BY GAREN YAGPARIAN
Yes, indeed, I am going to discuss appearance, specifically, people’s, and more specifically Armenians’, since we seem so fixated on denying ourselves.
There are countless adages and quips about beauty, a quick online search allowed me to select a few and add those that I remembered.
1- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
2- BEAUTY x BRAINS = CONSTANT.
3- BRAUN x BRAINS = CONSTANT.
4- Beauty is only skin deep. (But ugly goes clear through to the bone).
5- Pretty is as pretty does.
6- There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.
7- Glamour is a shooting star, it catches your eye, but fades away, beauty is the sun always brilliant day after day.
8- Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.
9- People are more than just the way they look.
10- People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Many of these apply to us and our self-image.
Copious amounts of money are spent on superficial modifications. Why? Many seem to pursue looking like “a model” when those objects of temporary adulation are nothing but unhealthy examples of fixations on exterior “beauty” – or glamor. (see #s 1, 7, 8, and 9 above)
What’s worse is when the particular “look” someone aspires to have is very alien to that person, be it genetically or culturally. No doubt we’ve all seen Armenians, especially those among us with darker toned skin, who decide to dye their hair blond(e). Often, the eyebrows are neglected, resulting in a ridiculous appearance. Either way, the result is usually just this side of hideous. It looks just as absurd as bleached-hair-Japanese. Then we have the hair removal fad, and this applies mostly to our men. Again I ask, why? I can’t help but recall learning, in my “History of the Caucasus” class, that in the 19th century, Georgian women were considered very alluring because of their… “unibrow” as its now derisively labeled. (see #6 above)
Body shapes are subject to the same unnecessary modifications, too. Whether biceps, breasts, or buttocks, why mess with how we’re shaped? If some group developed adaptations to their environment (flatlands, forests, mountains, etc.), why should some temporary, passing, fascination with another group’s body shape inspire surgical intervention? (see #s 6 and 9, and above)
When Armenians, or anyone else, engages in this kind of behavior, all we do is betray a fatuousness, an internal emptiness, a lack of self-confidence, and even self-hate. (see #10 above)
Why adopt others’ notions of beauty, or those based on what is natural and native to other groups, rather than one’s own?
Let’s love Armenian beauty among ourselves and enjoy the beauty of others when we visit them. (see #s 1 and 8 above)