Field Notes #1 - The Survey -
 
Over the past month I've received emails, fb messages, and quicktime videos in response to three questions I asked every girl I knew. Question 1: What is beauty? Question 2: Are you beautiful (why or why not)? and Question 3: Who is beautiful? I got answers from girls as young as 16 and as mature as late 40's. I've also spent the past month paying closer attention to facebook and tumblr notes and posts written by girls in high school and college.  I've noticed some common things in each response and note that I would like to talk about individually in this field notes/ blog.
#1 - Beauty is your heart/ comes from within
Almost every single woman and girl that responded to my questions said something about true beauty being inside you.  It is an inner strength, your character, the spirit within you.  It makes me wonder if this is a flaw in our society.  Inside beauty is a great thing to cherish, but why such little attention to outside beauty?  Some ladies thought that outer beauty reflected inner beauty.  Others felt that there was really no worth in outer beauty.  Others knew exactly what their outer flaws were and were quick to point them out, but they recognized their inner beauty and valued that as higher.  After doing research in the past month through watching documentaries, reading articles and books, and participating in my gender role sociology class, I wonder if American culture has gone so far to equate women to sexual objects that women are turned off to the thought that they could be beautiful on the outside... Do we view ourselves as things to be decorated for men?  When girls are little, they often play dress up- they enjoy getting all made up.  Obviously with shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and America's Next Top Model there is still a portion of society that likes to play dress up, but what is there cost?  I can't see how some of the people on those shows can be truly happy because people put on such a facade.  A question for my focus group centers around the possibility of finding a balance.  Can you truly value both outer and inner beauty at the same time?  It seems as though some people obsess over outer beauty to find their worth, but there's another group of people that put such little value on their appearance that they really don't see the beauty of their bodies and faces because they try to fall back and rely on the inner strength and beauty they possess.  Can there not be a better balance of these two things?
#2 - True beauty comes from God
I realize that this statement probably would not have been a common theme if I didn't know so many Christian women.  To be fair- I sent my questions to every female I know on facebook and the majority of the ones that responded were Christian.  I wonder what that says about our perception of beauty...  Do Christians care more about beauty or are they more eager to answer the question?  Several girls believe that the Holy Spirit indwelling in a person makes them beautiful- which goes back to all the comments about character revealing true beauty.  One lady also believed that physical beauty is possible through taking apt care of the body God blesses each of us with.  She believes that God created our bodies to be active and that they function best when we are active, eating the most naturally grown foods, and enjoying the sunshine.  Other women knew that they were beautiful because God believes they're beautiful.  Instead on leaving themselves to judge they're beauty, they look to God to judge their beauty.  All of the answers I got intrigued me, but I was most intrigued by the amount of Christian women that responded to my message as opposed to all the other women I asked.  I'm not particularly close to the women and girls that responded, whether or not they were Christian, so why did these ladies have something to say?
#3 - Boys.
I've read some disheartening things about ladies that feel incompetent or unattractive because of rejection.  I've also gotten a few responses that hinted that men & the media are the judges of who is externally beautiful.  Why do we let this happen?  One of my favorite responses to my questions was a girl that is so confident that every single woman has strength and personality inside of her that is beautiful and that without clothes, makeup, etc we are still left with our strength and beauty.  I think she's on to something.  I personally think that we have the potential for strength, that we don't always fulfill.  We all have differing personalities and interests and different points of view.  I believe we're made like that for a reason and that our individuality is an attribute of our beauty.  So why do so many girls conform to this sexual/ lustful image?  Aren't we worth more than that?  Dreamworlds 3 is a documentary I watched recently and it absolutely repulsed me.  Pair it with a recent article I read: Teaching about Being an Oppressor: Some Personal and Political Considerations, and you get an acute taste of what a man-driven society this is.  Men should NOT define us.  I don't typically consider myself a feminist... there's a lot of negative connotation in my mind with that word.  I consider myself an activist for equal rights and equal perception.  One gender shouldn't control the other, and the majority of women in the media today are sexuality in some way or another.  Not cool, America. Not cool.  I see the struggles my friends on facebook and tumblr are dealing with and I want to ask them, "Why are you looking for validation in an imperfect male?"  Why do we also look for validation in the latest fashion trends and what magazines tell us we should look like?  I can't imagine that the majority of us are happy feeling like we have an impossible standard to live up to.  Just watch Grace's rant near the end of The September Issue and you'll see how the creative director of Vogue recognizes the models "aren't real people."  If we all face this same problem of not feeling beautiful on the outside, why don't we do something?  Why aren't we more open about encouragement?  We're all humans, we all have emotion, typically as women we all have something inside of us that wants to nurture and help others.  Why don't we spend more time helping ourselves?  Some women are catching on to this.  My final notes are a thank you to the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem and Operation Beautiful.  They've seen the need and they've done something about it.  Now it's my turn.
9/25/2012 17:08:03

good one post bro

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