Beauty craze: when the body cult gets morbid
Flawless skin, perfect figure, endlessly long stork legs – unrealistic ideals of beauty determine everyday life and lead many people to inferiority complexes and a disturbed relationship to their own selves. In the western industrialized nations, billions are spent on expensive cosmetics, beauty treatments, dietary supplements and surgical interventions in order to keep up with the ideals of beauty. It is no longer just older people who are affected by the obsession with youth and beauty; even teenagers are increasingly falling victim to the body cult and taking the knife to emulate the artificial appearance of their idols.
Modern media and the body cult
Every person in the Western world is confronted daily with pictures that decisively shape the perception of beauty and attractiveness in society. A quick glance at a magazine or advertising poster is enough to constantly be confronted with photos of seemingly perfect superman. Artificially edited images of models with long legs, perfect proportions and rosy skin make Otto normal consumers quickly appear inferior and ugly. The media suggests that only people with dream proportions and flawless facial features are successful and loved in their professional lives.
Teenagers as victims of beauty mania
How an adult man deals with fashion dictates and ideals of beauty depends largely on his individual character and his life circumstances. Those who lead a happy private life, pursue their professional activities with passion and thereby develop a healthy self-esteem , automatically learn to accept and even love their little flaws.
Problematic is the pathological youth and beauty mania especially for young people who have not yet found their place in society and therefore define themselves primarily by their appearance. Teenagers tend to emulate their idols from film, television, and music, thereby creating unrealistic expectations of themselves. What they often do not know: Stars are photographed exclusively with a lot of make-up, expensive clothes and in ideal lighting conditions, which makes them seem breathtakingly beautiful and flawless.
What does not meet the high expectations of the photographer, can be chased away using image editing programs. The superhuman beauties that emerge from this, radiate from the pages of the fashion magazines and advertise every imaginable product, then shape the self-conception of the young people. The influence of such images often leads to reduced self-esteem, in extreme cases even to different mental disorders. Experts see, for example, one of the main causes of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders in the aesthetic specifications of modern media, which primarily affect young girls and women.
Plastic surgery as a birthday present
To meet the ideals of beauty, more and more people of a plastic surgeon can reduce, spray or optimize this, which is tormenting the daily look in the mirror. The Botox, liposuction and silicone implants business is booming – and not just among women. Worryingly, however, is the growing trend among adolescents to want a nose job or breast enlargement on their sixteenth birthday.
Not only in the United States or Brazil, but also in Germany, Italy and other European countries, minors have already become an important clientele for cosmetic surgeons. Since such interventions can have fatal consequences for the physical health of adolescents still in the growth phase, experts in Germany have been calling for a ban on such operations for years – until now in vain.
Escape the beauty mania
No supermodel looks like getting up like the photos in the glossy magazines. In the Photoshop program, the legs are stretched, wrinkles, pimples and orange peel corrected, body contours diminished. Anyone who keeps reminding themselves that the perfect beauty is a marketing tool deliberately used by large corporations for the sale of cosmetics and fashion can look at their own appearance with completely different eyes.
Maybe searching the internet for photos of top models and pop stars without make-up will help. It quickly becomes clear that even personal stylists, private make-up artists, photographers, hours of shootings and plastic surgeons at Kate Moss & Co. are doing anything but miracles.