- Quality of Life & Wellness
Beauty - A Blessing or a Curse? How to dispel the myths surrounding this question.
"Beauty has a lot to do with character"
- Kevyn Aucoin.
This question frequently brewed discussions for several centuries - " Is being beautiful a blessing or a curse or both?". This question often target particularly those famous people with tragic lives as well as successful and glamorous celebrities. Is beauty a blessing just because a person is merely beautiful to look at? Or is being too beautiful a curse that will affect those beautiful people's lives? Snow White, the heroine from the famous fairytale, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, is no exception when it comes to being asked this question. With skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony and lips as red as blood, it seemed that Snow White is blessed with such perfect beauty. Yet Snow White is also said to be cursed as her stepmother, the Evil Queen, is very jealous of her beauty and is determined to kill her. In spite of this so-called myth, Snow White has a happily ever after ending! Why? It is because of Snow White's inner beauty that ignited her outer beauty. Her innocent and sweet nature touched many whom she met - the huntsman that was sent by the Queen to kill her; the seven dwarfs and finally the Prince who saved her from near-death through a kiss.
" Because beauty isn't enough, there must be something more"
- Eva Herzigova.
Most people associate beauty with crystal-clear complexion, smooth, shiny and thick hair, hourglass figure, even teeth and aquiline features. In reality, such perfect beauty is non-existent! Movie stars, supermodels, certain sports-persons and socialites look picture-perfect thanks to their immaculate make-up, good camera angles, artful photo-shop and of course working-out under the personal supervision of professional trainers as their well-groomed looks are their ticket to fame and success in their respective careers. Many starry-eyed youngsters like to emulate their idols by copying their look or style and even try to be like them by exercising too much or starving in order to match their favourite celebrities's physique. This is a startling trend, especially among teenagers. Remember that beauty is only skin-deep. It is inner beauty that counts much more than outer beauty. We, the people, are all beautiful in our own way. We all are blessed in many ways. Possessing more inner beauty than outer beauty makes us most beautiful!
The lessons from the movie Malena - about the most beautiful woman in the town"cursed for her beauty".
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it" - Confucius.
I am going to relate to all of you a story from an Italian movie masterpiece titled Malena (2000), starring Monica Bellucci, the well-known European and Hollywood actress in the title role.
Malena is a young and lonely woman who lived in a Sicilian town in the 1940s during the World War II. Her husband went to war and she missed him terribly. Malena is so stunningly beautiful that she is envied by women and at the same time she is an object of desire among the men. The local 12 years old boy develops a crush on her and slowly understands her true nature and feelings. Malena is not only attractive but also is well-bred and wore sophisticated dresses that gained more jealousy from women and admiration from men. Whenever she walks by, all the townspeople would focus their eyes on her and gossip a lot about her. Malena, though quite aware of all this, completely ignored their malicious gossip. This went on until the tragic incident occurred. Malena loses both her father and husband in the war. Her vulnerability, in the face of this tragedy, is taken advantage of by some mean townspeople. Suddenly, Malena is plagued by poverty. She begged for help, but she is turned away by all. Deeply wrenched and unable to bear her hunger, she decides to sell herself to the townsmen. Thus, over time, Malena from being the center of gossip becomes the target of scandal in the town. When the German army enters the Sicilian town, she sold herself to them too. When the war is over, the townswomen gang up together and beat Malena severely for having alleged affairs with both the townsmen and German men. Then they harshly order her to leave the town. The much humiliated Malena quietly leaves for some other town. Unexpectedly, Malena's husband is alive and returns. He asks the townspeople about his wife but is rebuked and insulted by them. The boy, who had witnessed what had happened to Malena from the beginning, tells Malena's husband about Malena's where-about indirectly through a letter. A year later, the townspeople while going about on their duties meet Malena and her husband. This time, Malena is dressed in ordinary clothes. It seemed obvious to the townspeople that both Malena and her husband want to stay in their town. One day, Malena visits the market, she is greeted by the probably same townswomen who had earlier beaten her up. Malena responds politely to their greetings. This time, the townspeople are friendly and helpful to her and no longer stare at her unnecessarily. Her young fan, the boy, after briefly lending a helping hand to Malena, wishes her good luck. Malena smiles back, unaware of his feelings for her. Finally, Malena finds her peace and happiness!
