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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Beauty & Feminism

Beauty is subjective and devoid of a definition. It is an abstract concept, endless and as old as time itself. Enlightenments. Reformations. The Industrial Revolution. The introduction of the Internet. The integration of a global mass media. The concept of beauty has evolved generation by generation. And yet still, it has no definition. It has no master. It belongs to everyone and everything. It is whatever you believe it to be. There have been no truer words spoken than the ones, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Indeed, we all see it in a different light. Here is my perception of beauty. . .
Beauty is women overcoming the deeply rooted patriarchy in a global society, like Basma, a citizen of the most restrictive country on the planet, Saudi Arabia. A simple act that shatters the glass ceiling in her country. An act that I commend as feminism. Basma is a co-founder and the managing director of training at Emkan Education, a school-development company based in Jeddah. The three female partners of Emkan advise private and public institutions, developing curriculums and customized educational content. While doing all this, they rebel against a deep rooted patriarchy in the educational industry of Saudi Arabia.
Beauty is a woman’s ambition in a patriarchal society. And no one embodies ambition better than Coco Chanel. With her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories. In her own words, “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” Her early years, however, were anything but glamorous. After her mother’s death, Chanel was put in an orphanage by her father, who worked as a peddler. She was raised by nuns who taught her how to sew—a skill that would lead to her life’s work. Her nickname came from another occupation entirely. During her brief career as a singer, Chanel performed in clubs in where she was called “Coco.” Some say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing, but Chanel herself said that it was a “shortened version of *cocotte*, the French word for a ‘fashionable prostitute’. How beautifully empowering is it, that this woman fashioned this initially degrading nickname into a trademark of luxury, a powerful utterance of lips signaling glamour, breaking the glass ceiling of women in fashion along the way?
Beauty is the continued bravery despite facing terror, embodied perfectly by Malala Yousafzai. Born in Pakistan, Yousafzai became an advocate for girls’ education when she herself was still a child, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. In 2012, a gunman shot Malala when she was traveling home from school. And yet despite this, she continues to advocate for girl’s education entirely. The gunman tried to silence her, but Malala decided to be even louder. And that is incredibly beautiful.
Beauty is being fearless in the face of horrific violent acts. Like Sonali Mukherjee from Jharkhand, who as a young girl was harassed by three boys in her neighborhood. When she repelled their unwanted advances towards her, they threw acid on her face. Today, Mukherjee is an advocate for the Indian government to pay more attention to acid victims and for the highly patriarchal society in India to reconsider their damaging mentalities that embody sexism. She tirelessly aims to shed light on how acid victims are ignored in Indian society. And that too, is beautiful.
Beauty is in dissent. Like the Woman’s March of 2017. A worldwide protest to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and racial equality. The collective joining of a people who stand up against patriarchy, is simply too beautiful for words.
Beauty is in the many facades of the world. The cobblestone-paths of Tivoli Garden, or the aroma of Cafe Du Mond in New Orleans. The towering expanse of New York skyscrapers, or the silent gazes across a romantic table on the mezzanine of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The wild and quiet personas of Budapest, or the swaying gardens in the heart of Vienna. Beauty is in how vast our world is, filled with diversity, landmarks and language.
Beauty is in friendship. A bond where two people debate whether a cheeseburger or a MacBook have more value. Or argue about the intricacies of lying in hushed whispers in a college dorm. A bond so beautiful in the quiet understanding or the shared gazes of amusement. A bond where selfies are snapped to record how good the makeup looked, or the outfit, or simply to record the memory of being in the company of a friend. The giggles. The car rides. The adventures. Friendship holds the world together in a solid string of global glue. And that is beautiful.
Beauty is love. Because love is love is love is love is love. Whether it be between two individuals, between a family or between friends, it holds no place for judgments or restrictions. It is as infinite as beauty, the two weaving together a story worthy of telling. Stringing together a rebellion in the face of every terrible thing in the world. Love in the words of Roger Rosenblatt, “Love insists on kindness. Love is a world you both have entered and discovered. And though others have experienced it before you, it is entirely your own, and original to you. Your price of writing. Your work of supreme imagination.”
Beauty is in a relationship between siblings. Because a brother’s smile is all you need to make the day a little better. Or a sisters embrace all you need to feel a little comfort. That powerful bond of having each other’s backs yet driving each other near insanity is beautiful. The mischief. The laughter. The birthday moments. The tears. The matching outfits or the same glasses. The small colorful celebrations. It’s all proof that at the end of the day, all you need is a phone call from your literal other halves to make it brighter.
Beauty is in family. In families there are hardships. In families, we argue; in families, the plates can fly; in families, the brothers and sisters give us migraines. But in families, there is always that sense of security. Of love. Of cherished memories. Or jokes that will be remembered for years to come. The lessons. The shared experiences. The unspoken understanding. Family is an unbreakable unit we all need. And that is the most beautiful thing of all.
Beauty is here and there. Beauty is everywhere and nowhere. Beauty is what you decide to see. It is abstract in its definition, but so simple too. Because beauty is simply what you perceive it to be. This is my definition of beauty.