Archive for February 2013

Image is Powerful: Cameron Russell   Leave a comment

I’ll admit, I’ve been insecure about being insecure about my body. I like my body, but I’m careful with it, and I’m very self-conscious of doing certain things to make my body look better, and although I justify them by their health benefits, the motivation is entirely shallow in that the origins are purely physical and aesthetical.

Since I was young, I’ve been told I’ve had an amazingly proportioned figure: relatively small head, high legs to torso ratio, and a naturally fast metabolism. On top of that, although I am no longer dancing, I’ve had several years of serious ballet training to define my muscles. I’m not tall enough to model (yet, who knows), but in the last several years, I’ve secretly harbored an interest in modeling and fashion, and though I hate to admit it, the glitz and glamour and beauty and fame of modeling. I’ve further attempted to justify this desire through the monetary gains.

I am a mathlete. I compete in math, science, have a stellar academic resume. Beyond that, I’ve always prided myself in being almost perversely rational in my pursuit of incredibly irrational ideals of morality and justice. I dream of changing the world for the better, through using my skills, the experiences that I have collected in my toolbox. I dream, but I’m not naïve, and I understand the work and drive it takes to place yourself in a position where you can implement your ideas, putting good people in to positions of power. That I want fame and gratification for my physical beauty, this has always been an insecurity, both because it is very different from the image I present as an independent, intelligent, righteous, and innovative young woman, and because I understand that the desire itself is entirely meaningless.

I first noticed Cameron Russell because of my interest in modeling. She intrigued me, because amongst the models backstage at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, she was currently in college. Not at any college, but at Columbia University, one of the top colleges in the nation. At first, it was because I thought it would be really cool to be able to model and go to university and be able to really truly accomplish something later in life, because modeling to me always seemed temporary, a fleeting moment in the spotlight, and I admired that she had a lot beyond her physical beauty, she had ideas, she wanted something more for herself than just modeling, and she was choosing to go to school to educate herself further. I think choosing to make yourself in to the wisest, most understanding, and skillful person that you can is almost a duty to humanity, and it seems pointless to live life without some greater goal in mind, and I thought Cameron had more to say than she was saying.

Watching Cameron’s TED talk only increased my respect for her. She empowered me, and I’m sure many other people, because she completely accepts and understands the stereotypes and luck set out in life for her. In particular, I have to thank her for leading me away from modeling, but on a much larger scale, she is very much honest about what she has been God-given. Modeling has given her a face, a voice, and she is choosing to use that voice. She is not denying that she has the cards stacked in her favor, but she is choosing to play the cards as she can best serve and affect humanity. And I think, what I see in her, is that she has ideas and that she is a leader. She, in confronting the issue of image and perception, is being one hundred percent honest and genuine. She is being true, and I think it is very true that one must affect oneself before helping others. I also very much appreciate that she, as a public figure, says that science is a much higher endeavor than modeling, and asks why children, especially girls, are much more interested in modeling and acting than the careers that can really effect change; instead of dreaming of stardom, why don’t you dream of space exploration? This is something I’ve encountered first hand in a different respect; if someone spends hours on sports, a high-profile activity in America, people say they are dedicated, but if someone spends hours on math, for a similar goal of international competition, people tell them to get a life. Why is knowledge, and the pursuit of knowledge, dwarfed by a much more fickle desire to be pretty on the outside?

In the very least, the question is being asked. Quite significantly, the question is asked by someone who has reaped the benefits of being pretty. It takes a lot of courage to question an idea or stereotype that could potentially have negative consequences for her. You know, maybe someday, it will be “cooler” to be a naturalist or ecologist than a movie star, more desirable to be smart than to be sexy.

Maybe someday, people will love their bodies for everything they can do, rather than what they can’t look like.

-Aderyn

A link to Cameron Russell’s TEDxtalk

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Posted February 1, 2013 by aderyngrace in Uncategorized