I read this article on the push for body image equality last week.
The way I read it, the author seemed to be saying that total body image equality as being pushed by the feminist society, is equal to narcissism. This concept outraged me - firstly self esteem is not necessarily just a feminist ideal - it's a human right. Self esteem is a huge part of a person's mental well being, and every single person has that right.
Obviously a person who is well outside the range of "health" is not going be conventionally beautiful. But beauty is, or at least, theoretically SHOULD BE a subjective term. Healthy is an objective term - it can be brought down to numbers and medical researched opinions, but beauty is not objective. The author seems to be saying that telling someone who is very overweight they're beautiful is wrong because they should be trying to change the fact that they're overweight. Okay, but generally people need to have self esteem in order to better themselves. Someone who is already overweight in all likelihood has self esteem issues already stopping them from helping themselves. Generally, someone who feels beautiful on the inside, as a whole, is going to be able to try harder to make themselves healthy (and thereby conventionally beautiful) on the outside.
Also, the above only relates to weight in terms of unhealthiness. A person with certain illnesses or disabilities with which they were born, which put them outside the ideal of conventional beauty, technically cannot seek to better themselves. Should we really be excluding them from the ability to feel beautiful? I really think not - in fact that probably borders on discrimination.
Lastly, we're assuming that beauty is merely a physical attribute, when it is certainly not.
I think my point is that there are things people think, things that pass through everyone's head, that should never be said outloud. Okay, so we're constantly fed images of what it beauutiful and what is not, and you pass someone in the street who plainly does not fit those characteristics. It's fine to think that, it's not fine to say it. And I think this author is pushing that boundary.
- Sydney, NSW, Australia
- I'm an arts management worker/ artist/ designer. I work at Accessible Arts in administration and bookkeeping, but also work on various freelance activities from photography to graphic design. I'm Associate Partner at the ARI, the Big Fag Press, board member of Runway Australian Experimental Art and occasionally work at Bailey and Yang Consultants. My creative work has often been driven by social issues and commentary. This blog started as a way of documenting research for my honours year at uni, which I have continued, in order to gather inspiration for future artistic practice.