Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
Remember the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? And how shocked was she to hear Snow White’s name instead of hers as the answer to the question above? She immediately sent Snow White away to be killed and when that didn’t work, The Evil Queen took matters into her own hands. This classic Disney movie made me think how in “real life” most people do not experience this same shock when the depiction of beauty isn’t them. In fact, most of us truly do not expect it to be.
Think about it for a second, if you will. If I was to say the word “beautiful” what image would pop into your head? Would it be your face? Or someone else’s? Now let’s get more specific. What do you picture when I say “beautiful woman”? What about “beautiful man”? People Magazine named Julia Roberts, Zoë Saldana, Scarlett Johansson, and many others on their World’s Most Beautiful 2010 list. Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper, and don’t forget the ex-football player turned Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa, represented some of the men on the list. Did you see any of these faces flash across your mind?
So now I'm wondering where this practice came from. Why isn’t someone’s first association with beauty with him or herself? Numerous things can influence an individual’s perspective, but one very important factor is what he or she is fed. Your mind, your emotions; they all function based on what you have been feeding them.
Let’s look at a few examples. A girl tells a boy that for a male to be attractive, he should have rock-hard abs and broad shoulders. He has just been fed a standard of attractiveness. A man points at a size 4 model on the television and tells his wife she needs to look like her. The woman has just been fed a standard of body image. We are constantly fed with ideas, images, and standards of what is acceptable, what is beautiful, and what is ideal. If it isn’t by someone close to us it’s the TV. Or if the media is actually reporting news that day, we can be sure to get it from movies, websites, magazines and even certain books.