Mirror Mirror on the Wall

By Lana Barakeh

Cover picture taken from BBC news

A lot of men aren’t going to like this one. It’s a topic they would like to keep in the dark. Why? Because it suits their idealistic standards of what a woman should look like.
News Flash: a lot of men love to control women. Having control over their looks, their job positions, down to what they do with their bodies. By now, everyone must have heard about the abolishment of Roe V Wade in the states, and it is just another example of how men truly believe that they have a say in what women do with their bodies. They force you to have babies and then shame you for the stretch marks. The beauty standards they have set are simply unattainable. That is not a coincidence. If you think that you have reached those standards, you have become worthy. They will never want to make you feel worthy. How else will they feel superior?
A clean-cut example of this is beauty pageants. Have you ever asked yourself who created them? It’s a google search away and written in capital letters so you can’t miss it. Hold in your gasps ladies and gentlemen, it was a man. His name was Phineas T. Barnum who came up with the bright idea of pitting one woman against another for male validation. They secluded us from one another and made us view each other as competition because as people say: the power is in the numbers. Eventually, you start envying those women that surpass you in ‘beauty’, resent them even. Instead, you should be resenting the people who made both of you believe that you are not worthy of being called pretty unless you are a size 0. Guess what, even that girl that’s a size zero has probably developed an eating disorder years ago and starves herself for a living. We can take Victoria’s Secret as another example. It is worldwide company with plenty of influence over so many girls. They market their stuff with the illusion that you will look like those girls on the posters. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Not because it’s our fault, but because it going to take a lot more than a new pair of underwear to fit their beauty standards. Come back with a couple of eating disorders, maybe that will do the trick. Personally, I never knew who the owner of Victoria’s Secret was until I listened to a song called ‘Victoria’s Secret’ by Jax. “I know Victoria’s Secret. And girl you wouldn’t believe it. She’s an old man who lives in Ohio making money off of girls like me.” It turns out she was stating facts. The owner was a man living in Ohio named Les Wexner who shouldn’t have had that much influence over women’s bodies with that receding hairline.
On a national scale, we can talk about Miss Lebanon. I grew up watching so many beautiful women parading on stage with sucked-in stomachs under the watchful eyes of judges. Not to forget the added benefit of the comments said left and right by my own family. “Her nose is too crooked”, “She’s too short”, … It’s a real confidence booster when the girls that are considered the beauty standard are still judged for their shortcomings. There are plenty of other reasons why participating in Miss Lebanon or any beauty pageant should be labeled as dehumanizing. One of them, is girls being paraded to fit the stereotype of ‘beauty without brains’. The questions asked that are meant to come off as a method to test their intelligence are simply not that, but rather a method used to degrade them and make them feel stupid. If big, powerful men sitting in a parliament haven’t been able to solve Lebanon’s economic crisis for three years, you expect a girl wearing a corset that prevents enough oxygen from getting to her brain to solve the issue in thirty seconds. Try asking Miss Universe to achieve world peace after you get her a decent meal so she can think about something else because personally, I can’t function on an empty stomach. Praise to all women for doing that.
Women have been objectified and picked to pieces in everything they do. Before someone decides to share their thoughts about how women aren’t forced to participate in these beauty pageants, I suggest you understand that physical force isn’t the only option. Societal pressure is a thing, and it infests every woman’s brain with thoughts of not fitting in based on their looks. You can’t hook someone on drugs only to take them away and wonder why they now crave it. Male validation is a drug eradicating the concept of beauty pageants won’t fix the problem , but we do have to start somewhere. Next time any a woman looks into the mirror to question if their fairness is enough, it is.

Edited by Daniella Razzouk

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