“Change the chip”

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What did beauty mean to you when you were in your (early) 20s?

 Ideas of beauty for me were about internal stereotypes because of constant bombardment from the media and the perception I had (and still have) of the ideal woman: perfect body, perfect measurements, angelic face, fashionable… entirely superficial. Standards of beauty have evolved and been adapted to the times, traditions, religion, etc..

 At twenty, I felt a covert imposition of standards, through advertising, to present society as different from what it was and with the idea that one could change his or her body to feel better. But more shocking was the connection of these personal and societal changes to the purchasing of products and services. The market is greedy to grow, and grow exponentially, through dishonesty. Most disturbing is that the media and stereotypes in advertising manipulate and influence with so much power that they can “change the chip,” so to speak, in people’s minds, thus creating consumption into a basic necessity and making consumers believe that they are the ones who choose. As I see it, this is a very shallow business formula.

When I was 20, I wasn’t too worried about the physical (superficially speaking). I was a pretty natural girl, and at that age was very aware of who I was and how I saw things, or I thought I saw them…my head was full of thoughts of university and big life questions like where did I come, where am I now, and where am I going?

 I was connected with internal beauty but was completely unaware of it. I saw “beauty” as superficial external factor, not very important and not as an internal factor, the essence of a person, her values and beliefs.

What does beauty mean to you now?

 My perception of beauty has not changed much, although I suppose it is maturing. The essence of the person, her behavior, strengths and weaknesses, projects, dreams and illusions, defeats, all that person’s experiences are what make her grow, learn, choose and be beautiful in herself…that is what I am learning as beauty.

 Beauty is a set of characteristics that make each person unique with infinite possibilities to fulfill her dreams and goals. This is beauty to me: to live in harmony, to hope and learn, to know and be right with yourself, to be happy with small successes…this is beauty.

 If different, why have your ideas about beauty changed over the years?

 I guess my concept of beauty has matured to the point where I see each person as different, with everything that entails. Different and beautiful in herself, both the physical body and within.

Ester, 26
Cornellà del Terri, Catalonia
All above artwork is by Ester.

Being a beauty is something you cannot fake

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

Beauty to me always meant a girl’s appearance and for me this meant a beautiful face, very clear skin, long shiny hair and the girl had to be thin.  She also had to be very fashionable following the latest trends. I never applied the word to anything else.

What does beauty mean to you now?

For me beauty now holds a stronger meaning. I think it is shown through personality rather than appearance. I  strongly believe that someone who is always radiant (happy face) is a natural beauty as I believe it reflects that person’s personality. Make up and hair straighteners can help make someone look beautiful but its that radiant glow that I believe makes someone a beauty. Being a beauty is something that you cannot fake.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty changed?

Past experience has shown me this. It has been proven to me time and time again that beauty isn’t on the outside – it’s on the inside. An old adage I know. But the people that I used to idolize and wish to be, have always, in the long run seemed to lack genuineness. Its not long before their personality changes their persona. It’s amazing how once you get to know the real person how their appearance changes. Sometimes for the good and unfortunately sometimes for the bad.

Vicki, 27

Spain

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