The Huffington Post published the post “Are We Addicted to the Idea of Perfection” by Jennifer Howard PhD. She bemoans our quest to look perfect. It’s so evident, she says, that despite these recessionary times, plastic surgery is on the rise. Can’t we spend our time, effort and money on fixing what’s on the inside? Gosh, darn.
Wait a second. The pursuit of beauty isn’t necessarily a pursuit for perfection. What I think is beautiful isn’t necessarily what others do. Why else do so many people go under the knife so such that they look freakish (as Howard complains in her piece)? Because to them that’s beautiful.
Also, pursuing perfection may not be so bad. Sure, I’m all for self-acceptance. But at what point is self-acceptance giving up? If you’re 50 lbs overweight, should you just accept that? Hell, no.
Ok, Ok. I don’t mean to turn the world into a bunch of neurotic, slaves to beauty. But I don’t think its all or nothing.
Also I truly believe that our extreme reactions to the pursuit of beauty, i.e., that it’s both vital and vapid, may be the reason we go to such extremes to perfect ourselves. In other words, if people respected the pursuit of beauty, they would be more mindful/thoughtful about what they’re doing to their bodies. They would have deeper conversations with their friends about how they feel about their looks without feeling shallow, and therefore, be more likely to think twice about plastic surgery. Or they would be open with their doctors about not loving how they look and seek psychiatric help.
The pursuit of beauty isn’t the problem. The way we pursue it and our disdain for it is.
Comment or tweet me your thoughts @beautyskew