“To photographer Mihaela Noroc, beauty cannot be defined by one country, race, or ethnicity. That’s why the Romanian photographer travels the world for her Atlas of Beauty project, in search of images of beauty in different countries and cultures.” That’s what CNN said about “The Atlas of Beauty.” I say this project is bullshit. I’m just being blunt, because this is my blog and I’ll be blunt if I want to. If you haven’t seen this project, it’s just a series of photographs that show “beautiful” women from different countries. Simple. I came across this collection of female portraits a month or so ago, and I remember reacting with, “So what’s the point of this?”
I mean, did anyone ever say that there aren’t beautiful females all over the world? We needed some “out-of-the-box” thinker to make us exclaim, “wow! beautiful women are everywhere”? I think not. This project immediately pissed me off because it’s really not unique and because the photographer is still strongly defining beauty. And her version of beauty seems to fall in line with the “Next Top Model” version of beauty. Tyra Banks would approve of these girls. It’s like Mihaela Noroc went to these countries and sifted through all the possible subjects until she found the woman that could most likely get signed to a modeling agency. As I went through the photos I could picture most of these women in Vogue magazine or something.
So what did this project contribute to how we media consumers and Internet addicts think about beauty? Oh goodie, I can find model-esque women to photograph anywhere I go. Thanks for letting me know.
I sent this picture to my boyfriend yesterday right after taking it, and he said, “So beautiful.” I’m not going to end up in some chick’s “Atlas of Beauty” collection. I can’t pose for a photograph without making a silly face or smiling like it’s 5th grade picture day. A lot of us will take a selfie, look at it, and know we don’t stack up to other people’s standards.
I can’t believe that I’ve actually heard real women say that, to them, the typical runway model is the ideal of female beauty. This perception actually exists?? You know who else is beautiful, besides the uber-photogenic babes like the ones in “The Atlas of Beauty”? All the girls like me who know they could never be models but don’t give a shit. All the girls who say “fuck you” to anyone who cares about looking serious. Maybe I have just had an underdog, popularity-hating complex my whole life, but I am thankful that I’ve never wanted to wake up in the morning and look like someone sexier.
You’ve got to own your identity and screw anyone who thinks you need to change your appearance to please them.
I mean that. Let other people have their opinions, and thank God if you’re lucky enough to be immune to them. To the best of your abilities, don’t be unoriginal in your own perception of beauty. For whatever reason, I’ve been predisposed to the whole “fuck you” mentality, but I still have to work every day to be comfortable with myself. Believe me. Back in September, shortly after my boyfriend/best friend had to go back to Pennsylvania to finish school, I created a document called “Get Through the Year.” It was about coping with my loneliness and working on myself. It was about focusing on why I’m happy with myself. I don’t need someone’s stupid atlas. I will do whatever I can to avoid the depression that comes with comparing myself to other people’s versions of beauty. Goodness, I already have enough issues.