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Lerato Scribess Sibanda - Power.Passion. Purpose - I am a writer, academic and spoken word artist -- http://beautybeginswithbe.blogspot.com/

The many ideas of beauty

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ideas of beauty

The word B.E.A.U.T.Y is a word burdened with a myriad of connotations. In fact the demands of the word burden us as well. The vain task of deciding what is beautiful and what is not in shopping for clothes for example always has one in a daze. This six character word is also a misnomer for all sorts of crazy philosophies which society and her pimp, ‘the media’, cook up in their adulterous minds. To be quite frank I am not sure whether so-called ‘beauty’ is fact or fallacy, perhaps it doesn’t even exist at all but is really a propagandist scheme created by some brainy genius living underground somewhere in a quest to take over the world *Dr Evil laugh*. Case in point: Beauty is relative.

Daily we are constantly bombarded with beauty myths weaved within the matrix of urban life. On billboards, covers of magazines, somewhere in the lyrics of popular tracks and in everyday conversation beauty is being defined for us and on behalf of us. But what is your definition of beauty?

Over the years many beauty myths have been formed and the impact of these myths on our identities is accelerating faster than a Gone- in- 60- Seconds escapade. There are a number of myths that I’ve come face-to-face with. The first myth I’ll make mention of is the “Fountain of Youth” myth which celebrates the Halle Berrys, Madonnas and George Clooneys of the world with their eerie supernatural ability to not age! As it stands looking 25 at 40 is a yardstick measure of so-called ‘natural beauty’. The second myth is what I’ll term the “Bling is King” myth that says that beauty is a commodity that can be purchased. Teeth whitener, plastic surgery, fake hair, expensive or “nice” clothes and a hot set of wheels are all beauty commodities. If you don’t know what I’m on about consult Khanyi Mbau and she will confirm that beauty can be acquired with a swipe of the credit card. But of all these beauty myths nothing beats the “Beauty is who you roll with” myth. Here all you need to think of is groupies or fans who dote themselves on hanging out with *cough cough* celebrated people or celebrities even when they aren’t necessarily *cough cough* celebrated themselves. These hype followers are not to be viewed as sore losers because they know and understand the power of association hence why they choose their “friends” like their clothes…with much thought. Last but not least is a mass- produced beauty myth prevalent amongst the black race and this is the “light complexion equals beauty” myth. This myth does exist for real and has the more chocolaty darkie raiding the shops for skin lighteners or if not just feeling insecure. Of this myth I’ve made up my mind that it is just another mere slave mentality but let me not even go there…

Beauty myths vary slightly from place to place but they have a common thread in that they expose the complexity of the idea(s) of beauty in our world. Some of the things that people do for beauty is macabre which suggests that the very idea of beauty they hold must be macabre as well. Perhaps you are one of them indoctrinated people lost in the ideology of beauty? I know I am!

Let me end with this, I really would love to see and hear of a more holistic definition of beauty doing the rounds. So far beauty has been a word used to reference weight size (depending on what part of the continent you’re from), youthfulness, skin, hair, clothes, accent, teeth, style, wealth etc. basically external appearance but rarely does it refer to inner beauty. How about a definition of beauty that includes values of authenticity, originality, identity and celebration? Now that’s an idea. Beauty revolution I say BEAUTY REVOLUTIOOON!

Stay beautiful whatever that means to you and share your ideas of beauty if you will. Haha I dare you. Word!

Your scribe.

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