Friday, April 27, 2012

From The Beauty Myth--by Naomi Wolf

By the 1980s, beauty had come to play in women's status-seeking the same role as money plays in that of men: a defensive proof to aggressive competitors of womanhood or manhood.  Since both each quickly loses any relationship to real-life values.  Throughout the decade, as money's ability to buy time for comfort and leisure was abandoned in the stratospheric pursuit of wealth for wealth's sake, the competition for "beauty" saw a parallel inflation: The material pleasures once presented as its goals--sex, love, intimacy, self-expression--were lost in a desperate struggle within a sealed economy, becoming distant and quaint memories

Interesting.  Granted, the book is somewhat dated but I think many of these words ring true.  They definitely did in the 80's--decade of the "you cannot be too rich or too thin" mentality.  Money was no longer the means to the end.  Money became the end.  Of course, money is a tricky "end" because where does it end?  What is enough?  What sum is reached to finally grant permission for happiness.

Of course, we all know people who are rich and miserable.  Short-answer, there is no end.  And when money and wealth become the ultimate destination, the arrival will always prove empty, unsubstantial, and transitory.   

Is the same true with beauty?  While I relate to the sentiment, I think that, for myself, in many ways I still see beauty as a means to an end.  I desire the connection, the intimacy, the love, and expression.  I believed for a long time (and still struggle with these old demons) that if I were thin enough or beautiful enough I would then be "worthy" of aforementioned pleasures.  

And yet, once we have intimacy and love, is that enough?  Has beauty served its purpose or has beauty (as presented, marketed, and perpetuated by media and society) become our mission--our subliminally culminating and supreme end in this life?  

I'm curious to hear your thoughts including those of you who are in healthy and enjoyable relationships.  

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