Science Column: Why You Will Never be Beautiful (A Letter from Society to American Women)

Dear American Women,

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? If you were a man, I’d be willing to bet that your reflection falls short of the ideal. But you’re a woman, and therefore I can guarantee it. Your waist isn’t small enough, your butt isn’t round enough, and your boobs definitely are not big enough. You know what I expect from you: flawless skin, lustrous hair, the waist of a little girl, and the ass of superwoman. These women exist; you know they must because you see them everywhere in magazines and commercials—everywhere but in the physical world. You’ve been striving after this ideal for so long, but I’m here to tell you a secret: you will never reach it. Not ever. And here’s why:

1. You are too hairy. Women are humans, and humans are mammals. Mammals have hair. Hair is good when it is growing from your scalp, provided that it is smooth and sleek and in no way defies gravity. All other hair on a woman is unfeminine and deserving of disdainful eyebrow-furrowing. Hair on the legs and armpits must be consistently shaved, and don’t even get me started on female pubic hair. It may indicate sexual maturation, prevent chafing and infection, and trap pheromones that increase arousal in sexual partners, but I’ve decided that it must all be removed. It’s gross.

2. You have pores. They’re basically a channel through which sebum, the skin’s natural oil, can reach the skin’s surface. When oil and dead skin collect in the pores, they get clogged. When the pores get clogged, you get acne. And acne is a viable reason to be ridiculed and humiliated. I don’t care that more than 80 percent of adolescents experience it at some time or another; you’ll never see it on the faces in the magazines, so no one should see it on your face either.

3. You are not white enough. But you are also too white. ‘Skin lightening’ or ‘skin bleaching’ are common in the black community in the U.S. and around the world. If you’re black, you can never be too white. Products used in skin lightening remove melanin from the skin, thus removing some of its pigment. The World Health Organization believes that common ingredients in these products such as mercury and hydroquinone are toxic, causing irritation, sensitivity to radiation, and cancer, but I don’t care; I market lighter skin as the ideal anyways. Unless, of course, you’re white. Then you need to go tanning. Recent studies show that 32 percent of young American women are willing to accept a 75 percent increase in their risk of developing skin cancer in order to get that sexy glow.

4. Your breasts are breasts. They’re either too small or they’re not the ‘right’ shape; or if they are the ‘right’ shape, the rest of you probably isn’t. Not a lot of twiggy girls have giant tits. But it’s okay; you can just stuff them full of silicone and call it a day. What’s a heightened risk of pulmonary fibrosis and other diseases for a nice perky set of jumbo knockers? Also, real breasts sag with age. Silicone never sags; it just leaches into your system.

5. You can’t afford to be beautiful. In order to be beautiful in my eyes, you need expensive clothing, makeup, dental work, manicures, and haircuts. You also need time and money for exercise and proper nutrition. Most people living in the inner city don’t have access to Whole Foods and ritzy gyms. Oh, and I’m sure that at least one of your features is crying out for cosmetic surgery.

6. You have DNA. Your DNA is flanked with sequences of nucleotides called telomeres. They get shorter every time your cells divide until they disappear and your cells break down…which means, eventually, you’re going to die. But first you’re going to age. Female beauty comes with an expiration date because everyone knows that women can’t grow distinguished with age like men. That’s silly.

Which leads me to the seventh and final reason why you will never fit my definition of beautiful…

7. You are a human being. You are not, nor will you ever be, a fleshless mirage. You are not Kim Kardashian or Megan Fox, and neither are they; at least, not as we see them smiling their retouched smiles in the tabloids. You are a living creature, and living creatures are smelly, messy and real. Maybe you can find something beautiful in that. If you do, it will be a very different beauty than the kind that I care about.

Yours truly,

Modern American Society

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