Friday, 17 July 2015

Talking Body.

It was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said, "The only thing that is constant is change." I bet Heraclitus knew that he himself would soon change after saying that, and was probably aware of how much he had changed before that moment.

I've been watching this series online called the "What's Underneath Project", launched by a New York City based mother-daughter duo, Elisa and Lily, known by the brand name StyleLikeU. Their main objective for this series is to allow people to see "what's underneath" their clothing. The subject for each episode is asked to remove his or her clothing on camera, projecting the idea that style is not the clothes that you wear, but who you are as a person that is the source of your personality.

Here's the StyleLikeU beautiful mother-daughter duo themselves.
Source: Twitter

I myself, have been an advocator for individuality, and self-love for quite some time, and if you've followed my blog, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. I really do admire this duo's work and their mission statement, which has been to "lead a movement that empowers people to accept and express their true selves" as quoted on their Twitter page found here.

My favourite videos from this series so far can be found here and here, and I'm happy to say that they are the inspiration behind this blog post, so thank you so much!

After watching these videos I soon came to the realization that, society has really made us think that shaming others, and feeling insecure about ourselves, has been okay, that it has been a norm.

However, while this movement of shame has been so prominent for so long, I've noticed that within the past few years, we've been trying our best as a human race, to get away from this narrow minded mentality. Largely widespread across North America, many people have been starting groups and movements for the glorification of individuality just like StyleLikeU, resulting in the inspiration towards many other countries to participate as well, allowing self-love to be a global change, which has been absolutely beautiful.

One of the most recognized movements has been Dove's Real Beauty and Self-Esteem campaigns such as this one, where women were drawn by an artist based on, how they described their appearance, displayed on the left, and how strangers described their appearance, displayed on the right.

I can say that as an individual that has been given the privilege to grow up with a strong heritage, it can definitely be hard for a culturally distinct group of people to accept diversity when it comes to physical appearance. This usually stems from the fact that, when you're from a particular culture, and grow up in your native land, you realize that most people have the same sort of aesthetic, that no matter how much the aesthetic of the global community changes, remains static in the native land. This doesn't necessarily mean that a particular culture cannot become more accepting of diversity, but can have a harder time because aesthetic, as we may know, makes up a huge part of cultural identity.

As a filipino woman, I can say that the most glorified aesthetic of the Philippine culture is displayed here. Notice the trend of the large doll like eyes, lighter skin tone, long dark hair, and especially the ironic "mixed culture" factor that claims 3 women on this list (#1 Dawn Zulueta, #2 Kim Chiu, and #5 Marian Rivera).  

Which means, that I, along with many others believe that the contemporary North American society can be a lot more, and should be a lot more, sensitive to, and accepting of, self-love. The idea of the "melting-pot opportunity" in the US and in Canada has become so active lately, that we expect people to assimilate, more than accept, the diversity that is what makes these two countries so beautiful, and individual themselves. I think that this assimilation has caused many people to assume that we need to not think about colour, and to not think about where we came from, and to deny our culture, when in reality, this should have been more of a movement towards learning about the things we've become ignorant towards for so long, which is that, cultural diversity is meant to be acknowledged, and is meant to be a strength for our nations.

With the discussion of cultural diversity, comes the idea that body image does not need to be so static, and shouldn't be in North America. I may not have an idea to pitch about the body image of different cultures, but I do think that, as a culturally diverse set of nations, we need to be a lot more aware of the idea that, bodies come in different shapes, and sizes, and that comfort and confidence come in different aesthetics.

This means that, we need not to glorify one face, or one style, or one "golden ratio", but instead, need to find the beauty that is deep within every single type of body, big or small, thick or thin, blank or scarred, tattooed or barely covered. It is not just something we need to try to do, but it is our calling as a set of nations that seek to embrace individuality.

At the end of the day, yes our bodies are part of who we are, but they are not entirely who we are, and bodies come and go, they change. They have the ability to scar, to sag, to build muscle, to lose muscle, to stretch, to squeeze, but they are just bodies, we are who we are for our personalities. Even models, from Chanel Iman to Heidi Klum, are known for their faces, but are remembered for their personalities and souls.

Our bodies are just bodies, they are part of us, but they do not make up who we are, we do.

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