The term paradigm is used to describe the perceptions that colour the way someone perceives reality. Cultural paradigms are how a whole nation/culture organises and attempt to understand reality. In our culture there is a powerful paradigm around beauty and thanks to this, Alexa Chung has just been voted most stylish woman for 2009. Ahh. Just another little nudge for all those women/girls who are teetering on the egde of the annorexic look for 2010. Well done Vogue. Great to see such a well developed and keen sense of social responsibility.
So, here we are in the midst of a cruel, disempowering paradigm that supports women hating their bodies and fighting their natural selves. What do we do? I believe that the first step is to raise our awareness by exploring how our minds and thoughts have been sculpted by “the Dangling Carrot of Ideal Beauty”. Check out this list below and see how our thoughts have been sold this brand – this paradigm – of beauty.
* Professional organizations (magazines, media, movies, advertising, marketing) give legitimacy to the paradigm
* Dynamic leaders (celebrities/singers/actresses/presenters) introduce and purport the paradigm
* Journals and editors write about the system of thought (celebrity gossip mags/tabloids/online magazines)
* Government agencies give credence to the paradigm (by taking no steps to recognise or stop it)
* Educators propagate the paradigm’s ideas by teaching it to the children (us! – mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, children’s cartoons, teen magazines)
* Conferences conducted that are devoted to discussing ideas central to the paradigm (fashion/style awards/television programmes)
*Lay groups, or groups based around the concerns of lay persons, that embrace the beliefs central to the paradigm (weight loss, Pro-anna, plastic surgery, beauty forums, magazines, fashion labels, branding, marketing, advertising)
Here is how our paradigm has been created. However, it’s our acceptance of the paradigm that FUSES it to reality.
We have a choice to passively lay back and accept the cultural mould that we have been born into, or we can begin creating a new paradigm. We don’t have to do it alone, either. The huge, swelling response to Grow Your Own Gorgeousness confirmed to me that MANY MANY MANY women feel passionate about stepping out of the duh-brained Para Dime of low self image. We are ready to go and get our coats, say goodbye to the Dangling Carrot of Ideal Beauty, then step outside and start living our lives from a place of Gorgeousness.