I come from a long line of beautiful, vain women. It's been hard to live with. I grew up with people raving about my mom looking like a Barbie, or a movie star. My grandmother (still thriving at 96) is still glamorous. My mom (73 and stunning) has had two facelifts to maintain her standard of beauty. I don't have a problem with people choosing to look their best whenever they walk out the door each day, but I've tried hard not to impose an 'ideal' on my own girls. Unintentionally, my mother's insistence that she "put her face on" and "get dressed up" before she saw a soul made me think that my natural self was unattractive. I needed makeup and hair to be beautiful. I should be slim. Pressure built, and, at 15 I developed anorexia. This was back before the disease was so rampant. One other girl in my high school looked emaciated like me--that was all.
Anorexia (in my case) was a direct result of my need to control my life and myself from the inside out, not feeling like I had to 'be' beautiful or thin.
Any obsession ( as you mentioned in your above question ) with youth and beauty is dangerous as most obsessions mimic addictions and often create unhealthy spawn.(i.e. eating disorders, obsession with plastic surgery to name a few ) A society where beauty is ranked so high on the list of priorities fails, as beauty fades and bodies die.
I doubt the world's fascination with beauty will wane any time soon. In today's world of "five minutes of fame" reality TV stars who prostitute themselves via television shows, product endorsements, etc. just because they're attractive and willing, the message these media-producers are sending is "You can have this too, if you're willing to do ANYTHING."
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