satisfied with their god-given looks and should always strive to change their look.
Such images tend to entice people to put their lives on the line with surgical and cosmetology procedures if only to have themselves “recreated” into their beauty ideal. Watching Entertainment Tonight and The Insider has shown me just how bad the images of beauty have affected the population. We have women starving themselves to the point of death and still not being satisfied that they are thin enough. We have women getting breast implants in order to catch the male’s attention. Men and women suffering from Botulism due to botched Botox jobs that leave them scarred for life.
In the end, the quest for beauty and youth as portrayed by the media is a dangerous quest for anyone brave enough to even start it. There are simply too many negative factors involved for these images of male and female beauty to actually be considered as beneficial to society at large.