Beauty Is as Beauty Does
With the upcoming release of Jessica Simpson’s new documentary series of how beauty is perceived around the world, entitled “The Price of Beauty”, we in the United States are sure to be surprised, to say the least, at some of the things that are considered beautiful to other cultures. What strikes us most is that most cultures alter their appearance in some shape or form at some point in a person’s life. These alterations typically occur in women, but can be found more and more often in men. Some people believe that beauty is only skin deep, while others believe that beauty has nothing at all to do with outer appearance and everything to do with inner beauty. The vast majority of us, however, fall somewhere in the middle.
In an effort to promote her new project “A Beautiful Me”, Jessica Simpson has posed, sans makeup and airbrushing, those cornerstones of media outlet photos, in Marie Claire. According to Simpson, she has learned to accept herself for who she is after touring the world looking at “The Price of Beauty”. So this new initiative encourages women, and young women in particular, to accept themselves as they come.
The question is, is it truly realistic to expect people to accept themselves as they come without making any changes at all? Given that history is riddled with examples of how we use accessories, tattooing, clothing, and makeup to change the way we look, it is highly unlikely that this new project will really have much effect on the way that people make decisions about the way that they look. That being said, the new series is sure to be enlightening and might perhaps even give us some more insight into why we want to change certain things about ourselves rather than leaving it as it is.
So is Beauty Is as Beauty Does? Well to use another cliché, beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder is really the only one that needs to be happy. In that respect, Jessica Simpson telling people in her interview that what “other people think of me is none of my business,” she is partially right, and partially wrong. We, as a society, should not be more concerned with how other people perceive us, than with how we perceive ourselves, but we should be conscious of the fact that we are more often than not judged on our appearance, and should always put forward the best self that we are happy with. For our grandmother’s generation, that meant never leaving the house without their hair done and their lipstick on and blotted. For the current generation, that might mean a regular facial peel in order to combat the pollution and sun damage (something our grandparents did not need to be as concerned about), or removing a little excess hair from our bikini line. We very clearly live in different times, and of course, we need to adjust to those times. Just how much we adjust is up to us.