CT Women

We Can't All Be Beautiful

Why does our obsession with self-acceptance focus so much on appearance?
We Can't All Be Beautiful
Jana Vanden Eynde / Flickr

Cate Blanchett is beautiful. I am not. Most of us are not. Most of us are average-looking. And I'm okay with that—far more than those who suggest we can all be beautiful, if only we change the definition of "beautiful" to include everyone.

Take the latest installment in the ten-year-old Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The short documentary, Selfie, which debuted last month at the Sundance Film Festival, insists that if we angle, crop, preen, pose, distort, and bend ourselves enough—along with the very definition of the word—we can all be beautiful. The "power to change and redefine what beauty is," the film purports, is in our own selfie-taking hands.

Some aspects of the documentary, to be sure, deserve praise. It depicts mothers and daughters talking about self-acceptance. The daughters' negative self-images are exposed as echoing their mothers' own insecurities. At the end of the experiment, the girls come to see and appreciate ...

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