The summer before I started the IB, I’d take advantage of indian television before I went back to Japan and regularly watched America’s Next Top Model, among the english channels. Hosted by Tyra Banks, the show features citizens of the USA around their twenties competing in a series of challenges, leaving the final winner, or the best model. i’d started off believing that the show was shallow and pathetic, but soon included it as a part of my routine. My sister and I would launch comments on everything, from the contestant’s hair to their body posture, with the final image in front of the judges. What made these shows so addictive? Why did so many people want to compete? Moreover, who decides on the standards of modelling?
I’ve grown up in an environment knowing that beauty is an abstract concept, which has no measurement or definition. Anything that’s visually or physically appealing to our eyes can be termed “beautiful” like a person, the rain or a piece of clothing. Although each person finds different things that are attractive to them, common creations can be called beautiful by a large majority of people. This is why organisations like Lonely Planet and National Geographic use the highest quality photographers and cameras for their magazine, which advertises tourist destinations worldwide. It is also why cameras and phones have filters to make pictures look prettier, or why gift packaging is done is bright or themed covers. The final result is to have that “wow” affect on whoever sees it-since it simply looks attractive to the human eye. Universities and Institutes include modelling and fashion as a course for one of the biggest reasons of entertainment in the form of plays and movies, or commercialisation in the form of advertisements. As long as it’s contributing to the economy and providing entertainment or relaxation, it’s a huge plus.
One of the downside is the beauty standards imposed by media which influences the passing trends of students. Stereotypes and racism originates from these kinds of beliefs, but as per a quote I’ve heard, “Each and every thing is beautiful. If you can’t find the beauty, you’re not looking properly.” Some folks try too hard to be well-attired for others, failing to realise that as each has their own taste in what looks good for them.
Modelling shows encourage healthy competition and may redefine, or set different meanings for a passing trend. It’s a strong mode of advertising clothes and accessories, and has also emerged as a strong career option. Modelling may influence us into changing, or redefining what looks good and what doesn’t, but nevertheless, like any other factor of influence, it has convinced us of the enormous standards we’ve set up for ourselves. Even bigger international competitions like Miss India or Miss Universe are cut-throat hard hitting battles; requiring as much effort as a spelling bee or car race. Like any other job or sport, has influenced those really passionate about it.