Monday, September 30, 2013

Beauty The Paradigm Shift

I am proposing that every woman has their own individualistic sense of beauty;  there are no two women alike in the world.  So instead of striving for an unrealistic image of self, which is a futile, never ending undertaking, with no real end in sight, and typically unrewarding with no related joy.  As well as a journey destined for failure and leading to an excessive amount of money and time spent to achieve an external appearance that is unrealistic and nothing more than vanity.  What's more impermanent with constant upkeep, meaning that you will always have to go back for more, a touch of this and a nip and tuck there and the only ones that benefit from this in our society is the cosmetic industry, dermatologist and plastic surgeons.  What are the sacrifices as women that we make for beauty?  Is this the legacy that we want to leave to our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc?  I am hoping that you will all consider what I am proposing here.  I want you all to think about the time and money that you invest in the beauty industry and how it is never-ending.  Here are just a few astounding statistics gathered by NPD Group in 2012, in the U.S. $10.2 billion dollars, U.K. $3.4 billion, France $3.5 billion, Italy $2.2 billion and Spain $1.6 billion.  In the U.S. the dollar percent was up 7% from 2011, and most of that was driven by the skincare industry, $3.4 billion, makeup had the next highest gain of $3.4 billion followed by fragrance $2.9 billion.  The aforementioned statistics only represent the cosmetic industry.

Now lets take a look at the Cosmetic Procedures for 2012.  According to the America Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) in 2012 over 10 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States.  The top five surgical procedures reported are as follows:
  • Breast Augmentation: 330,631
  • Liposuction: 313,011
  • Abdominoplasty: 156,508
  • Eyelid Surgery: 153,171
  • Rhinoplasty: 143,801
According to the ASAPS women had more than 9.1 million in cosmetic procedures, 90% of the total, men seeking cosmetic procedures comprised the other 10%.  These reported astounding numbers increased by 252% from 1997.  Breaking these numbers down further in 2012 Americans spent $11 billion on cosmetic procedures, $6.7 billion was spent on surgical procedures, $2 billion was spent on injectable procedures; $1.8 billion was spent on skin care rejuvenation; and more that $483 million was spent on other nonsurgical procedures such as laser hair removal and laser vein treatment of legs.  The numbers above however do not take into account other doctors and naturopathic doctors that are getting into this market these numbers are only those reported from ASAPS.

How many of us have fallen victim to the beauty industry?  How many of us have been maimed by the beauty industry?  I am sure we can look around in our everyday world and see women that have suffered at the hands of bad plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures.  Even women in Hollywood are not immune to this.  I have also fallen victim to this, in 1990 after my last child I decided that I wanted liposuction so that I could get rid of that after childbirth little tummy bulge.  So what did I do I looked for a good reputable plastic surgeon, I was 38 years old and I thought I had found one of the best.  The aftermath of this procedure was very painful and the long-term results were not worth the pain or going under general anesthesia.  Back then they left your abdomen scarred from the suction tube going in and out to suck the fat out.  Just saying it now sounds gross because I was not fat then and never have been fat so why did I do it because I thought I could look better of course.  But it did not last and now I am stuck with what I think are the ugly remnants of the suction hose, which no one can fix.  I am now 61 years old and I think about having a tummy tuck and every 5 years I go to a plastic surgeon and ask him what he thinks and thank God some of them are ethical because they only tell me to go home and come back in 10 or 15 years.  Not sure I would care in 10 or 15 years anyway.  But my point of telling you this is there really isn't anything wrong with me it is in my mind and even I have those moments when I think I am not good enough.

But this "not good enough syndrome" is emblazoned in my mind and it began in childhood and I can honestly say that I think I was brainwashed before I was 5 years old.  My mother and grandmother were convinced that there was something wrong with my skin and that I was way too hairy technical term hirsutism.  Well first let's put things into perspective I am Italian and so was my mother and her mother and her mother.  But on my mother's side they had no body hair and on my father's side they did, so I took after him.  My mother convinced me that I could not wear short sleeves or a bathing suit unless I bleached every hair on my body.  I of course complied with her wishes because she was my mother and I was young and she was placing the bleach on my little body.  They convinced me at that age that there was something wrong with me and till this day it's chiseled in my mind.  Once they invented the laser hair removal process I was the first one knocking at their door in 1996.  I had every hair removed from my body and even raised my hairline so I would not have a widows peak anymore.  The process took me over 10 years and they even accidently removed my beautiful eyebrows and now I have to have them tattooed on because they no longer exist.  I work on acceptance everyday, but I am still caught in the beauty trap of thinking that I am not ever good enough.

So my dear sisters where and when does this insanity stop because we are the only ones who can stop this, one by one we have to all change our minds and begin to believe that we are good enough and that beauty is not a standard one size fits all.  Beauty is a perceptual experience and that by changing our core beliefs and how we feel about ourselves we really can influence our external appearance.  Think for a minute about women that you know who really are quite beautiful, but because they are unhappy and ravaged by life's difficult circumstances they do not appear beautiful.  Maybe they have too many worry lines, or maybe they have smoked too many cigarettes, or they are addicted to alchohol or drugs, all of these variables influence our appearance.  Even think about women runners that pound the concrete everyday or women who spend too much time in the sun, or women who have eating disorders.  All of these variables affect our appearance and all of these variables are choices. 

My purpose is to convince women to recognize that changing theirs minds about themselves can alter their internal and external beauty.  I want women to be able to look in the mirror and visually see that there is a greater "vision of beauty" to be seen.  It is my belief that beauty is the sum of all of our parts.  This means our physical wellbeing, our psychological wellbeing and our spiritual connection these three elements in combination can modify and increase our beauty.  So much of beauty is about changing our minds.  Our minds are one of our most powerful instruments and we have that manifesting power right at our fingertips.  So let's all become part of the "beyond beauty" paradigm shift we need in this world.  We need to connect with other women on a greater level it is true that we are all deeply connected and intertwined with each other.  It is not just about you or me it is about "we."  As a whole we can do this but we need to do this together.

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