A question asked on my Facebook this morning that doesn't really have an answer:-
Is it a coincidence or on purpose that International Eating Disorders Awareness Week is the same week as London Fashion Week?
And to add to this question - is there some sort of coup in the press and entertainment industry to highlight both in some kind of backhanded manner so that one can play off the other? Because apparently Sarah Cameron is looking a little disturbed by the models she's seeing on the runway this week and Nikki Sixx and his band Sixx A.M. are talking about Lies of the Beautiful People. Don't get me started on how Mr. Sixx is preaching this and yet is dating someone who perpetuates these stereotypes in the media....I'm sure she's beautiful on the inside too and I'm trying to keep an open mind here and not have a reversed type of prejudice, but the raging feminist in me is thinking, "Pot. Kettle. Black."
It's all given me pause to think about something Laurelei Black wrote on her blog a few years ago about being beautiful and being a Priest/ess of Aphrodite. I resonated a lot with her thoughts on the matter and empathised with her childhood memories.
But what about Aphrodite and Her beauty? How do we define this, if at all?
When I think about Aphrodite and how She is held up as the epitome of all that is beautiful, it makes me smile, but I get quite upset when I think about how She is portrayed. I appreciate one could argue until the cows come home about what Aphrodite looks like as we all have different ideas about that. For the moment, though, I'm talking about modern media portrayals of Her.
When I see ancient statues of Her in museums, I see Her beauty. I also think those images of Aphrodite would never pass modern media's test of beauty. And clearly they don't because modern media nearly always shows Her as a stick thin young blonde waif who is vain and self-absorbed. This is what makes life a bit tough for us devotees of Aphrodite. Must we, too, live up to that type of standard in order to be devoted to Aphrodite? Or even if we don't, must we buy in to modern media's portrayal of our Lady? And how could this possibly be healthy for young women and men who might be seeing this? How can we keep our Goddess' image from perpetuating the sorts of stereotypes modern media places upon beauty?
Those of us who put our heads above the parapet and openly serve Aphrodite kind of take on this daunting task, whether we realise we are or not, whether we want to or not. And as Laurelei pointed out, WE may not be conventional beauties ourselves.
But what of those who DO see Aphrodite as a young thin blonde waif? What if that is their perfect image of Aphrodite? Does it mean that it's wrong? Or what if you are a modern media conventional beauty? Is that so bad?
In short, no and no. To those people, I would only ask that they understand that not all will see Aphrodite this way, that that was not how she was portrayed in ancient times and that we must look to the bigger picture when defining Aphrodite's physical beauty. As for your own beauty, enjoy your beauty but remember to be beautiful inside and cultivate the garden of beauty that is in your soul as well.
There are no easy answers to any of these questions and I'm simply pondering ala Russell Brand. At last year's Goddess Conference, Jane Meredith spoke in a talk about Aphrodite's beauty stemming not just from physical beauty but self love and self esteem. I think She's right. And if we nurture these things within ourselves, we begin to see that Aphrodite's spirit lives within us as beautiful people no matter what we look like.
And because I do think the song has a good message and I'm trying to be open minded about its writer, have a song for today's Friday's Flower:-