Ah, so here we go again dealing with the age-old question on beauty. I have to tell you when I hear the word beauty or beautiful my mind clicks back to black and white pictures, you know pre-color television, pre-color film. For me, the words in and of itself sound, well, dated. But that is not to say I don’t say beautiful when something catches my breath, like a baby’s smile, a hot, sunny morning or a great theatrical performance. In this issue we are asking how we are defining beauty as well as who is defining it. As clichéd as it may sound, beauty is still in the eye of the beholder. What is attractive or irresistible to me may be blasé to the next person. Age plays a major role in how and who is defining beauty as well. What is beautiful to a 50-year-old woman may not be to a 30-year-old woman. It’s a topic that will always be up for debate. Yet if we as women, particularly women of color, succumb to the pressures of the beauty industry, it almost becomes like chasing one’s tail. Can we ever be beautiful enough? Intellectually, we know that the beauty and advertising industries work hand-in-hand to create and sell us countless products that claim to restore youth, retard aging, diminish this or enhance that. Still, we feed these industries to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Beauty knows no limits. It is no wonder that the hair care and cosmetics industries grossed well over an estimated $10 billion dollars in 2009. (2009 estimate.)And we are “going under the knife;” in record numbers to conform to our own notions of beauty.
My interview with Sheila Bond, M.D., F.A.C.S., Specialist in Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Plastic Surgery Foe or Friend was an enlightening and humbling education about the physical and psychological reasons women choose to have plastic surgery. We may all be victims to some extent of wanting to (achieve some level) of beauty. It is not a social crime to want to be seen as good looking, attractive, fine, gorgeous, pretty, and yes, beautiful. It is problematic though to let the models who grace the covers of magazines set the beauty standard. There is a difference between wanting to look good and feeling pressured to succumb to it as if we were ongoing projects. I like makeup, getting made-up and looking intentionally good or enhanced when I go out into the world. I think it says something about how I feel about myself. I do it for me.