Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Natural" Beauty

Looking at different natural health and yoga magazines, I am sometimes shocked (perhaps unnecessarily) at how the publishers of such magazines follow the lead of mainstream fashion magazines, ubiquitously populating the pages of their publications with beautiful, flawless young women with clear skin, taut muscles, ample cleavage, exposed bellies and long, tan legs. 

One would think that so-called "natural" magazines would be more apt to use "real" people for their ads and articles, but in this culture dominated by a fascination with youth and beauty, I shouldn't be surprised. 

Perusing the pages of one such magazine, my wife and I were both independently struck with the fact that the pages of this "natural" magazine were filled with nothing but young white women, all of whom were displaying some combination of the attributes described in the first paragraph of this post. 

This type of natural lifestyle is not necessarily just the purview of the young, white and beautiful, yet, if I were an alien and happened to pick up several of these magazines soon after landing, I would be convinced that anyone who did yoga or drank soy milk had the legs of a gazelle and blinding pearly white teeth. If the same alien went to a yoga class, he or she might be disappointed that many of the yogis and yoginis did indeed sport some modicum of body fat and hints of cellulite. 

Alien visitations aside, I am simply appalled that yoga and natural health magazines all need to jump on the homogeneity bandwagon, delivering a bland and culturally narrow image to the soy milk-drinking masses, subtly convincing their readers that the products sold amidst their pages will deliver beauty, smooth skin and glowing health to anyone who happens to be young, white and female. 

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