SK16 – True Beauty vs. Artificial Beauty

I have this thought about true beauty vs. artificial beauty, and current beauty practices. To me I’m beginning to see everyone starting to look the same and I just want to yell stop it!

And I’m sure we can attribute most of it to the daily practice of botox or fillers or some form of injections and I genuinely feel like it doesn’t make a better difference.

In fact, I know the people around me that do that kind of stuff. It’s just so obvious, you can tell when it’s done. At what point do we really need to start looking other than the way we look?

It really is a question of true beauty vs. artificial beauty, isn’t it?

And why is that so important? Why is it so important to look not like the way we look?

So first of all, what’s the difference between hot and beautiful? Maybe as a guy you can explain?

I’m not the one who can explain that. I don’t think in that way. What’s your definition of beauty? I don’t think there’s a definition. I think it’s something you see and recognize. I don’t think you can define it.

So you see it. Even a simple proportion, you may find that beautiful because it appeals to your visuals. You see that something universal or something in harmony with the rest of the world, and that’s beautiful. Yet something else can be not beautiful to you.

Beauty, justice, and truth are connected

True beauty vs. Artificial beauty - studio portrait of a young girl with messy hair
True beauty vs. artificial beauty connected to justice and truth

Since the very ancient philosophies of the Greeks and probably before them, there was a very close relationship between beauty, justice, and truth. So it is like the same principle that is expressed in different realms of beauty. Beauty being the expression of truth in the form.

So when we’re seeing everyone doing botox, fillers, and injections of all different types. With all those different procedures, you can see that’s no longer the truth, that is no longer the reality of their origin.

Should they have just left it alone and embraced their truth? Would that at some point have been better received? Or is society just now getting used to the standards that these procedures bring about? Maybe true beauty vs artificial beauty will always lose?

So now everyone feels like they have to raise themselves up to that standard. I think this is mostly driven by a fear of aging. But why are men doing it, too? Now more and more, and you can see it. You can see someone who’s been appearing on TV, let’s say, or even in real life. We’ve been watching somebody regularly, say, and then you notice, “oh, he looks a bit stretched”.

Can we just age better?

Or the eyebrows are kind of stiff or whatever. When you start seeing it in men, you can feel it’s gone too far. Whereas before it was thought that men age better. But men have stopped believing that. And I don’t know if that was just a saying, because I know a lot of women that have aged really well too.

I mean, my mother and your mother are beautiful at their ages. My mom’s in her mid seventies and your mom is in her eighties. And it’s remarkable. What an inspiration they are. And I know they’ve never had anything done.

Makes you wonder, where is this all going? Yeah, there are certain countries like Lebanon, where you have the impression of seeing the same person again and again. Because that’s where a lot of the procedures happen. You see the noses are the same. The lips are the same. So everyone looks the same.

And you mentioned Lebanon, because we know that a lot of people go in that region in the Middle East to Lebanon to get a lot of plastic surgery done. That’s just a fact. And I know of a lot of people that have actually gone there for certain procedures. So you wonder after a while what is going on?

Procedures and what can’t be bought

Because you’re right, everybody starts having the same nose and they start having the same type of skin and the same type of contouring. And what happened to fit and healthy? What happened to inner beauty that is revealed, as you say, by just being truthful, honest and sincere?

All these things that shine from you like a light that can’t be bought and that can’t be injected. So is that becoming less appreciated in exchange for the appreciation of a quick fix through an injection or a nip or a tuck? Yeah, I think again, it’s being sucked into a society’s view of what’s supposed to be.

I mean, the values that are upheld today is really to be young. Yeah, what’s up with that? What’s up with not looking the age that you are? Why is it so important to look an age that you’re not? What’s the message you’re trying to give? Like, look at me, I’m so fabulous? At whatever age they are of 65, 70, maybe 50, maybe 40, whatever age, they start doing the really drastic stuff.

Is the message supposed to be, I am this older age and look how fabulous I am? That’s the win? No, I don’t think the appearance was so important in the past. They were aging according to the way they had treated their body. And there’s also the genetic components.

Value of age

True beauty vs. Artificial beauty - woman in green long sleeve shirt holding smartphone
True beauty vs. Artificial beauty – the value of age

But today, society doesn’t give any value to someone who is old. The way old people are viewed is not getting better. So there’s a kind of fear, I think, to enter a certain appearance that is not only, not praised, but despised. To enter into this phase of your life where you age and it shows, that’s terrifying to many.

But I think we’re also buying into it. Yeah, we live in a society and we are being sold its values, right? We’re being told how to feel about aging. But I don’t think it’s true. I think if you get older, no matter what age you are, if you just own it with confidence, if you just be it and if you just are unapologetically, the fabulous you that age inevitably brings out. Then it automatically brings out the beauty. It brings out the wisdom. It brings out the richness of your soul.

People just know that you just have something to offer and that’s the magnet that makes people gravitate towards you. Why not give that a chance? Yeah, I agree. I think it’s because there’s probably some emptiness inside that is felt. That you have to project outwardly what is not inside.

It’s always beautiful to see someone who has aged in a certain way because we carry on our faces the way we lived. It is said that you deserve the face you have when you are like 60. Yeah, I heard it was 50. I heard that by the time you reach 50, you have the face that you deserve. I heard that from Sheikh Hamza Yusuf the first time and I don’t know if it’s a hadith? I don’t even know where it came from.

