Review: ‘America the Beautiful’ shows U.S. obsession with looks

On Oct. 22, UIW and Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorder hosted the showing of the thought-provoking documentary, “America the Beautiful,” as well as having a panel for discussion as part of the commemoration of two decades in helping women and girls heal.

  The purpose of the evening was to reveal the unhealthy image we have of beauty and the measures we take to acquire it. 

  Following a reception, Dr. Debra Russo, a licensed clinical psychologist, introduced herself, her fellow colleagues, guest, and talented filmmaker, Darryl Roberts.

   Roberts spent three years filming “America The Beautiful.” He wanted to capture the essence of what it means to be beautiful in today’s modern world. The film revolves around a young girl and her aspirations to become a great model. From the very beginning we are enthralled by the lavish world of beauty, but there is one disturbing detail in this seemingly perfect world, the model is only 12 years old and already she is dressed to look like a 21-year-old.

   The film focuses on the obsessive nature we have for the idealized beauty and the damage it could bring.  It exposes the many ways in which we can fail our bodies; not eating nutritiously, eating too much or too little, masking our faces with harmful substances and even going as far as surgically recreating our faces. These are extreme measures that happen too often.

   Asked what advice she has for young girls and women, Russo said, “be kind to your body, treat yourself like you would your best friend.” She repeatedly stated our bodies are all different and unique and that we need to have more ideals of beauty than just the skinny, tall women.

   Another important eye-opener that was revealed in the film was the items we buy that supposedly help us to become more beautiful. It made us question the products we consume every day. Each time we purchase makeup, creams, hair products and magazines, we encourage franchises to produce even more.

  Magazines especially are highly damaging to our self-esteem. Many well-known magazines corporations were questioned about their publications of women and sure enough, they admitted to selling “dreams” knowing the dream is not real. The editors of these magazines displayed no remorse, simply stating it was just good business.  They purposely give us the wrong perception of beauty. That’s why Kristen Haglund, Miss America 2008, said she no longer purchases them. “We as consumers have to choose what we buy and understand that the media benefits from our purchases,” Haglund said.

   Roberts’ film has been shown nine times, and each time it creates a powerful impact. It awakened in everyone a need to help overcome these self-consuming mentalities. It reveals to us the lengths we go to, in order to achieve the standard ideals of beauty and shows us just how far the extent of our obsession has gone. After viewing the movie, everyone agreed it is unhealthy to change our bodies so drastically because in the end it does more harm than good.


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Alex Garcia







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