Saturday, October 19, 2013

View of Beauty

I've been thinking a lot about a multitude of ideas. It's so interesting how being within a different culture can greatly alter your perception on things that you were so certain of before. I guess that's how life has always been, as you continue to live, you continue to change. I think I've noticed big changes within myself ever since I was in high school but it's really difficult to notice little changes that end up becoming bigger, it's so much easier to miss them because they take so long to grow that when the pivotal moment has come, it doesn't seem like a big change.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I guess it just struck me that yesterday, when I was walking in Bukchon Hanok Village and the two middle school girls came up to me and asked for a picture, one of the girls said something to me that took me by surprise. She kept telling me how beautiful I was. She said, "You're face is perfect" and to receive compliments like that (which are really only given by my close family members) this really shocked me. In the states, no one would ever think that I am beautiful or tell me that I have "perfect attributes" because the perception of beauty is so different. So now that I'm in a different country, the things that make a person attractive seems to not be the same at all? I just find it interesting because I've always been one to put myself down in the face department, my eyes and nose were always too big for my face, and my lips are thin, and my cheek bones are somewhere under my cheeks but they're pretty difficult to locate and no one - through middle school to college - ever disagreed with my perception of myself, which made me believe that I was correct. I remember over the Summer, my oldest sister and I had a discussion of how the girls who are top models are really actually scary looking. No one wants the "pretty girl" in a fashion editorial, they want the girl with the razor sharp cheek bones or the alien-size eyes. Without make-up, models are scary looking in a really amazingly beautiful way. And I'm not comparing myself to a model, but I think there's something to be said about odd beauty and about the fact that you aren't allowed to be beautiful unless you fit into the strict guidelines that have been set by each and every culture.

I know I'm ranting and one story has turned into something else entirely, but being an aspiring fashion photographer, I have to notice these things! When my teachers tell me that I need to heavily photo shop my already gorgeous models, trim this or erase that, it upsets me. Why can't a girl in a magazine have a bumpy forehead? We all know people have bumps on their foreheads - everyone has them - so why can't we see that in magazines? I know this is an age-old battle, but I hate having to edit these girls until I show them the pictures I took and they're like, "That's not me". Getting back to my story, if these gorgeous models have to be so heavily photo shopped, what chance is there for me? I still have trouble feeling like I'm not thin enough and that's such a terrible feeling, but I know so many people who feel like they're not good enough. And in the start of my Fashion Business class here in Korea, my teacher told us that it's inevitable that in the fashion industry, we will be judged on our outer appearance. There's so much emphasis put on beauty and the exact way people are supposed to look that we're being suppressed by guidelines that everyone accepts without a fight. It's crazy. And being in Korea, plastic surgery is just a regular thing (1 in 5 women will get it). Everyone seems to have it. The face and the way your are perceived means everything here, which is probably what got me started thinking of all this in the first place. The simple, not-so-simple question is: Why can't we just be happy with ourselves? What's so bad about showing a model's pores in a magazine, or having single eyelids instead of the oh-so-popular double eyelids? Why do we need to "bring in" a model's stomach or cover someone with so much make-up that you can't even recognize them when their barefaced?

I think this has begun to impact me more just because I have actually become more comfortable with myself since coming to Korea. I'm a foreigner, so people are going to stare at me and it made me realize that I am who I am, and whether they like what they see or don't, I'm not going to change myself. Maybe my nose is too big or my frizzy hair looks crazy, but as long as I'm okay with myself, people begin to become okay with me too. Or they don't. But at least I don't cake make-up on my skin because I don't think I'm good enough. I'm over the whole, "I'm not good enough" way of thinking. When someone tells me I look good that day, I'm going to say "thank you" instead of fervently denying it. It's going to take time, but I'm going to be better for it. And in regards to fashion photography, I've already made a pact with myself that I'm not going to over photo shop my models. I may not get jobs at some places and it may be really hard to sell my pictures, but I refuse to involve myself in the business of making people believe that they don't live up to an unattainable standard.

Ok, I'm done. I just realized my turning point happened yesterday to something that has been building since my sophomore year in college. I hope I made some sense in my ramblings! Onto more lighthearted things...

I've been a little obsessed with the singer IU in the past and she recently put out a new album! This is one of my favorite songs off of it:

Also, I couldn't find an upload of this w/o comments, but you can just ignore them while you listen! I really like the original version of this song, but my sister's even been able to like this song after listening to this cover :) It's a really nice cover and I've been listening to it a lot! So catchy!

Speaking of beauty, I don't know if my dad is okay with this, but I absolutely love some of the pictures he recently took on a trip to Vermont and really want to share them! You can view more of his photography here: CLICK.

This one just about killed me, you can't find a more perfect scene! 

I love the layers in this!


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