Monday, September 26, 2011

Beauty is a cultural brainwash

London Weight Management created anger among Singaporeans with its controversial TV advertisement where an overweight woman's life is destroyed by his extra kg's and how it became a heaven after he has used the weight loss capsules from London Weight Management. Anita Kapoor wrote an open letter to the company behind the ads in her blog: An Open Letter to London Weight Management.

I personally find the advertisement disgusting (especially the opening scene where the overweight woman is looking down from a high rise building as if she is considering jumping). And I agree what Anita Kapoor wrote in her open letter. But let's be frank: Although it is not as severe as it is depicted in the advertisement, a woman's look in our modern times is one of the most important element determining her social status. This is sad to say and admit, but this is it. Many man want to have beautiful and attractive woman besides them and it seems like this is the only way they feel themselves happy or worse worthy! Why men (and woman) value beauty this much? The answer is simple, because they are brainwashed!

Yes, "beauty", as we value it, is nothing more than a brainwash. Social conditioning component of beauty is much more powerful than the hard wired genetic component of it. Men as well as women are brainwashed when it comes to perception of beauty.

You will agree with me, just think about the "beauty" concept of 100 years ago and now. Just look at those women considered sexy in the 17th, 18th century paintings. Look at the early movies of 20th century. They are fat with today's standards. And they are no way attractive or sexy. Do you think our brain biology change this fast so that our hardwired beauty perception changes! So what has changed! Culture? Yes. It has definitely changed. But something else also changed, which is the real determinant behind beauty, especially woman beauty: The rich!

Take for example, old beautiful women concept in the West. It was based on a rich woman of its time: pale white skin (because she had luxury of not working in the field like masses of her time), overweight (because she had access to calories which were an agricultural revolution away from masses). And look at the beautiful western woman of our time, it is again based on rich woman of our time. Tanned skin (because she has luxury to go to solarium or sunny holiday destinations as opposed to office working masses without that luxury), skinny (because she has time to go to gym as opposed to white collar masses). Think about it. After industrial revolution and following rise of service sector, women increasingly abandoned farmland for factories and offices where they could stay pale white. Then tanned skin became beauty trademark in the west. After agricultural revolution, excess calories became available to masses and then suddenly "beauty" lost its weights! After long office ours made us all fat and losing weight became luxury, "beauty" became skinny.

Beauty is 90 per cent (or probably more) a cultural brainwash. This part of beauty has nothing to do with the nature of mankind or genes. Believe me, if the fat would become a luxury in the future, in one generation fat women would become sexy again.

If you become aware that "beautiful woman" is nothing more than a cultural propaganda, rooted from the social envy to high level of society and amplified by media to sell mostly worthless goods, you will, and should, value it less. And abandoning the overweight given to beauty is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for happiness and self-worth. Both for men and women.

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