Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Is American Beauty?

It never fails. Each and every time 
Gabourey Sidibe shows her face there is no shortage of mean spirited commentary about her weight. The insults fly across the media landscape for days after, and the feigned, insincere concern about her health is always brought up as if that were the real issue. Nothing is ever said about her talent, and the fact that she has more confidence than many women who are half her size has made her the subject of ridicule and disdain. As if she should be ashamed of being comfortable in her own skin. Whether you think she is beautiful or not, you have to admire the fact that she believes that she is beautiful and could care less what anyone else thinks. Days after her appearance at the Golden Globe Awards this past Sunday she had this to say to her critics,

“To people making mean comments about my GG pics,” she tweeted. “I most definitely cried about it on that private jet on the way to my dream job last night #JK.”

The criticism goes much deeper than body image or weight. It is a reflection of a westernized ideal. A standard of beauty that is a part American cultural conditioning. That standard does not include being overweight, or dark skinned or having any features that are remotely similar to, or indicate African ancestry.
Although there has been an alleged paragidam shift in what is acceptable in terms of body image. With both Rebel Wilson and Leah Dunham being praised for courageously representing the new normal. "Average" woman who are not ashamed to be who they are, or what they are. Neither one of these two women who are both equally as talented as Gabourey Sidibe, are subjected to insults and blatant disrespect.
With that being said, these two women, as overweight as they may be, still have attributes of the "standard". Both women are fair skinned with European features and the consensus therefore is that they have the right to be proud of who they are because two out of 3 is better than none out of 3.

What it means to be beautiful and acceptable has been dictated to us through a skewed lense with absolutely no room for variation or personal taste. Society teaches us to see with our minds long before we open our eyes.


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