Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Changing perceptions

I am plump.

But I think I’m gorgeous. But most people who look like me don’t have the confidence I have neither do they think they’re beautiful. To make matters worse I‘m also dark and that’s apparently another huge disadvantage as an Asian.

How many dark women do you see in commercials that have nothing to do with festivals? I really don’t care what people think of me but most people do.

Having been a performer I can tell you one thing, people who used to enjoy my performances didn’t care how I looked. But people around me, teachers, friends and family weren’t that supportive, they were embarrassed I wasn’t super thin. At some point I did succumb to them, but with age I’ve grown up to realize they need to open their minds.

Most people grow up being self conscious of how they look, they starve themselves to fit an image or size that society sets. They try to imitate celebrities and models who are deemed the look to emulate, people condemn celebrities for how they look, they spend on facial products that promise to turn you into snow white coz you know you can only get married or get a job if you’re fair.

I’m not telling you to go pig out and not exercise. I’m saying if that’ your body shape (thin or plump) live with it and be proud of how you look. It’s essential that you eat healthy and stay healthy. If you can’t climb the stairs or walk the length of Midvalley (for example) it’s about time you get some exercise.

Our society has a set of perceived ideas for beauty, one size, one look, one age – anything out of the box and they are frowned upon.

I really believe we should stop idealizing one size and accept people for how they look and celebrate their inner beauty. So many talents are wasted because we can’t see beyond their size and looks. We scrutinize celebrities forgetting these were once ordinary people whose talents should be the one we judge and not how they look. Then we complain that these celebrities are setting bad examples to youngsters with their micro diets and what-so-ever. We’re a confused bunch aren’t we?

How are we going to educate the younger generation if we ourselves are confused? We should instill this into our children; tell them it is rude to call people names based on how they look. We should tell our children people come in different sizes and colour and you shouldn’t judge them by that.

So here’s the thing. What am I doing to educate people?

Well I’m organizing a photography competition in collaboration with KLPAC on the theme Beautiful Imperfections.

The challenge is to see imperfections as beauty and change the mindset on the perceived ideas of beauty. The idea is to show that everyone can be beautiful and it is the photographers duty to show them on their best side. Show how ordinary people are beautiful too. Let their inner beauty shine in your photographs.

So we’re looking for submission of photos of plump, old, super thin, non model/ model like, non muscular, wrinkles, disability and any kind of physical imperfections set by society.

People who take part in this exhibition must believe in the theme as you will be required to sell the idea to visitors at the exhibition. Don’t do this if you just want to exhibit.

The exhibition will take place under my flickr group SWAM in December so if you think your grandma, girlfriend, friend or anyone is beautiful and you can shoot them beautifully join the competition (read the rules first) and spread the message. ;)

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