Home Beauty “I Say That Inner Beauty Does Not Exist”

“I Say That Inner Beauty Does Not Exist”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

In light of last week’s essay on beauty, you girls [and guys and everyone inbetween] are doing me in with all the links and resources you’re sharing. Seriously, I’ve got to climb out of my inbox every now and again for air.

Venezuelan Standard of Beauty

I want you to view this video, and take a serious listen to what’s being said here. To be fair, unless you’re in Venezuela you won’t be able to question or understand what context their choices are made within… but, since this blog definitely has an international family, I’m interested in what y’all can share with me on this. It’s… I don’t know the words. It’s just…a lot.

I think it’s pretty f—ing jarring to hear someone say “I say that inner beauty does not exist; it’s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.” They need to justify themselves? As in, their raison d’etre? Their existence? Women who are not “beautiful” are subject to justifying their existence, lest there be no reason for them to exist?

Am I reading that correctly?

Beauty is sociopolitical. One person who wields the ability to affirm the wealthiest and most connected people in the world by proclaiming “beauty” as being “in their image” is, without a doubt, going to take that opportunity. It undoubtedly gives him status, as a result. Why create a standard of beauty that affirms the poor, when you can affirm the wealthy and use it to advance on your own personal agenda?

It also leaves a lot of women who don’t look like that standard… spending lots of money trying to get there.

And even in the video, the comparison of living, breathing, thinking, functioning human beings to mannequins was unbelievably jarring. Women are meant to be more than things that carry big breasts and hang clothes. We shouldn’t be expected to carve and slice our bodies in order to be a “more appealing” clothes hanger.

And, speaking of expectation, nothing was more mind-boggling to me than hearing him ask, “If it can be fixed with surgery, then why not do it?”

For starters, because many women cannot afford it. For second, since we insist on reinforcing this idea that a woman’s beauty should be the deciding factor in whether or not she’s marriage material – beauty that is only given to certain women that look a certain way – it’s encouraging people to look for traits that don’t even naturally exist. It artificially raises the need for things like breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and the like.

I remember being in high school and seeing girls get nose jobs, coming to school with what looked like black eyes and bandages across their faces. Your face has barely grown, yet – why alter it at such a young age? They knew something I didn’t – you “go to college to get your MRS degree, and you need to be pretty to be ready to get it.” If ready included nose jobs, then so be it.

I can’t express enough how much this video left me speechless – yes, “speechless” for me is 500 words – but I’m curious. What’s it like in your community? Neighborhood? City? Country? Do share. I’m curious.

You may also like


Confessions of a Fat Chick November 12, 2013 - 5:38 PM

Wow. What a horrible mentality that man has. I don’t even know what to say.

Where I live in the Midwest, USA, women in higher income brackets may have a little work done, but it’s not an overly obsessive thing. In the circles I travel in, I don’t think any of us feel like we’re lacking enough to have surgery, and we don’t have the money for it anyway. I don’t think women here get the pressure to be perfect (whatever that is) like women in other parts of the country do.

Felicia November 12, 2013 - 10:22 PM

Who is he to say what is beauty? Ironic because VERY few women would call him attractive. And all this applies to females only? So many things wrong, I can’t start to formulate an organized thought.

“Inner Beauty Doesn’t Exist” | Sophieologie November 12, 2013 - 10:43 PM

[…] “I think it’s pretty f—ing jarring to hear someone say “I say that inner beauty does not exist; it’s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.“ They need to justify themselves? As in, their raison d’etre? Their existence? Women who are not “beautiful” are subject to justifying their existence, lest there be no reason for them to exist?” -Excerpted from “I Say That Inner Beauty Does Not Exist” | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss  […]

MM November 13, 2013 - 1:22 PM

I see this every day and it’s disheartening. I do reconstructive surgery mainly and I almost didn’t become a plastic surgeon for this exact reason. I absolutely do not agree with this mentality and I think it’s hurtful to women and society in general. It’s big money and it’s popular in all countries and I’m not sure how to stop it.

Carmen November 13, 2013 - 1:28 PM

That man is simply disgusting. Is he even straight? It amazes me that men have this power to dictate to women what they should look like and affect their self-esteem to such degree. Erika you are SO right when you said that women are meant to be so much more than just clothes hangers. Maybe when we get that into our souls we will finally regain our power and love every bit of ourselvs. I believe in self-improvement but that is completely different from searching for perfection. When we let others decide what is “perfect” this is what we get-a standard that is unattainable by natural ways and we are destined to always feel bad about ourselves.

Young One November 15, 2013 - 5:21 PM

I think every country and every culture has it’s “idea” of beauty and perfection. With that said, it’s unfortunate that it’s generally the women who are scrutinized and made to feel bad about their bodies.

As women we just need to stop and say, “This is how I am look and how I am built, I am perfect the way I am, I just want to be the best healthiest me I can be”. I would hope if enough women feel this way, the madness will stop.

My personal anecdote is that I have had some men make fun of my lack of “ass”ets. I’m half black and half asian for whatever reason, I ended up with a small asian booty and ample boobies.

You know what…not my problem, it’s their problem. That just meant, they didn’t get any of my attention and my dating pool had one less fool in it.

Love and accept ourselves and we will find that others will do the same.

Mary November 15, 2013 - 8:08 PM

Wow, this made me cry. That man disgusts me. The notion of needing to attain a particular body by any means disgusts me.

I feel very sensitive to this. My self-confidence is still a work in progress. I am not beautiful, and videos like that scare me. Is this what will be expected of all women in the future as technology advances? What chance do I have in life, really?

kelaine December 23, 2013 - 11:42 PM

This might cause more frustration but it might also be worthwhile to look into plastic surgery culture in China and South Korea for more discussion on this topic. It doesn’t seem to take as degrading a form as this video portrays those surgeries in Venesuala (forgive me for misspelling but certain keys on my keyboard don’t work) but it’s still an interesting thing to consider on this topic.

As for the video itself, the juxtaposition of mannequins was in a way beautiful. For the story’s intended audience (which I’m assuming is American) it subtly conveyed just how absurd the view that beauty is a woman’s only worthwhile trait. It’s appalling, yes, but brilliant in terms of telling the story this video was trying to tell.

And as for the story – yeah, that man is disgusting. Yeah that attitude of plastic surgery and beauty is degrading and painful. The best thing we can do on a day to day basis to change it is be proud of who we are, as we are

Comments are closed.