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I'm Tired of Looking at Thin People With Straight White Teeth

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After seeing a whole tabloid article devoted to Katie Holmes having three strands of grey hair I felt a kind of familiar flat feeling.

I've found myself avoiding adverts, TV series and Hollywood films because I'm tired of the female star always looking the same. Even the new British Cagney and Lacey (Scott and Bailey) stars appear to have been slimmed down and cloned for the show, so I don't watch it.

There are a few movie stars left who aren't total clones and to me, they're all the more attractive. I like wonky teeth, for exmple. Patricia Arquette has got slightly wonky, very English teeth and they are lovely. Kirsten Dunst used to have them but I'm not sure if she has any more and Isabella Rosellini has them.

I also love a big nose (Christopher Ecclestone), ginger man with ginger eyelashes (Eric Stolz). I like fat blokes and think Ray Winstone is sexy. And bigger women are every bit as beautiful as thin ones, such as the stupendously gorgeous Jane Goldman and Queen Latifah. Miranda Hart is truly beautiful, more so because she isn't 'ideal'. And what about older men and women? I mean, look at Judi Dench. No one can say she's not totally beautiful.

It's not the media ideal look itself that's the issue. I'm not saying thin/white/blonde is wrong or unattractive. I don't go to catwalk shows and throw chips at the models. The problem is having an ideal at all.

Appearance is important to us but when we think of beauty - especially our own beauty - it's always focused on physical flaws we're convinced other people can not only see but that they will accept or reject us for. But beauty is not really about teeth or body fat ratio or hair or skin colour, it's about something intangible.

A soft voice, the way someone turns their head, the way a person smiles or the light in their eyes. If you look at someone you know and like, whether they're 'beautiful' or not, it's not their definable looks that you like it's their quirks, their essence, something about them makes you warm to them, want a part of them, want to be with them.

So it's the same for you. People aren't looking at whether you've gained a pound or two or have got a spot on your chin or had a hair dye disaster, they're looking for the intangible air that is you, that which makes you different from other people. They're looking for your quirks, internal energy, the light inside you, your confidence, your focus, your attention, your 'you-ness'.

That's why, when you look at someone who isn't physically ideal and you find them as sexy as hell, you find them as sexy as hell!

And you'll invariably find the people you do think of as sexy and attractive are the ones who don't care what other people think of how they look. The most unattractive people, on the other hand, are those who are obsessed with appearance - even the ones who think they look good have an air of tension and instability. When we feel self-conscious about looks, we seem stilted and devoid of charisma.

We're told right from birth, though, that the definition of beauty is in the detail - the hair must be straight and shiny, the teeth must be straight and white, slimness is essential, skin has to be clear and features have to be regular. So we strive for it and in doing this we lose the light and the uniqueness that really makes us attractive. We start looking for signals that we're doing the appearance thing right and so are never relaxed enough to give anyone else a glimpse of our inner light and confidence. We don't even bother looking outward at who we're with at all and so the world is filling up with empty and shallow and 'perfect' plastic dolls.

Have some courage and make yourself happier by severing the thought control and coming to your senses. There's an episode of Red Dwarf where the crew of the ship get hooked on a virtual reality game called 'Life'. They wear a headset and experience the game as if it's real. Everything in the virtual reality world is exactly how they want it - they have all the money and luxury and admiration they've ever wanted. Meanwhile, their real bodies are wasting away because they stop eating or sleeping or talking to each other.

If you're heavily influenced by media pressure to look a certain way, you live in the same kind of game. Except the world is far from perfect and you are continually promised the money, the luxury and the admiration you crave. The game is fixed so you're forever chasing something you can never really reach. Meanwhile, real life is passing you by and your real self is withering away and so are your genuine connections with other people.

www.foodphilosophy.co.uk
www.beautifulmagazine.co.uk

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