Amor Vincit Omnia, literally means ‘Love Conquers All’. So it should. Love is the driving positive force in our world. It should be more powerful than anything. When Mia Darien first approached the authors with her idea for another collection of romance short stories, one of the criteria presented was that the stories have a theme of ‘beauty is only skin deep’.
This theme is fitting seeing as all author profits from this collection will benefit a breast cancer charity. I’m going to go into why. Cancer treatment, in particular breast cancer treatment for women brings forward certain sensitive body image issues. Issues that shouldn’t be there but are.
From the survivors I have read about and spoken to, their main concern has been to become themselves again. Whole and complete no matter what treatment options they went for. To regain their health and to live. The threat of the disease coming back, and the difficulty of living with the memories of those who did not make it is hard enough. It’s important to them, during and after treatment, not to be defined by cancer. To live and to love.
Because cancer sucks.
Now…about those body image issues…
I do believe that love conquers all. But in our selfie, looks and physique obsessed culture, there is an underlying notion that worries me. This notion is that the type of fulfillment that comes from true love can somehow be replicated or sped up by having a society and marketing approved appearance.
Let’s be honest, body shaming whether it be fat shaming, slim shaming, AGE shaming, even the varying double standards about what is classed as attractive for men and women, is RIFE in our society. There is even the shaming of those who are supposedly too attractive. Really.
The media can’t get enough of it, in fact thrives off of it. These days, there will be one article or post shaming those who shame, then another one after showcasing unrealistic standards of supposed ‘ideal’ beauty.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being traditionally ‘beautiful’. It’s cool to paint your nails and have the odd facial. For the record I love essential oils. But drilling into the public consciousness again and again and again that only a certain thing is attractive is wrong. Breaking that one down, the all too frequent message is this: That only youth in all its sexed up, newly voluptuous and toned glory is accepted as ‘hot’, appealing and worthy of romantic love.
I get that marketing is necessary, but come on media…come on. Really? Again?
I honestly think that what media and society class as ‘flaws’ are appealing. A missing body part or two? Hot. Scars? Definitely beautiful. Laugh lines? Gorgeous. Freckles are particularly pretty in my opinion. Those little shadows that live under the eyes of deep thinkers can be hauntingly beautiful. A bit of extra oomph in a lady’s posterior? Haven’t we yet learned that that is actually quite attractive? Not everyone is blessed with oomph, some of us are slimmer than we’d like to be. It’s okay to be naturally slender. It is graceful looking, even ethereal one might say.
Shouldn’t it be obvious that there is a great difference between self care and self obsession? It’s a GOOD thing to exercise and eat healthy. We should all do it, it will make for a happier, healthier and YES by default more attractive world.
Yet it is the first two that are the most important. Happy and healthy. The last is just a side effect. When people are happy and healthy, it shows. People glow. So, why is that the ‘attractiveness’ side effect is still the driving force for marketers and consumers? This focus feeds a weakness in our world instead of encouraging strengths.
When people are eaten up by insecurity and loneliness, it also shows. Way too many reach out to the virtual world for comfort and find the opposite. They find inadequate connection. They probably yearn for love, they want to feel desired. Don’t we all? Still, what they find are endless images ruthlessly designed to market products to them.
Wanna know what I hear when I see some of the ads knocking around these days?
‘Don’t get old, don’t be ugly, don’t get fat. Or no one will love you. See this wealthy famous person whose career totally rides on them being classed as hot? They use this product. So should you. Maybe someone will find you desirable. Then you will be happy.’
I appreciate what actors and pop stars do and all, I like music and films. Famous people are real, actual people and it isn’t right to lay into them as though they have no feelings. I can grasp that. All the same, stay the hell out of my bathroom and gym routine, celebrities *evil glare*.
Erm, A-list celebrities? News Flash! You have enough money.
Marketing people with no soul? I feel sorry for you.
Again, I stress that taking our health seriously SHOULD be encouraged.
There is no one who doesn’t benefit from being in good health. Each day we learn more and more about what is good for our bodies and what is not. That’s great. Let’s go with that. A part of this whole fight against cancer thing involves eating and living right.
But enforced obsession with our looks is wrong.
The marketing industry’s continued bombardment of our screens with ‘perfect’ images is wrong.
Genuine true, mutual soul fulfilling love is a natural, gorgeous thing that can’t be artificially reproduced. Us human beings NEED real love.
You know why? Because only in its purest and truest form can love conquer all.
And supposedly ‘perfect’ looks have nothing to do with that.
Look out for Amor Vincit Omnia on Amazon, November 11th. Stories by Mia Darien, Angela B. Chrysler, Christi Rigby, Crystal Smith and myself Jessica Nicholls.