Now, after reading this film plot, what have you learnt from this story?
Well, this story taught the following:
(i) Malena's priceless qualities such as nobility, composure, poise and tolerance made her more and more beautiful.
(ii) Malena's well grooming and enhancing of her natural beauty sparked unnecessary envy in townswomen who are indifferent to their self-grooming.
(iii) Malena's high upbringing and aristocratic bearing set her apart from the whole town who are neither refined nor courteous and this resulted in difference of opinion about Malena by the townspeople.
(iv) Malena's unconsciousness about the whole town-crowd's gaze at her beauty or wrong rumours about her showed the wise and sensible side of Malena.
"To be too conscious is an illness. A real thorough illness" - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky.
(v) It is quite surprising that her husband accepts her in spite of her multiple affairs which indicates a deep mutual understanding, love and faith in each other.
(vi) Malena's ability to return to the town that had thrown her out, showed that she is full of determination and courage.
(vii) Malena did not retaliate against those who humiliated her - her prize virtue is forgiveness.
(viii) Is Malena cursed for her beauty? No! It is the uncivilized townspeople who, until the end, failed to notice that beneath her physical beauty lies an exceptional personality!
It is concluded that Malena is blessed both with outer beauty and inner beauty . It is her innermost invaluable qualities that enhanced not only her physical beauty but also her soul and persona.
Why this delusion? Dispel it!
I have witnessed certain cases where this question hovered over those prominent female figures whose lives ended on a tragic note. From the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, the young French Queen Marie Antoinette to Hollywood's Golden era's star Marilyn Monroe and one of the first supermodels, Gia Carangi - are they doomed just because of their beauty? The reality is that these eminent women met their demise either because of their own actions or inability to tackle their dizzy fame or their turbulent past or lack of family support.
This is not supposed to happen to each and every woman. It is up to the women on how to control the consequences around them and emerge victorious in the end.
I took some illustrations of some notable women who broke these myths due to their self-assurance, capability of dealing with any problem that crop up in their way and above all their courage that help shape up their personalities that touched many of their fans.
1. Catherine Zeta Jones
Considered as one of the most beautiful and successful actresses of Hollywood, this popular Welsh star with her brave decision on settling down with the much older actor Michael Douglas; balancing her marriage, family and career with equal aplomb; battling her bipolar disorder and eventually came out with complete triumph and that reflected in her roles onscreen!
2. Sarah Palin
An accomplished female politician in the dominant world of men, she earned the admiration of many people not only for her attractive looks but also for her smart political moves, her steady family life and her active participation in welfare campaigns.
3. Steffi Graf
Said to be one of the greatest female tennis players ever, the credit went to her inborn dedication and honesty to her sports career as well as her outgoing personality that had won the hearts of her innumerable fans.
4. Oprah Winfrey
This world-famous 'Chat Queen' reached to millions across the globe due to her experimental fashion, her unparalleled gift of connecting with both the people and celebrities on her signature show and her humanitarian work.
5. Susan Boyle
Though she may not be glamorous in person and herself a target of public ridicule, this Scottish singer with her likable nature, her unique singing talent and her determination of making it big in the glitzy world of pop-singers, impressed people and gained a massive fan-following and a glorious music career.
These women show that they got all the required qualities that helped elevating them to fame and success in their professions. Their forwardness and intelligence enabled them in fearlessly facing their problems and above all, their positive thinking and self-confidence!
" Real Beauty is to be true to oneself. That's what makes me feel good"
- Laetitia Casta, French model and actress
Beauty is all about how you conduct yourself, how to look at the world and how to make your life beautiful. Hence we can break this centuries-old delusion by proclaiming that beauty is all about goodness in its true form. We have to make beauty alive in us by seeing beauty in an open manner. We should learn to appreciate beauty in its various forms, be it nature, music, simple pleasures of life like giving to others and making people happy, and above all valuing ourselves and our life! That is true beauty and this is the best blessing for all of us!
"Real beauty isn't about symmetry, weight or makeup; it's about looking life right in the face and seeing all its magnificence reflected in your own"
- Valerie Monroe, writer
Copyrights © 2012 By Ishwaryaa Dhandapani