America, the beautiful

It’s happening. Every inch of my body can feel it.

Spring Break (woo!) is over.

Last night I stayed up way past my bedtime in an attempt to delay the inevitable. All it resulted in was crappy sleep and waking up much later than I should have.

In an effort to get on track for the work week, I decided to intertwine my normal Sunday evening routine with more enjoyable lazy Sunday activities. One activity was watching America The Beautiful, a documentary about America’s obsession with beauty.

Have you seen this documentary? What I found most interesting was that the film was made by 4 male filmmakers. Generally speaking, documentaries that focus on beauty/weight/body image are from a female perspective. It was interesting to listen to the filmmaker talk about our obsession with all things beauty. The film covered many areas of beauty interest including makeup, a 12 year-old model’s career (yes 12),  a group of male chauvinistic pigs (there just isn’t a nice way to describe these fellas), and plastic surgery…for animals.

It wasn’t the most amazing documentary, but it is one I would recommend to others. Because I am very interested in the subject matter, I already knew a lot of the information presented. But I kept thinking about the media and advertising unit that my students finished a few weeks ago, and thought this documentary would be a great supplemental piece to the curriculum.

I found this quote to be quite sad:

Health doesn’t become an option in this business. If you’re going to worry about your health, go to college.

– “anonymous” model

Obviously I have a number of issues with this statement. But I’m interested to hear what you think about it. Think back to your middle and high school years, were you obsessed with beauty? Did you think being skinny was important to your self worth? Did you think skinny = healthy? Did you not worry about what was actually healthy because it wasn’t a concern at the time?

Below is a clip from the documentary. At :26 into the video, model Garren Taylor (then 15), discusses how she wasn’t able to get modeling jobs because she was told she was too fat. In fact she was labeled obese. She’s a size 4.

This documentary sheds light on America’s obsession with beauty, and how our definition of beauty is shaped by the media. But we, as a society, keep buying into this unrealistic ideal and in turn drive the steam engine that rolls over us. It’s a vicious cycle, how do we stop it?

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