Most messages that pertain to beauty describe a fixed point. Beautiful is a goal, a set of characteristics that must be held up and striven for, a way of being that is reserved for a select few. Beautiful is something that can be achieved with ferocious dedication to exercise, generous investment in cosmetics, and meticulous attention to grooming. Beautiful is precious, difficult, and extremely narrow. In these messages, beauty is distant, foreign, tantalizing, and other. It is a destination at which we may never arrive, but which we must always be scrambling toward.
Most messages that pertain to style describe a fixed point. Stylish is a goal, a set of tastes and preferences that must be held up and striven for, a way of looking that is reserved for a select few. Stylish is something that can be achieved with the help of trained professionals, the guidance of industry-approved taste-makers, and the investment of significant cash. Stylish is one idea of flattering, one idea of sophisticated, one idea of creative. In these messages, stylish is complex, expensive, specific, and exclusionary. It is a niche into which we may never fit, but that we must always be attempting to fill.
And it’s all bunk. All of it. Concocted to sell us products, to implement a false hierarchy, to keep us feeling off-balance and powerless. Beauty is not a fixed point, it is a spectrum. And there is room on that spectrum for us all. Style is not a fixed point, it is a spectrum. And there is room on that spectrum for us all. Beauty and style are highly personal and flexible concepts. Anyone who declares that there is one way to be beautiful or one way to be stylish is simply wrong. It’s easy to fall into that particular thinking trap because you, personally, may not see physical beauty in every human being, and you, personally, may not see evolved style on every dressed person. But both are incredibly subjective. Other people may see abundant physical beauty where you see none, admire evolved personal style where you see none.
The next time you find yourself scrutinizing yourself or someone else through the lens of fixed-point paradigms, remember that subjectivity. The next time you find yourself scrutinizing yourself or someone and judging, remember the spectrums.
Because there truly is room on these spectrums for us all.
Originally posted 2013-01-25 06:23:45.