Tuesday, August 28, 2012

America the Beautiful - great documentary!

Over the weekend I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix called "America the Beautiful". 

This film was a really great look into why Americans (specifically American women), are so obsessed with beauty and looks.  It's shocking, funny, and also a bit frightening. 

It made me think of having a very blunt discussion with a typical American man (if they were being blunt as well): 

Me:  "Why don't you find me attractive?"
Man:  "Your tummy is too big, and your thighs are large."

Me:  "Why is that unattractive?"
Man:  "Because you don't look like Gisele, or like a hot actress.  They have flat stomachs and thin legs."
Me:  "And why are they beautiful, and not me?"
Man:  "Because they just ARE."
Me:  "But why are flat stomachs and thin legs beautiful, but not full tummies and round thighs?"
Man:  "Uhhhhhmmmm...."

It dives into topics like this, as well as eating disorders, self-esteem issues, the advertising industry, the make-up industry, etc.  One of the parts that I found the most fascinating was when they were talking about how up until 1995 (I think), Fiji did not have television.  They valued full rounded bodies, because that meant you were healthy, and fed well.  In just two years after finally getting television their perspectives had changed, and suddenly women wanted to be thinner, and men wanted them that way too.  In just two years.  No WONDER we're so messed up - we've been being fed this crap for over 50 years!

It also kind of made me want to throw out all of my makeup and start over!  It's shocking the amount of cancer-causing agents that are found in makeups and skin products (lotions, etc.), that are not banned in the US.  Since Europe started regulating the chemicals put in cosmetics, they've banned over 460 harmful ingredients from being allowed into those products.  So far, the FDA has banned 6.  SIX.  

The plastic surgery, and the young girls wanting to get it done was shocking as well.  What are we teaching our young girls??  It's awful!  

I also realized that this video that I loved so much was actually a clip from this film!  Ha! 

Anyway, I'd highly recommend this film to men & women alike.  It's well researched, informative, and really opened my eyes to a lot of things I've been thinking about lately.   Here is a link to the trailer if you want to check it out!

If you look back through my blog, you'll probably notice that I've struggled a lot with weight, the number on the scale going up & down, and my body image (as most American women do).  But once I started thinking more about what BEAUTY really is (especially with the fact that I'm getting my head shaved soon), I really started thinking - what is beautiful to me?  

Beauty can be on the outside, yes, but if not combined with inner beauty it dissapears.  Beauty is in the heart, the mind, the soul.  It is in the brightness of smiles and eyes.  It's in kindness and goodness.  It's in happiness.  

I have been thinking about it more and more, before I even found out about this documentary.  And I realized, I'm beautiful - exactly the way I am.  I know this might seem like an easy thing for people to say, but for me to say it AND truly believe it is a huge step for me.  I think the film explained it well when a mother said "how is a girl supposed to think when all her life she hears her mother - the woman she looks up to most - say how her tummy is too big, that she needs to lose weight... then she looks in the mirror and says, 'I look like that too'."  It's not just my mom though - I'm a product of this society.  I've been told all my life by movies, television, magazines that I'm NOT beautiful.  

I would throw out my bathroom scale, but I know John likes to use it sometimes - so I'm just not going to use it anymore.  That thing has only brought me pain and dissapointment, and I'm sick and tired of beating myself over that number going up one digit.  It's just insane, and I'm over it!

After 31 years of being bombarded by all of it, I've decided to let it go.  I will no longer get depressed when I open a magazine, turn on the TV, or watch a movie.  I will wear things that hug my curves, and who cares if they show a little of my wobbly bits here & there!  I will embrace my body and love it for all of the flaws, because really - who decided they were flaws anyway!?  Not me!! 

Please watch this documentary, and think about all of this yourself too.  
Love your tree.  Love yourself.  
You are beautiful.  


Kendra said...

you ARE beautiful. very much so. ps adding this doc to my ever growing list on netflix!

Beth B said...

Thank you, Kendra! SO ARE YOU!!! :D I can't wait to hear what you think about it!

Ariel said...

Thanks so much for recommending this because I shouldn’t care what others think I should look like! I’ve struggled for over 25 years with several of my attributes, and I’m just now coming to realize that it’s all in my head. I told one of my girlfriends I work with at Dish about this movie, and she’s just as excited as I am to watch it. She just found out that she’s pregnant and already her self-image issues have skyrocketed in a bad way. I really hope that this helps because she should be celebrating the changes in her body. We found that America the Beautiful is free to watch on Dishonline.com, so we can share it with all of our friends and loved ones. It’s about time we take back our self-images from Hollywood and the media!