By MARK GREENE.
Journalist Tom Matlack recently wrote an article for the New York Times that declared his wife to be the “most beautiful woman on this planet.”
“I just turned 48. So did my wife. We celebrated ten years of marriage on December 28th. She is the most beautiful woman on this planet. That sounds cliché but in my case it’s the truth. I love to sneak a glimpse of her first thing in the morning – she has slate blue eyes that sparkle in a particular way. My stomach turns inside out every time she looks at me. It’s as if the whole sun has been transported into those two orbs of light,” Tom wrote.
Well done, sir!
I commend you on your absolute commitment to the truth.
In response, Tom’s colleague, author Joanna Schroeder noted:
“But I believe Tom. Not because I think that his wife, Elena, is objectively the most beautiful woman in the world. She’s lovely, of course, but the reason I believe him is because my husband feels the same way about me.”
And for the record, I feel the same about my wife, Saliha.
So, how, in a world of seemingly endless supermodels and celebrities, have Elena, Joanna and Saliha each become the most beautiful woman in the world?
Well, we all have our own view of what is beautiful, right? But we are also subject to our culture’s collective view of beauty.
And that narrative is a powerful one, indeed, when reflected back to us 24/7 on every billboard, magazine, video screen and cereal box in the known universe. Typically, a culture’s collective view of beauty is, in fact, a direct reflection of that society’s class structure.
In the middle ages, only landed gentry could afford to be well fed or could live in such a way as to have pale skin instead of sunburns from working in the fields, so beauty was pale and full figured. In post-industrial McDonald’s cheeseburger America, only the wealthy can afford a personal trainer or time to pursue a nice golden tan, so tanned and thin represents the unattainable ideal of beauty. It’s all pretty obviously tied to power and wealth and all things unattainable. Did I mention unattainable?