I recently heard about the exclusive online dating site, BeautifulPeople.com, that ousted around 5,000 members because they had gained too much weight over the holidays and were no longer “beautiful”. I hadn’t even known such a site existed, and after a quick search I discovered that it’s far from alone. These sites say whole volumes about our society, much of it not good.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I definitely didn’t think of myself as beautiful when I was overweight, and I was quite convinced that no one else would, either. But I have to wonder, if I had been able to see what beauty I had, would others have seen it as well? How much of our perception is based off our own ideas of ourselves, and what other people actually think?
I particularly wonder this because it occurred to me that being considered “beautiful” was not actually part of my goal or plan for losing weight. That was never what it was about for me – it was about being able to do things I couldn’t otherwise. It was also because I realized that waiting until other people acknowledged my worth, despite my weight, wasn’t going to get me anywhere. The strange truth is, I still don’t know how to react when someone now tells me that I’m beautiful. I have to wonder if it’s just my body, or something else about me that they find lovely.
What worries me about all of this is that the images we’re fed of what’s beautiful are largely impossible to retain, although some people spend small fortunes trying. I actually feel rather sad for these people BeautifulPeople, wondering what will become of them as they age, how depressed and despairing they will be. After all, as Howard stated in What’s Up, Doc?: “Everybody gets wrinkled, lined and flabby.”
In the end, as we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I just wish our society were a little less focused on making us believe that’s all that matters.