Beauty is the Beast


Not all that glitters is gold.

Image by WRITTEN CITIZEN photographer Natalie Montero
I recently just finished reading Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for school, and though the story dates back to ancient Athens, and is said to have been written in the Elizabethan era, its underlying themes and meanings parallel much of what we see today. In it, there are twisted love squares, wicked love affairs, and sweet deception, but the universal elements noted in this story are the fine lines between love, obsession and infatuation, and everyone being engrossed with one another by their exteriors and never deeper. In saying that, Shakespeare’s whole idealism of beauty being love, which did match his time, as well as the story’s, in fairness, is awfully congruent with our youth culture’s glossy-page beauty standards, and love at first sight via popular page on Instagram.
   We are young, and we are chameleons — our tastes change constantly. Through the whirlwind of ever-changing preferences and fads though, beauty dominates. We’re attracted to novels by their covers, rather than their subject matters. We’re attracted to films because of their casts — not their story-lines. We're attracted to makeup and clothes based on their models, as opposed to the quality of material. Oftentimes, beauty outshines talent and intelligence. To state it simply: the packaging is more important than the content.
   In literature, the most common theme is appearance versus reality, and we typically see this with the protagonist and antagonist. Normally, the protagonist is “average” looking, but wonderful on the inside, whereas the antagonist is always beautiful on the outside, but awful on the inside. In many instances, the protagonist is deemed an underdog, and is regularly undermined for its physical appearance; the antagonist is known to transcend and demean the protagonist’s beauty. And to think that I'm not even choosing to broach the horrid gender, racial, cultural, sexual, and religious stereotypes ravaged by our unattainable beauty standards.

No matter where we run, we can never escape the controlling aspects of beauty. 

Image by WRITTEN CITIZEN photographer Natalie Montero
So, it is up to us, Citizens. We are the architects of what comes next. A good architect must realize, though, that in order to create a resolute future off which we can build, we must knock down the current structures to make a difference.

How will you make a difference?

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