(This is an older post, placed on another blog, but its pertinence has not dwindled).
Image is everything.
Has it always been this way for us? I’m 25, so I don’t have the years to prove one way or the other, but it seems that image has become so much more sophisticated, and the pursuit of it so much more intense. Are we slaves to it? I’d say most of the population hold it as the highest life priority, some being close to obsession, and I am convinced that females are more afflicted than men. I’d say it was harder for women, but I maintain that image-worship is a choice, not a condition, or instinctive, so I have no sympathy for them.
Why has our image become so important?
Advertising, marketing, selling us to ourselves, has become such an efficient art now, that the vast globalised, corporate-enslaved population do not know any different. Humans have been lured in with the self-gratification bait of feeling good about ourselves, and have at the same time become slaves to the products that provide this for us. It is such an epidemic that we have devoted almost everything we are to the daily degrading, depreciating and consequently the self-improvement and image augmentation of ourselves. This has come at the expense of our fellows, of each other. These people, no longer true friends, but items of comparison, will not match up to the warped expectations that the system has informed them to expect, and so they return to their ‘things’ as solace. Lost, alone, clinging to items of no real value, wondering why their lives are so shallow and meaningless.
I saw an example, about a slim, not unattractive 18 year old girl who had undergone breast enlargement and liposuction, as a graduation gift from her parents. The girls mother said she had a unique perspective on how the girl was so unhappy with her body, as she had a similar ‘pear shaped’ build, and had suffered so far as to have ‘cried in store changing rooms’. The mother, having recently had a breast enlargement operation herself, stated ‘if she had the same opportunity that young she would have jumped at it’ as her own procedure had given her ‘so much confidence’. The father seemed to have said little apart from some comment about ‘if it makes her happy’ and ‘liking his wife’s new breasts.’
I looked for signs that this family was strange, unusual, extreme, but there was none. This young girl is already so immersed in the system that she feels that confidence is everything about who you are and not what kind of person you are. The mother, so much gone that she feels the same way towards image, she is actually paying for her daughter to do this.
I accept people feel that cosmetic surgery, which in my mind is much different than reconstructive surgery such as a mastectomy, is an acceptable thing. People feel that to change your body is important because it makes you look better, and therefore feel better.
Just because it is accepted, it does NOT make it right. It is accepted because we have been told to think that way, because it perpetuates the systems designs. To go as far as to carve into our own skin, to create a look we were not genetically meant to have, is the ultimate in image worship, and indicates the extent to which this disease has affected people.
If the human race is ever going to evolve, it has to shake away the chains of vanity. I thought that people were capable of looking beyond faces to judge one other, that personality, the kind of person we are, was more important than how we looked. That if we ever hoped to understand each other, to get closer to each other, that we would learn to look beyond the manufactured masks. Only it seems that we are accepting a system of judging one another that makes these mass-produced images the only way we see people, that there is no mask, or person behind it, just this thing.
What I’m saying may seem abrasive and harsh, but really think about how these examples affect your life. I’m not trying to preach, I just think that this disease needs to be rooted out from within ourselves, and this takes the strength to take the first step, to look inside, feel uncomfortable, and realize we have control of our heads. Make the choice. Are you a slave to your image, be it looks, thoughts, opinions? Do you know what you would think if there was no media, no TV? Do you even know who you are?
Take the first step. Don’t use your mirror for a week. Don’t think about how you look. This will lead on to the next step, not caring what other people think about how you look. Then watch your confidence build, real confidence.