Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Beauty Ideal & the things we pursue

All young women, welcome to the world of adults! Let me introduce you to our beauty ideals. Step 1: Make sure you have no wrinkles, not even one. Get Botox early, you should probably start injecting it at age 19.

Step 2: The thinner you are, the better!

Step 3: Don't think you are off the hook because you are older than 40, even older women can have a face completely free of wrinkles, so don't you dare settle for anything less!

This morning I started my day with a cup of coffee and the Toronto Star as usual. Today’s sad news was an article in the Star that reported that Botox use among people under the age of 30 has gone up significantly. It’s becoming more common for Millennials to start taking Botox early to prevent aging. The Toronto-based plastic and cosmetic surgeon interviewed in the article explains that when the Millennials start to see signs of wrinkles it freaks them out and they decide to start taking Botox to prevent aging.

Toronto Star reporter Azzura Lalani reports in the article called “Millennials using Botox to hold on to young look, surgeons say” that the use of Botox has increased with 41 % among Millennials. Azzura Lalani writes the following in the November 22, 2016 issue of Toronto Star:
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that Botox treatments for people between the ages of 19 to 34 shot up by 41 per cent between 2011 and 2015.”

As I read the news I was saddened by how beauty obsessed our society has become. What made me react to the article was that I had those same feeling in my early twenties. When I was 20-years-old and started getting my first fine lines I remember freaking out about them. I remember thinking that I wish I had more money so that I could get Botox. Luckily for me I was a poor student and Botox was never even an option available. I grew up and the more documentaries I watched the more convinced I got that there was nothing wrong with my face. I finally realized that my face and body wasn’t the problem, but that the beauty ideal was a real problem. I learned that contentment doesn’t sell products. Advertisers want me to think that I need to look younger, be thinner and that I need to update my wardrobe constantly, contentment doesn’t sell.

It’s easy to read news like the article about Botox and feel that there is no hope for a culture that seems obsessed with beauty, power and money. Later in the morning I checked my Instagram account and I was reminded that the obsession with money, power and beauty is not the ideal everywhere. I checked the Instagram account for The A21 Campaign and read about how these people had rescued a girl from sex slavery in the US last week. The people who work for A21 have chosen to pursue something different in their lives than the ideals we are sold. I also checked the Instagram account for Amazima ministries and I was reminded once again that not all Millennials worry about wrinkles and beauty. Katie Davis was 18-years-old when she decided that she wanted to spend her life towards helping other people. Katie moved to Jinja, Uganda one year later and started helping poor children get food and education through her ministry Amazima.

Katie Davis grew up in the same culture as me, surrounded by messages that tell us beauty, money and power matters, but she chose a different path in life. Katie Davis chose to give up her comfortable life in a wealthy Nashville suburb to live in a much poorer neighborhood in Africa because she wanted to make a difference during her days on Earth. In a world that tells us that we need to pursue beauty, money, status and power Katie Davis chose something different. Katie chose to spend her life loving other people, to serve the poor and needy in the world. Today Katie Davis is 27-years-old and if you look at pictures of her you can see that she has a few wrinkles around her eyes, but I don’t think she worries about wrinkles or beauty. Katie Davis Majors is busy caring for and loving her adoptive daughters, her newborn son, her husband and all the poor families she is helping through Amazima. The A21 Campaign features a quote on their Instagram account that I like:

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Jane Goodall

People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him.”
Katie Davis Majors

No comments:

Post a Comment