It’s Wednesday again. Good-looking people flock the catwalk. One by one they pass and strike a pose as the sun radiates its rays like spotlights. From branded denims to designer dresses and shoes that shout their personalities; these reflect their status as gods and goddesses of fashion. Slender bodies, glossy hair, astonishingly white skin; these are only few of the characteristics of good-looking people who patronize beauty procedures to maintain their beauty.
Truly, beauty and fashion has invaded every corner of the world including Ateneo. People come to patronize beauty products modeled by icons in the society and try to do their best to look like them. They spend on clothes, make-ups, shoes, beauty products to look like their hailed celebrities. Others strive to become original and be their own icon to set the newest trends and the list of what should be in or not. Thus, being fashionable and beautiful has become the “the art of self-expression.” But other than self-expression, beauty and fashion has also become identifiers of social status.
Sam, a third year student, admitted that she would spend around P4000 for clothes, P2000 for her hair and P1000 for a pair of shoes. And like Sam there are a lot of girls who are willing to spend a month’s allowance or even higher to look gorgeous. Raymond, a typical guy in the university, said that he spends P1800 for a 3month use of gym facilities. To have those six-pack abdominal muscles and bulging biceps, even men would be willing to pay the price to look stunning.
Both fashion and good-looks are expressions of beauty, but does it stop there? Does it really cover the scope of true beauty? Have we not become too fanatical and too conscious of how we look?
It’s a sunny afternoon in the busy streets of Jacinto. Two small children knock on car windows begging for food. They were walking in bare feet, wearing rag clothes and scratching their sun burnt skin.
Gilyn, a 12 year-old school girl too small for her age, shared that life is very hard. “Akong baon kay 8 unya ang pamasahe 3.” In one month her parents spend P240 for her allowance, too cheap compared to the cost of hair treatment. She has 8 siblings and her mother sells tinap-anan (smoked fish). She said that her mother does her best to feed them but sometimes it was just not enough. Vaness, 8 years old and like Gilyn was too small for his age, has 11 siblings. “Ang ginahatag sa ako kay 11 pero akong pamashe 6 man, 5 na lang mabilin.”
That’s a total of P330 per month, too small compared to the monthly rent of gym facilities. “Usahay wala na mi pagkaon… mao manglimos na lang mi.” Vaness shared as tears sparkle in the brink of his eyes.
They face problems too great for children compared to the problem of what to wear on washdays. They cannot afford Converse shoes or Havaianas sandals and they do not even have slippers. They don’t even have decent clothes. Gilyn and Vaness are only two faces of poverty. They are two innocent faces deprived of all the things that we have. And there are millions like them, millions that we don’t see, and millions that we care less than the clothes in our closets.
We spend our money to look good and there’s completely nothing wrong with that. What makes it wrong is that we have become too fanatical of the newest trends and the costliest procedures that we fail to see that there’s something more to be aware of. We often miss the point that other than looking good, the world is filled with ugly realities that we should be bothered about.
Beauty does not only show every wash day. It’s not just the plain image we see in the mirror. It does not stop with the dresses we wear to impress and not with the looks that stun. But, true beauty is seen in random acts of kindness, in hearts that bleed for compassion and in hands that offer help. After all, we are men and women for others, not mannequins in pedestals.