Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strange Thought

I was just over on Facebook, looking at some recently posted photos of people I know. Looking at one woman's picture, I thought to myself, "She's so pretty." This turned into, "She's so much prettier than I am. Geez--I'm so plain. Not just plain--malformed. I wish I was beautiful! Waaahhh!"

It was a surprising progression, to say the least, moving from looking at one particular woman (who was, in the photo, highly made-up, coiffed, and wearing a particularly flattering outfit, in addition to blond not being her natural hair color) to thinking that I had no visual value whatsoever. Where did this come from?

Well, visual modes of expression are the norm for determining a woman's "beauty". Whether it is a photo, a painting, or a sculpture, we've been taught over the years to look at things and identify those as beautiful. However, all of these involve artifice. What with airbrushing rampant on magazine covers and lighting/makeup/post-production in movies, we can't look at any modern visual clues to determine what a person really looks like. I'd be more inclined to trust an ancient Greek marble statue as a true depiction of what a woman looks like, even though the stone is a little too smooth to adequately express cellulite. So why constantly compare oneself with others?

In the short term, I soothed my sad feelings by going onto my own Facebook profile and checking out some pictures of myself in which I had been caught in good lighting by a professional photographer and looked particularly pretty. In the medium term, I've blogged about this event, so feel free to comment. In the long term, I've got a great sense of self-esteem, and I know that good looks aren't necessary to be a good person. I just need to work on not comparing myself to others, and making sure that other women don't fall prey to this downward spiral, either.

1 comment:

  1. What an honest post, and helpful too. Of course, I've often thought you've stepped straight out of the portraits and you're one of the most strikingly beautiful women I've ever met. That might be the bias of friendship, since I've also laughed and chatted with you for years. But you really are heads above many other people.

    And my favorite accidental photo of you is still:
    with this one a close second: