My turn: The truth behind beauty

Posted: Monday, May 19, 2008

A healthy body means feeling, looking and staying physically and mentally fit.

In America, teenagers and young adults are getting mixed messages, mostly from the bad M's (media, movies, and men). Dating back centuries ago, the hourglass figure was the look that attracts. Today, women are expected to be 5 feet, 7 inches with blue eyes and blonde hair, with almost no body fat. While in a black community, thick thighs and hips are what is really considered "beautiful" and "sexy."

There is a medium in between each of these assumptions that is the truth behind a beautiful healthy body.

"The Body of the Beholder" is an essay by Michele Ingrassia, which raises attention and awareness to teen issues. According to Ingrassia, the teenage body standards vary for different races and in how females especially are told to look. Black teenagers, especially female, are proud of their bodies and being their own individual person, while white teenage girls are embarrassed of their bodies, only noticing their flaws.

In a black community, the path to beauty is long and wide. Almost all black women are satisfied with their body and appearance, according to the essay.

Ingrassia makes it clear that black women stand confident and happy, even if they are overweight.

The media has had great affect on society to what we consider "beautiful." White teenagers and young adults have been the media's targets for decades, dating back to Twiggy, the young mod model in the 1960s with a slender and tall figure.

Children are brainwashed from early on, playing games with their Barbie toys. Barbie is a tall blonde plastic toy with a waist half the size of her thin hips, which children enjoy dressing up and wanting to be "Just like Barbie!" Bratz Dolls are another media attraction to target young girls into buying for their astounding looks and popularity. Of course the dolls are again lacking proportion, throwing ideas into children's heads that beauty is within the fake doll held in their hand.

I believe that black people had to fight (and are still fighting) for more important issues such as social justice for so long, and white girls had taken this for granted, and tend to be spoiled and more self-indulgent. There is a greater sense of pride and perhaps "family connectiveness" that makes for a stronger individual in black people, especially women.

Dieting and weight loss among white Americans is so increasingly common these days that health and exercise is overruled. A model figure is unnatural and unhealthy. The media needs to take a complete turn on their ideal "beautiful" women, and focus it on the inner soul. The body of the beholder is only beautiful to those who see inside.

• Katy Organ is a senior at Yaakoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School and Douglas resident.

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