Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Beauty vs. Obesity

You may have seen somewhere online or on the news this week the story about Russian model Ruslana Korshunova falling from her 9th floor condo in the Financial District of Manhattan. I say falling, but as of the time of this writing, all signs point to her death being a suicide. I didn't know this beauty; all I know about her is from what I've read. Therefore it would be unfair for me to speculate on the cause of her death. With that said, I'm going to do it anyway. I'll go with two scenarios, either she was on anti-depressants, which ups the odds that a person will commit suicide, or she was high on some drug and decided to fly. Like I said, I really don't know. That is pure speculation on my part. I'm sure toxicology tests will tell the true story.

Anyway, let me get to my real point of this post. It is clear from the picture to the right that Ruslana was a very beautiful young woman. For some women, that would be enough. Beauty, though fleeting, is power for a woman. It is the equivalent of a male having a corner office and the title CEO after his name in the company email directory. Don't believe me? Look at athletes and movie stars. Tiger's wife? Smoking hot. Kobe's wife? Check. Every woman Derek Jeter's ever dated? Check. Everyone knows those guys would marry/date no less than the finest women. Why? Because they can. And would you expect women of such beauty to date/marry lesser men? Of course not. Why? Because they're beautiful, and therefore powerful, they command the most famous, wealthy men. That's just the way it is. Beauty, for women, is simply power in this world.

Now here's the thing that gets me. The way this story was handled was so ridiculous, yet so predictable. When a woman of such beauty dies, no matter the cause of death, it's labeled a tragedy and everyone wants to wax philosophical about the woman, her life, what a shame it is, etc. But when an obese person dies - and that's 280,000 in the United States alone, annually - what are they? They're reduced to a simple statistic. Now I know what you're probably thinking; something like "But Raleigh Bachelor, fat people choose to eat the Asian buffet every day, they chose death." My rebuttal to that is that this beautiful woman chose death too. Even if she had not committed suicide, she probably would have eventually died anyway, and she would have not been the first model to do so. Many of the women in the modeling industry, especially at the highest level starve themselves to be attractive, and do lines of cocaine in the bathroom to stay thin. That kills too, just not as quickly as stepping off a ledge. And why? All in the name of beauty.

People think beautiful people have it easy. To that I say, not so fast. Beautiful people are shoehorned into a mold of who society says they are, just as obese people are. We look at obese people and think to ourselves, put down the fried chicken fatty. But when we look at beautiful people we are in awe, and envy them. Society says beautiful people can't be smart, they can't have opinions that matter, and they have to maintain a social life on par with that of Paris Hilton. They're just supposed to shut up and be beautiful, and smile for the camera. Now, let me be clear, I'm not claiming to be beautiful here, but I would have to assume that being pegged like that and told who you are in this world must be pretty lonely, and can lead to depression. It would not surprise me at all if this young woman took drugs to combat depression and decided she couldn't take being who society said she had to be anymore. Maybe she wanted to be someone else but found that to be too daunting of a task. Maybe she'd been brainwashed into thinking her beauty was all she had.

So I ask you, reader, would you rather be beautiful or obese?

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