I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Guest Post: The Beast of Beauty


Famed writer, artist, philosopher and all around mysterious princess “Holy Pigeon” continues to rock my world with her direct address of what’s wrong with the cosmetics industry and so I have reposted it below for you all to enjoy (look for another installment tomorrow)!

I must admit that I’m one of those people that would pay a small fortune to have clear, problem free skin. And I probably have paid a small fortune over the years in search of that perfect elixir that’s supposed to transform my complexion into sheer perfection. And it, for the most part, hasn’t worked. I’m obviously not alone in my efforts nor in my disappointment. There are entire aisles at drug stores devoted to various cleansers, gels, oils, ointments, tonics, foams, serums, lotions, and potions to treat the skin and its many “problems,” whether they be blemishes, pimples, wrinkles, signs of fatigue, aging, or just plain paleness (the whole self-tanning thing is completely inexplicable to me from an aesthetic standpoint). The excessive presence of cosmetics – these formidable aisles and the labyrinthine hall of mirrors that is the cosmetics counter – can’t possibly leave any spirit unmarred by some vague fear. The thing that we’re conditioned to fear – this insidious beast – is ourselves.

If it isn’t the cosmetics industry, it’s the pharmaceutical and medical industry. I’ve gone that route too, trying expensive light therapy and prescription drugs to improve the condition of my skin. The only reason I wouldn’t resort to invasive, appearance-altering procedures like injections or cosmetic surgery to potentially improve my appearance is because I regard myself as still too young (and still too broke) to pursue such things. I’d like to take my vain obsessions one step, one neurosis, one year at a time.

Maybe I’ve revealed too much, that I’m too vain or too insecure, or, as the magazine headline insinuates, I think too much. Personally I think it’s none of the above. I have limits to self acceptance because, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m inclined to believe that there is no true self. If I want to play with my image, it’s my prerogative. On the other hand, there is a difference between playing with one’s image and trying to “fix” it. It’s necessary to be reminded that the cosmetics industry is just a subset of a whole market devoted to beauty and appearance – a market that casually deals dangerous diet miracles, pushes endless new apparel for the eternal four seasons, shoves famous faces into our private spaces (I’ve always wondered why famous people are wary of the paparazzi; shouldn’t the public, instead, be wary of the way these famous individuals and the trivia that accompanies them intrude upon our lives?) , and delivers other senseless trends to us non-stop. It’s sometimes difficult to determine whether or not our play is coerced, whether or not the whole carnival in which we participate is contrived. What’s real and what’s fake? Is there a difference? Does it matter?

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