“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. That phrase has been told to each of us probably a dozen or more times throughout our life.. It becomes a popular comfort phrase when we feel like we are not pretty or handsome enough for the one we wanted to be with. The terminology is certainly cliche, but it really packs a meaning behind it that we should listen to.
The persona of beauty has evolved over the years and what we accept as beautiful or attractive; mostly because of the magazines that we’ve glorified as the “beauty bible”. There isn’t a grocery store checkout counter out there that doesn’t have beauty magazines plastered with photo shopped stars and models. Sadly most of these models are so digitally altered that if you ran into them without makeup in person you wouldn’t recognize them. How real is that?
The modeling industry has adopted certain unspoken rules that we all seemed to accept. Those rules are similar to this:
- You have to be a certain height to model
- You have to be a certain weight usually around 80 to 90 pounds (which looks like bones when you are 5 foot 10 or taller (NO CURVES)
- You must have specific features that are considered beautiful
- Certain races are generally overlooked more often than not (sad but true)
- No flaws. Cellulite, stretch marks, disabilities are just disturbing
Those are just some. Those who are borderline to those are usually given a chance once they go through dangerous anorexic diets, life changing plastic surgery, and lower their self esteem. Those who have curves or disabilities that can’t be altered are quickly rejected. Most of them start to question if they are beautiful; one of the worst side effects of this horrible persona of beauty.
Over the last few decades women and men have been challenging the status quo. We’ve opened our minds to what really is beautiful. The industry has become more forgiving but not really enough to say “we’ve changed”. We attack most people for their lack of equality yet one of the biggest injustices is the inequality when it comes to natural beauty. NOBODY should have to go through special diets or plastic surgery just to be “aesthetically pleasing” to anyone or any industry.
Despite the changes, one change has not been accepted and that is flaws. Sure we see more plus size models but they are still placed in a different category, segregating them, because they are beautiful but on a different class… when it comes to skinny people they are still “ugly”. Why can’t beauty be classified in one class?
Recently I found a story that has rocked the internet. This young 18 year old is taking a real stab at the modeling industry and begging you to open your eyes to what beauty is looking beyond her condition. I must admit this young woman stole my heart and I sure hope she opens a lot of doors down the line. This young woman is Madeline Stuart.
Stuart was born with a genetic condition called “Downs-Syndrome”. Those of you that know the effects of this syndrome know that it does alter the looks of an individual who suffers from it. Generally one who suffers has a different looking face as it alters some of the development as the individual grows. Those who suffer also deal with weight problems, usually they are overweight and have a hard time keeping it off. It’s not their fault, they don’t over eat their bodies just handle things like this differently through slower metabolisms. Sometimes they can have severe deformities. Many people look down at people with this syndrome because they don’t look like the rest of us which we consider “normal”.
However if you ever met someone with Downs-Syndrome you will know that they may be slower but they are generally very smart individuals. I’ve never met one with a bad disposition. They are usually full of life and are loyal loving individuals. They can do most things we can but they do it at their own pace.
Madeline believes that she can do anything anyone else can. She believes she is beautiful despite her syndrome. She knows it’s time to take a different look at beauty and open our eyes to how beautiful humans are even with our differences. Differences are what makes us individuals, unique and beautiful.
At the age of 18, after fighting her weight problems she showed the world that she can do anything she set her mind to and became a model; YES A MODEL and let me tell you she is stunning. In doing so she is challenging the rules and laws that govern our minds of beauty opening the door for people with disabilities including other syndromes, amputees and “flaws”.
Stuart is taking heat, people will always speak with the sharp lash of their tongue but it brings forth the cliche term “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”. Some won’t understand nor will they open their eyes to how beautiful people are regardless of their condition, and that’s OK. People are entitled to their opinions; but just know their opinion may force them to live inside a small figurative box and those individuals won’t experience what life really offers. Those that don’t accept her or admire her for what she’s doing aren’t worth her time.
This brave young woman is a pioneer for those with similar conditions looking to have a say in the industry and those looking to change the perception of beauty. I don’t know how anyone can look at her and say she’s not beautiful both inside and out. She has a huge struggle ahead, she’s going to receive hate and acceptance but in the end, she has stitched a legacy that the world will forever know and that makes her something special beyond her years.
The video below is a brief overview of this woman’s life and struggle, her fight and victory. I urge everyone to view it and open your eyes to the beauty that is individualism and find beauty in the difficulties we face (either something we were born with or endured from life around us).