The Oprah show had a special report entitled Beauty Around the World. I found it very disturbing and just had to react to it.
Part of the show was about how western (aka. American) culture has influenced the rest of the world. Just 40 years ago Chinese women were forced to dress like men and makeup was outlawed. Now, I guess the beauty industry in booming in China. The editor of Vogue, Chinese edition, said that when a new trend is shown in the magazine, they have to explain where the trend came from and why it is popular. Things we take for granted like nylons are even new to many women in China. (And why would anyone intentionally want to embrace that tradition?)
The part that disturbs me the most is that companies are showing the Chinese women what is popular so they can sell their products. They aren’t using Asian models. Companies are selling the same look that they sell over here. That just is preparing a new generation to want to look like someone else. How is that good?
For example, Chinese women are having thousands of eyelid surgeries to make their eyes westernized so that they can, in turn wear trendy eye makeup. I think that Chinese beauty needs to be promoted to Chinese women. Encouraging women to look more western so you can sell more eye makeup is SO wrong on so many levels. We need to love what God has blessed us with and not want to look like someone from a country far away.
As an African American woman, I have seen the self-doubt that is produced by living in a society that valves a beauty different than your own. African American women aren’t changing their eyelids-they are paying way too much money to change their hair so that they can have the hair styles that are shown on the popular models. I think that embracing ones own natural beauty is the first step towards embracing who you truly are.
I am always trying to tell my girls how beautiful they are. I know that they have a unique look because they are a mix of races. I’m just not sure if I’m winning the battle against popular culture. At least one person a week tells me that Elena could be a model, but she still wishes that she could have blond hair or green eyes like her daddy. I’m trying to figure out how I can make her realize that God made her perfect just the way she is. I’d gladly take any suggestions.
I just think that there is SO much more that we can instill in our girls than vanity. How about character and integrity? We could even mix in a little fiscal responsibility. That reminds me: I was in the toy aisle at Target and I saw that a lot of the dolls were pushing an empty fashionable coolness. I guess a Helen Keller doll wouldn’t sell very well next to all of those fancy dolls out there. I guess it’s hard to “sell” character in a toy.
I could go on forever on this subject, so I’m going to end here. This is just a subject that touches my heart. Feel free to comment! I enjoy listening to other opinions.