What is ‘real’ these days
This last week I came across this and it started me wondering…
A fallen branch: hollow, shattered & exposed
Almost daily I walk through the gardens near my home and I frequently enter via a pathway under this tree.
The strong healthy green tree!
The strong healthy green tree which is now exposed as having NOT been totally authentic.
What in the heck am I talking about?
Well, let me put it another way.
Until the moment that branch shattered off the tree and smashed to the ground, it appeared healthy.
To the best of my knowledge no-one knew that it was not as it appeared.
No-one knew that that large branch was hollow, empty!
And all it took was a little wind for it to shatter, not a big storm, just a little wind, for it to be exposed, as a fraud.
… You see the fallen log was hollow!
It had, probably for a long time, been holding on to it’s ‘healthy’ guise.
Who’d have known, not even the park rangers it seems!
This tree had fooled everyone, including me as I walked under it almost daily…
So what? you may ask…
Well, it had me wondering… on a number of levels…
For some time I’ve been concerned about social media and the pressure, it creates, especially Instagram and now Snapchat. The pressure to be visually and publicly perfect! The implication being that if you’re not perfect you’re not ‘good enough’…
When in this frame of mind last week I came across an article that disturbed me greatly.
It didn’t shock me.
It didn’t really surprise me.
But it certainly disturbed me, and I’d like to share that story with you.
What is authenticity? does fear play a role here?
Stick with me here for a moment and then later I share a podcast and I’d love to discuss authenticity with you
But, for now, I quote from an article about life in Beijing: “What researchers call the “online-celebrity economy” — which includes e-commerce sales driven by personalities, virtual gifts and sponsorships — totalled 52.8 billion yuan in 2016, research firm Analysys International estimates. That is bigger than China’s film box office.
Young women used to come in with photos of movie stars they wanted to look like, says Luan Jie, a 30-year veteran at the Plastic Surgery Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Beijing. Now they show him photos of stream queens.
“Successful online stars have a big impact on the aesthetics of our society, especially on the younger generation,” says Luan. The ‘online-star’ face, with its attention-getting features, is turning women into cartoon characters, he says, and many look the same.”
Meet Den Qian from Beijing and here is her story and that of DJ Liu Shuang Read it here..
(The photos and story are credited to DJ Liu Shuang)
Liu Shuang, a 20-year-old music DJ in Beijing who uses social media and live-streaming for promotion, blames the online-star face for her career struggles. Her solution: further surgery — a 12-hour procedure last month to give her what she calls “a mixed-race face”.
“Most girls get plastic surgery that makes them look Japanese or Korean. Mine is more exaggerated, so more differentiating,” she says.
Liu got a discount for the procedure, which she says would ordinarily cost more than 300,000 yuan, by allowing the clinic to use her before-and-after photos.”[Note: that’s roughly Euro 40k]
Before, during & after
Ms. Deng and Ms Shuang are trying to stand out among some six million live streamers, most of them women, appearing on more than 200 platforms in China.
Deng Qian has had more than a dozen cosmetic surgeries, to slim her arms, enlarge her breasts and change almost every part of her face.
“Everything above my belly button is fake,” she says.
Above the neck, Deng’s aim was an “online-star face” — big eyes, long nose, high forehead and sharp chin, a look pursued by young women seeking online celebrity and the big income that can follow.
Why are we afraid of being vulnerable?
When I read articles like these and others & when I spend time drooling over ever perfect Francophile images I find myself wondering why we are so afraid to expose our real selves? Our imperfect self?
Why are we not more comfortable in our own skin – as it is?
Why are we afraid to be vulnerable?
… And then I came across a podcast that I want to share with you.
This one is by Brené Brown and I’d call her a collector of stories more than a storyteller.
She would refer to herself as a researcher and more recently as a vulnerability researcher.
But, I suggest that she tell you that story…
Let me know your reaction after you’ve had time to listen & think it through.
Brené’s TedTalk took me back to thinking about the fallen branch: hollow, shattered and exposed!
- Hollow for how long?
- Hiding without courage under the guise of ‘health’
- I found myself thinking a lot more deeply about authenticity and what it really means – what about you?
And, from Brenés ‘Power of Vulnerability‘ talk, here are some of the concepts & discussion points which fascinated me – let’s chat below: –
- Connection: What do you think about Brené’s premise that ‘Connection’ is why we’re here – and how important that is?
- Vulnerability: The fear of vulnerability and her thoughts on its connection with shame fascinated me – what about you?
- Whole-hearted: Do you feel you are worthy of love and belonging? Would you describe yourself as ‘whole-hearted’?
- Courage: Do you have the courage to be imperfect? How does vulnerability sit with you? Do you struggle with it?
- Compassion: How do you show compassion to others? Are you kind to yourself?
- Blame: What do you think of her finding that blame is described as ‘a way to discharge pain and discomfort’? Do you agree with Brené when she says it’s important for us to believe that we’re enough! Because when we work from a place which says “I’m enough”… then we stop screaming & start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.
That’s all for this week see you in the comments below
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