Beauty and the Beast within

Take a look at yourself. No, go on… have a good hard look in the mirror. No, not even that mirror, find a full length one and have a look at your reflection. Are you happy with what you see?

If you have achieved personal Zen, you’ll see just what you want to see. If not, whatever other people say, you might feel less than satisfied.

The media have lately been proudly publishing photos of plus-sized models leading to a muted round of applause and some awkward foot shuffling. You see, these 6ft tall, uk size 14 women are still absolutely gorgeous and probably a wee bit airbrushed.

Some publications and brands are bragging about how their photographs are no longer airbrushed, and so you can see the small imperfections of the model – who is, let’s face it, still a model.

So the image of impossible perfection we have been faced with over the last er… 20 years? has been replaced by a slightly less perfect image of still shiny gorgeousness and we’re supposed to feel reassured by that. Like it’s okay that we’re not perfect either.

And it’s not even the media’s fault. Imagine you sold currant buns and you found that if you dolloped white icing on the top, you sold 20 buns a day, but if you put pink and blue icing on the top, you sold 40 buns a day. You would surely switch to the coloured icing. This is what has happened in the media.

They sell skin products, fashion, hair colourants, perfumes and cosmetics by icing their bun however sells best and we (women) seem to buy more from impossibly airbrushed and inappropriately proportioned models.

We fool ourselves that if we use that particular body lotion, that our thighs too will magically lengthen and our buttocks lift, like the sixteen year old photo-shopped girl in the picture.

Of course, the natural order of things is designed to keep us a little jumpy. Men are designed to be superficial. That is not to say that they don’t have a deeper understanding, or cannot empathise with or love a woman who isn’t perfect. It simply means that they are programmed to notice sexually desirable traits in females and so will continue to look. So, when you get ready to go out and have done your best with what mother nature gave you, it can be a little dispiriting to find that he casts furtive, guilty glances at an 18 year old with uber long legs and a certain freshness that even Touche Éclat  can no longer offer you. But he doesn’t mean to disrespect you – nope. He truly can’t help it.

(If he hangs his tongue out, or wolf-whistles, or leaves your side to go talk to the shiny image of beauty, then he is – in fact – a horrible git and you should dump his ass, immediately).

It might all seem very unfair, but the fact is that men have to compete too, just in a different way. It has been shown that women are attracted to strength, intelligence, security and size. So the biggest, strongest man with the resources to look after you and your potential offspring. The resources can be that he is capable, rich or well-muscled and of course, there is an element of personal taste in there too. So men can be small, cute and rich, or big, tough and clever, or a combination of those elements. Basically, women don’t make decisions on appearance alone, there are other factors. Men make decisions initially, on appearance alone.

Leaving us (women) to compete over our appearance. So we all want to be 6ft, willowy teenagers do we? Well, actually, no.

What is most fascinating to me is Second Life. Real life puts restrictions on how we can change our appearance, essentially we’re given what we have and that’s that. In Second Life, you can mould your avatar to whatever your ideal of beauty is and oh my, we’re all so different. And the men have their own ideas of beauty too – preferring some female avatars over others. So, even though we can all be beautiful, we all have different ideas about what that beauty should comprise.

I’ve not, so far, mentioned gay and lesbian relationships, but the same essential rules apply. People are attracted to what they perceive as beautiful, there are no rules.

So when you are contemplating how you are not comparable in looks to Sophia Loren, or Jodie Kidd, or whoever floats your personal boat, just accept that you are not the person who wants you. The person who wants you might think you are the ideal of beauty.

My last words on the subject are that there is nothing more attractive in a person than a happy, carefree attitude. Enjoy yourself and people will be drawn to you. Even if you have a spare tyre and legs like a Shetland pony.

What do you think?

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