Thursday, September 29, 2011

{me and my pet peeve}

i have a pet peeve: a great, angry pit bull of a pet peeve which barks at me incessantly and, at times when i neglect it, will latch its jaws onto my ankle and shake me like a rag doll. but i keep it around. 

i felt the familiar clamp of pet peeve teeth last night as i read through some of the blogs in my blog reader. i follow a good mix of blogs, and for every post about cooking, there's one about diys and one funny one and one fascinating one and one artsy one and one girly one and so on. 

and many times a week, i come across a post about beauty.

that's ok. beauty is nice.

but there's something that happens a lot in the blog world and in the real world and probably even in outer space among the alien species that i really can't stand. 

in this particular case, the post was about photoshopping. there was a picture of some gorgeous model who fit every possible requirement for physical perfection wearing a parka not really anything. and the author of the blog post had googled photoshop before and afters and found a picture of the same model before she'd been touched up. then she encouraged her readers, saying {and i'm paraphrasing} "see? you can't look like her! SHE doesn't even look like her! look in magazines and pick the models apart--see if you can spot the fakeness. google search photoshopped models and see the differences!"

and the readers were just psyched. 

"YEAH! models aren't even pretty! they're just computer-enhanced! they look just like us!"

but i'm looking at the before picture and thinking, "i can't measure up to that. not even close." there's a reason models are models. and looking through a magazine "picking apart the models in it" and hoping that any beauty there is computer-generated is not going to help me feel better about myself. 

the point of this whole article was that you need to learn to love yourself. 

but how do you learn to love yourself when you're constantly looking around and seeing how you don't measure up. it's like the sign by the roller coaster that says, "you must be this tall to ride" and you don't measure up and after you leave the line-up, the carny follows you around the fair holding the sign above your head so you don't forget it. 

has anyone else noticed how screwed up it all is?

i think the point needs to be --and i know i've said this before but i'm sayin it again-- not that we need to "learn to love ourselves" or "find the flaws in other women to make ourselves feel better", but that we need to learn that physical beauty is not the all-important thing that we've raised it to be. there ARE women who are naturally beautiful. i know a whole bunch of them in real life. it does me no good to pick out their flaws and wish them ugly. 

we need to punch that carny in the gut and tell him to get lost. who cares about that roller coaster? i'm not willing to waste my time at the fair trying to sneak onto the one ride i can't get onto or moping around with a sign above my head that lets everyone around me know how unhappy i am.

it's kind of ridiculous:

we're buying the magazines and the movies and the beauty products and the clothes and the whole thing is this huge reality beauty contest that's funded by us personally, and then when we encounter people who have reached that "unattainable" goal of being "perfect", we're taking deep breaths into paper bags and reassuring each other that "no one actually is that beautiful, it's okay to look like the before picture, it's ok to look like the before picture, it's ok to look like the before picture." and we're not helping each other out at all because you can't help someone while you're competing with them and we're trying to learn to love ourselves and we're comparing ourselves to the models by the checkout at the grocery store and we're trying so hard to look like the after picture and we're buying the magazines and studying them and reading the fashion blogs and studying them and we're watching each other and comparing and being jealous and wishing and we're hyperventilating and justifying and making excuses and reaching and stretching 
and paying 
and paying 
and paying. 

and then we're turning 95 and dying. 

pointless, much?