This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
We all hide in one way or another. It can be deliberately or subconsciously. We hide the traits, aspects, and details of ourselves that we think are undesirable or a turnoff to others.
Hiding can take the form of outright lying or simply omission. Hiding can involve deception from small, socially acceptable behavior to a major ruse.
Commerce encourages us to hide our appearance and age by hawking products such as hair dye, wigs, cosmetics, plastic surgery, and the rest of that ilk. They couple that with propaganda which convinces us that our altered presentation to the world is okay, appropriate, no big deal, “everyone does it.” Entertainment idols help sell that lie by partaking and flaunting it to the public. Seventy-something actresses look forty, parading their deception and bragging about it. Ordinary folks seeing this in the media comment on “how wonderful she looked on TV the other night.”
There was a time when women who wore makeup were considered “painted ladies” and scorned by polite society. Now, it’s just the opposite. Both sexes spend multi-billions of dollars worldwide on cosmetics, procedures, and the like to alter their appearances to something they think will be more pleasing to others. They put their health and even their life in danger with elective surgical procedures, again to try to present a different self to the world than what they consider the ugly one they wear naturally.
Behaviors such as anorexia and bulimia have to do with poor body image. Where does that come from? Why are we telling people that “you can never be too rich or too thin”? Why don’t fashion models look like the majority of people?
We teach this self-assessment to our children who want to emulate what they consider “grown-up” behavior. They quickly learn by their teenage years which of their bodily attributes are unattractive: nose, hair, height, weight, voice, skin color, and on and on. Too many obsess about it. Commerce, always on the lookout for new grist for its ever churning mill, panders to this market, too.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to look nice. However, when it impacts your view of yourself and the world and tends toward the pathological, dangerous, or even life threatening, it is a major problem.
Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame used to make his young TV listeners feel special by letting them know he liked them no matter how they looked or acted. Where are the Mr. Rogerses of today? Who is telling our children now? Who is telling our grandchildren? Who is telling us?
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