By Lucinda Brewer, Youth & Family Services Coordinator at Circle, Barre, Vermont
My Beauty, the video posted above was created by the “Finding Our Voices” group facilitated by Circle, the domestic violence program for Washington County, Vermont. The group consists of young women in high school and covers many topics ranging from body images, healthy relationships, social stigmas and other related subjects.
Before making, My Beauty, the group discussed gender oppression in the media and the many negative effects that it has on young women and girls. We looked through fashion magazines (all marketed to a young female audience) finding few positive messages about beauty but finding plenty of misrepresentations of real women. Most ads and articles we found portrayed women and girls in hyper-sexualized, flawless and photo-shopped, youthful, thin, and displaying unhealthy manners. Such images of women in these magazines create stereotypes for women that are neither realistic nor obtainable. The message to young women is that there are few ways to be beautiful. Lack of representation of anyone different than these “model types” makes anyone else seem irrelevant, unimportant and ugly…
My Beauty, is about what we find beautiful in ourselves in the midst of the concepts consistently offered to us by the media. According to dictionary.com, beauty is “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).” I can’t remember the last time I experienced “deep satisfaction” from the mass media projections of beauty. Beauty is real, powerful and doesn’t come in a can. The students put a lot of thought into our video’s contents, please enjoy!