Perceptions Body Image

Some people may perceive a work of art as trash and some people may perceive that same piece of art as magnificently beautiful, the most beautiful thing they have ever seen, it’s all a matter of perception. But whose perception matters most?, mine or yours?

I may perceive one thing a certain way while you may perceive that same thing differently. There is a young girl who is dealing with the problems of perception. She perceives her looks as being flawed, she feels that physically there is a problem, a deformity with a particular feature, her lips.

The young girl has allowed this perceived flaw to dictate her actions in every day situations particularly in social settings which in her case would prove to be most difficult. For example she is hesitant to look at people because she is afraid of what their reaction will be, at times she will also avoid eye contact or give too much eye contact in the hopes of distracting attention away from her lips.

What is difficult for her is not necessarily her lips but it’s the idea of the perception of her lips. Everyone states that, everyone who is important to her (i.e. family and friends) tells her that her lips are fine even going as far as to say that her lips are her best asset. There are moments when she believes this and there are moments when she doesn’t.

However, despite all of this she knows that she must be a successful Journalist and she knows she has what it takes, so this brings us to the question, why is perception so important to us or rather this girl?

Well, lets examine this case, the same girl the aspiring journalist participated in a debate and during the debate the room began to swell so much it quickly became overcrowded.

The room was full of important people as well as many young people whose realties tend to be based upon their perceptions.

During the debate the girl who is always self-conscious remained relatively calm and in fact was looking forward to the sequence of events. She sat in the front of the room in order to reassure her friend, the moderator of the debate, that she was willing to lend her support.

She looked around the room as she usually does in order to ID people based on their reaction to her perceived flaw. She saw a couple of people doing what she refers to as “biting of the lips” to her this is the greatest offense due to her heightened sensitivity.

However, she begins to think about her future, the fact that she wants to become a journalist and make her daddy proud. So she proceeds on with the fervor of someone who is naturally confident, naturally poised and naturally content.

As the debate strings along she observes one of the debaters who she notices has been eyeing her for a while doing the “lip thing”, this upsets her despite the fact that she was wisely told to attach new meaning to the “lip thing”.

It dawns on her that she is in a public place so she quickly reassumes the poise and grace that has helped her maintain thus far.

You may look at this girl and think to yourself why is she even thinking about it as much as she does, is she obsessed? The reality is in a way she is , the young girl has fixated her mind on this “issue” for so long that to her it has now become apart of he identity. She doesn’t want it to be that way and she is trying her best to end it.

However, the problem for this aspiring journalist may not be as puzzling as you think. The problem is not a “lip thing” or an “obsession” the problem is with her distorted perception. Perception is defined as the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mood, cognition, understanding.

The girl who is on a mission to find and search for the truth behind the idea of her perceived flaw is also on a mission to find the security within herself to believe that she is beautiful regardless of what the outcome of the study/investigation is.

In order to do this the girl went out on a somewhat undercover investigation in a place where looks matter. The make-up counters, yes the make-up-counter, for some a safe-haven of beauty and expression for others a dreadful wall of mirrors and colors that serves as a reminder of how they don’t “measure up”.

The girl who we will call Simone went to the Macy’s make-up counter at Queens Center Mall. After browsing through a few make-up counters including Clinique and Estee Lauder, she decided to go to the MAC make-up counter.

What is interesting about her decision to go with MAC is that MAC is considered to be the type of make-up that young, popular, and ultra glamorous people wear. Former MAC spokes models include Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson.

Simone chose MAC because Simone knew of MAC’s reputation and she really wanted to go to great lengths in order to discover what lies behind this so called perception.

As Simone approached the make-up counter she was a bit nervous but than she remembered what the purpose of this mission was and how in a way it would ultimately determine whether she had been right or wrong all this time.

As she approached the counter she quickly greeted the lady who was already engaged in a conversation with another gentleman. After getting the female’s attention, Simone confidently asked for a make-up consultation.

Despite Simone’s expectation the female at the counter did not do the “lip thing” throughout the duration of the consultation much to Simone’s disappointment.

Simone tried on two lip colors and asked the female to give her some suggestions on what lip colors would compliment her skin tone. Than came the moment of truth, Simone had to face her fears by looking head to head with the mirror in front of the gorgeous female.

Simone looked without reluctance and was reminded of what she knew all along there was absolutely nothing wrong with her lips the worst she saw was that her lips was a bit dry but nothing near what she perceived all along.

Simone liked the way the lip balm looked on her and decided to go with the Perfect Plum. “I really liked the way the Perfect Plum looked, it really suits my skin tone and I think I’m going to wear it when I go for my job interviews.” Simone stated.

When asked what she felt about the whole experience, Simone replied, ” I think this whole experience was bitter-sweet because on the one hand I got to see once and for all whether or not everyone was right which they were, but on the other hand it made me upset to know that I was harboring these negative feelings for so long.”

Simone was not upset about what she saw but about the way she felt about what she thought she would see which she realizes were two different things. When asked about the negative feelings she was harboring she stated “It took away my focus from things that are really important to me like my family, developing a social life and my concentration in school.”

Simone is still struggling despite coming to terms with the truth. She is optimistic, however, and hopes that she can one day use this story to inspire girls who might be feeling insecure. Simone hopes to help little girls who are struggling with the same issues to discover and claim their own beauty which she insists begins from within.

“Even though people would tell me there is nothing wrong with me and that I look pretty, I didn’t feel that way, It’s all about how you feel as oppose to how you look so now I know I need to start from within” she stated.

Simone suggest that the investigation is far from over, she wants to continue on with it in the hopes of finding some closure, “Even though I acknowledge the truth it’s going to take some time to embrace it and live by it, so that is something I want to continue to work on, I am a work in progress.”