This post started off as a book review for Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens…but then I ended up going into a tirade about our society’s disturbing obsession with beauty and weight loss. Read on if you’d like to join me as I shake my crusty old lady cane at the downward spiral of pop culture in our country!
First off, I must tip my hat to Libba Bray for taking a satirical jab at the media—and how our society is still so accepting of archaic, patriarchal customs like beauty pageants. How these things are still accepted in modern times is beyond me. Now dog shows, I totally support. There’s nothing wrong with judging dogs based on good looks and obedience. But women? Call me crazy, but does it seem fundamentally wrong to anoint an “All-American” woman based almost entirely on how well she can sashay down a runway in sequined evening gown and skimpy swimwear?
In Beauty Queens, the author does a bang-up job showing how the teen castaways were programed by the media (and their equally brainless stage moms) to strive for nothing more than to become the next “Teen Dream.” They were taught to only worry their pretty little heads about being the most beautiful, thinnest shining star at the pageant. I loved watching them evolve from starry-eyed “Teen Dreamers” to survivalist renegades. The longer they were removed from their self-obsessed worlds, the more they were able to see themselves for who they truly were.
Even though this book is about as deep as Wiley Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon, it will get you thinking about everything that’s wrong with the media and corporate greed. I hope it will help teens realize that there’s more to life than what they see on in the mirror.
Admittedly, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life nitpicking my appearance, but now I’m starting to let all that crap go. My first step is to put up my blinders in the checkout aisle. Those magazines that promise us women folk that we can lose 20 pounds in one month can be oh so very tantalizing. Especially when your eyes flit to another magazine cover shaming a slew of celebrities in unflattering bikinis with cellulite dimples on their legs. And right next to that tabloid is a cover of US Weekly depicting “scary skinny” celebs. Too fat! Too skinny! Lose Half Your Body Weight in One Month! Good God, there’s no escaping these anxiety-provoking messages!
Funny how magazines like The Atlantic or The Economist aren’t ripe for the picking at the checkout stands. It’s sad to think that people are more prone to impulse buying a magazine about weight loss and burned-out celebs instead of something more substantial that will challenge their views about the world outside an ULTA store.
And how come we don’t see these weight-obsessed magazines marketed toward men? It’s 2014, people! Women have come a long way, but the media still wants to keep us trapped in the 1950s mindset. Statistics show that more women are getting college degrees than men. They’re running board rooms, bringing home the bacon and frying it in the pan! They’re running for governor and filibustering for women’s rights (thank you, Wendy Davis!), so should we still be worrying about being pretty to find and keep a man? I think not.
So kudos to you, Libba Bray, for giving this issue some much-needed attention—and in a very entertaining way no less! Ya Ya Sistas!