The media seems to constantly portray what society deems as a beautiful woman. Reality shows, magazines and music videos all give of this visual image of the “all American girl.” It’s time to “smash the beauty box” and recognize that beauty comes in a variety of complexions, shapes, sizes and heights. It is often a topic on the African-American community about hair textures, complexions and size due to the image that media venues portray.
However, we are not the only population of individuals that go through these issues. Rosie Molinary, a freelance writer, editor, author and teacher, was the keynote speaker at the “Smashing the Beauty Box” program hosted by the Women’s Center, and Lambda Pi Chi Sorority during Women’s Week 2009.
Molinary has authored a book entitled, The Latina in Me which she said “centers on the issues that Latina women face and what she went through growing up.” She wanted the audience to know that “what’s hot is loving yourself, caring for yourself and others.”
Molinary researched and found out that 80 percent of American’s are dissatisfied with their overall appearance in the U.S. and that 94.6 percent say that women should do whatever it takes to become more attractive, meaning having breast augmentations, nose jobs, liposuction, and any other cosmetic surgery that will in enhance beauty according to society’s standards.
Have you ever heard of the term “super girl?” This is a new term that is used in today’s society by many people. This term is used to describe a person who does not want people to know that she works hard to be as close to “perfect” as possible.
For example, a “super girl” will get out of class early on a Friday and spend the rest of the time shopping for the “perfect” outfit, the “perfect” shoes, and the “perfect” accessories to attend a party that same night. Then she will spend hours doing hair, applying make-up, and putting her whole look together to show others her “perfect” appearance. Once at the party she thrives off of the compliments that she receives from others. If someone says, “You look really nice tonight,” the “super girl” will respond with something similar to, “Oh this old thing, I just threw something on at the last minute.”
Molinary said that the “super girl’s worth is depending on how other people respond to her.” Also, Molinary said that a Duke study found that individuals would like to have “effortless perfection.” This is when you do little to nothing to prepare but you look your best and receive compliment from others.
In recent years, The Dove Self-Esteem Fund has launched many commercials and aids that are aimed at improving younger kid’s self-esteem and perception of body image. Molinary showed a commercial that was aired during the half time show of a super bowl game a few years ago. She said that the commercial was “targeted towards dads about their daughter’s beauty” and how they should recognize that beauty comes in many different forms. She also announced that Dove.com now has a body image online training guide. She encouraged everyone to visit Dove.com and complete the training. She promised that “you will benefit from it in one way or another.”
Some media, such as the Dove commercials, try to promote a positive outlook on body image and perception, but it was pointed out how other media sources such as magazines, reality television, and videos constantly place images in people’s head on what is deemed as beautiful by society.
Felicia Baity, assistant director for African-American Student Affairs, pointed out how “reality television has a huge impact on people’s perception, both positive and negative.” She brought up the example of America’s Next Top Model and how they added a twist to the eligibility requirements for the upcoming Cycle 13. For this cycle, Tyra Banks has made the height requirement 5’7″ or below. This will open up the doors for more “average” height females to apply.
Jennifer Rodriguez, a senior in communication and sociology, said, “I love the Bad Girls Club, and it doesn’t show the super skinny girls; they are all average in my eyes.”
It is important to realize Rosie Molinary’s message which is to “love thyself” despite what others say, especially the media. Beauty should come from within.
Molinary encouraged the audience to log on Dove.com and take the online body image training that they provide. As cliche as it sounds “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and everyone should remember that. So as Molinary said, we should all strive to “smash the beauty box!”