Saturday, 3 July 2010

Why is broken beautiful?

So in my "research" into the effects of reality TV on our society I have been watching past cycles of America's Next Top Model and I have come across a phrase that has me really worried about the future for my little girl in society.

You look fantastic, like a broken doll.

There's that amazing broken babydoll look.

You've got that fierce broken look, amazing!

Broken. Their word. The bodies twisted and contorted to appear as though they have dropped down a flight of stairs and reassembled by a blind amputee. Broken as if thrown from the roof of a building and collapsed onto the pavement below. Broken as if beaten within an inch of their lives. Broken.

Perhaps I should, in the words of one Project Runway judge "lighten up, it's just fashion!" but I find it utterly terrifying to think that this is the new trend in modeling. Because I've BEEN a fifteen year old girl, and I KNOW that even a level-headed young lady with a brain full of IQ points and two feminist maternal figures in her life looks up to the fashion magazine editors to tell them what boys want in terms of beauty "today". They rely on the expert opinions of fashion stylists to tell them what looks good. And they will do their best to replicate those ideals in their own life. So it's hardly surprising that numbers for self mutilation and eating disorders are climbing to new and terrifying heights while fashion mags continue to push emaciated and "broken" paper dolls on the pages of the teenaged girls' guides to life. When did we lose sight of the healthy, powerful image of the superwoman and revert back to the imagery of the battered, atrophied, clothes hangers? How can I protect my little girl from the passive and active violence of society that is visited upon each and every woman in some form or fashion (of form of fashion as it so happens) when this is the industry standard for beauty?

Broken, awkward, collapsed, weak, exposed = fierce and sexy?

They tell them not to have opinions, not to over think it, to not be so intellectual or controlled. They praise the girls who hang like limp marionettes, but "smile with the eyes".

Let's hope my generation of mothers can say to their daughters, you are better than this. You are beautiful in your strength. Your voice and your health and your mind are the things that make you beautiful, not your angles, or your eyes, or your nose. Not your "smize". Is it your laughter. Love. Opinions. Ideas. Innnovation. Communication. Eloquence and Passion. A healthy body fed on real foods; a healthy mind fed on curiosity and insight; and a soul that is nurtured and fed the food of intellectual thought, philosophical and spiritual intrigue and creative expression. Let mothers says to their daughters: Fashion may define beauty as broken, but don't let them have the final word. Let your beauty be one of strength and power and on your terms. And let us all pray that our voices will resonnate more loudly than theirs.