I got my first brace in my late forties… I have to admit, it was an aesthetic decision. My dentist informed me about all the health aspects of a jaw correction, but, in the end, the reason for my decision was a different one.
However, how much has aesthetics got to do with the widespread slimness mania and the excessive body culture? Are there any invisible borders which have been quietly crossed in the western world?
The fact is that…
- … there have never been so many photos of super slim, super perfect and super wrinkle-free girls and women on the net than now. Mind you, not least because of photoshop and photo filters.
- … it has never been so easy and affordable to ‘create’ the female body according to general taste, to wax it, to pluck, to cream, to botox, to exercise, or to starve it. In the meantime, there are not only Botox-parties and Botox-flat rates, but also special Botox offers for students.
- … the inhibition threshold for cosmetic surgery has never been so low. Breast operations, plastic surgery in the genital area, or even chest operations, where ribs are removed to gain a slimmer waist, have been part of the common beauty culture for a long time.
The interesting thing is that most of the women do not primarily want to be prettier or slimmer, but they long to be part of certain groups in society with their styled bodies. Furthermore, most of these women suffer from a compulsion to control which also effects their bodies:
The sociologist Eva Barlösius says that women want to express an attitude with their bodies, to have control, to be disciplined, and to have a willingness to perform. As long as our ideal of beauty is connected with success and social status, nothing will change.
Whereas one group of women exercise so long and intensely that you can see a vertical furrow on their stomach, slowly a counter-movement starts to form. Bloggers encourage us to love our bodies the way they are. They stand by their cellulites, or their stomachs left by pregnancies, and a few kilos more on the hips, or thighs. The documentary ‘Embrace’ encourages women to give up the pseudo-femininity madness.
Actually this madness has not got anything to do with femininity. But as long as women do not really understand what femininity means, nothing about this female body culture will change.
But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon: it is the ‘millennials’, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. An increasing number of these women (and men) live a healthy life style and say NO to the pseudo-femininity madness. I will talk about them in one of my next blogs.