Rebelling against the way God chose you to look

Yeah, it’s a saying. And that makes you reflect because it makes you realize that whatever life you’ve led by the time you hit 50, it shows on your face. Right. A real testament to true beauty vs. artificial beauty. Not to forget that in Islam, we know that the way Allah has created these bodies; and the way they age, is a blessing. Yet people find it unsettling.

In general, those people who understand the loss of blessings in changing one’s form. There’s something about changing the form of your nose, or the form of your lips. You are meddling with Allah’s will for you, which He knows best. Yet you don’t trust there’s a reason that you were created that way.

So you intervening to change your perceived beauty. There’s something deeper there that many people have been warning us against. Yet the practice is being democraticized. Like everyone can do it and there’s no problem. It’s like many things that this world is accepting as normal.

There’s something deeper we must think through. What does that mean? Does that mean that you change the form of your body? So what does this level of thinking mean? Well, there’s a kind of non acceptance. I don’t know how to phrase it exactly. But it’s a rebellion against the natural processes that are willed by your Creator.

And it’s against oneself. The one who does do things that are dramatically different from the way they were born, it’s they that go against themselves. I mean, you can’t own your own body and your own face anymore.

People who can’t stop getting procedures done

True beauty vs. Artificial beauty - woman lying down receives forehead botox
True beauty vs. Artificial beauty – when is it too much?

That’s a really heavy place to be. And I wonder if you’ve broken certain boundaries of guidance, because how far does that go? To what extent do you keep going? Because it may work the first time or the second time, and then you just kind of get addicted to it. And we see cases like this in real life where people who just can’t stop getting procedures done, after a while, it just gets to be a bit much.

So I wonder if they’ve just lost sight on certain boundaries that naturally exist. Like, no, let’s just not go further than this. And I don’t want to open a can of worms, but we see people who are doing stuff to their body. Including the gender change stuff where they’re mutilating themselves. Absolutely. You have people who feel that they are not in a body that is appropriate to them and they would prefer to physically do harm to this body.

So there is a fine line. It needs to be thought through. It is also up to each individual to draw the line. So it’s like many questions that must be left to the intelligence of people. Yet there’s a high risk of going too far naturally.

I would say that it is amazing how just changing a little detail in the face, can make you someone totally different. Yeah. And this has always struck me. So what is exactly this relation between the person and the body we inhabit?

Optimal beauty secret

To be fair, we’re living in times where standards have been set across the board at unrealistic levels. So it’s very easy for even the most beautiful person that may have optimal natural beauty, to feel like they’ve got to get something done. And I think those that perhaps don’t feel they’re of that category of beauty don’t realize what they can do with their own natural features. They have great possibilities.

Everyone has the ability to get more fit, to get more healthy, to get more connected to God. And I definitely say that’s a beauty secret. When you can connect to God and when you can really embrace God and realize that His light is there for you to bask in. That’s the ultimate true beauty vs. artificial beauty.

The beauty that emits from that connection is unlike anything I’ve seen. And I think you and I have seen a lot of people that have that kind of beauty because of their love and their belief in God. Their undying commitment to continue to know God is how they navigate through life.

And it may sound preachy, but it’s really true. There is a beauty formula in there. There is this amazing glow that comes out of it. But again, one has to ask, what is it that they’re striving for? Are they trying to get hot, by media standards? There was some talk show I was listening to. Two men talking about how “hot” can a woman be that’s not necessarily beautiful. She can just make herself hot.

Are men to blame?

woman in brown coat standing in front of books
True beauty vs. Artificial beauty – who really sets the standards?

And then they said there’s “beautiful”, yet it’s a woman who can be unnoticeable. But if you really look at her, boy, oh boy, is she beautiful. And she’s got the potential if you just did her up and if she knew what makeup to wear and how to dress well. You could make her beautiful and hot.

So there are standards and definitions that I think we all need to understand and ask ourselves, what are we striving for? Because being hot can be perhaps a vacuous place, and beauty as a whole entirely a different definition. So do we blame the men for such standards?

Because in this interview one of them said, well, it’s hard to look away from a hot woman. And are men maybe defining the standards of beauty for women to try to attain? Well, I don’t think that’s true because if you look in traditional societies, the definition of someone who was considered beautiful or attractive changed quite a bit. If you look at paintings of European painters of the 19th century, they were painting nude women, and they were trying to depict through this painting, the ultimate beauty.

But these women would be considered fat today. And their facial features would not resemble the ones that people who go into botox try to reach. So what is interesting is that as far as the canon of beauties are concerned, things have changed dramatically.

Arranged marriages were led primarily by women. It was the mothers, who would say, “this girl is not beautiful” or “this girl is beautiful enough for my son”. But how do we know that the son is now saying, mom, if you don’t bring somebody really hot, I’m not going to even give her a consideration. So maybe the son is pulling those strings. Yeah, but I don’t think the son is explaining to his mother what he considers to be attractive. A mother always knows. There’s no need for most sons to interfere.

There’s no difference, really, between the man and the woman. They both consider looks. So now there are many anthropological explanations. What was supposed to be attractive was someone who gave signs of being fertile, for example. Yeah. So there’s a ratio between the breasts and the thighs. These ratios were interpreted as feminine features of attraction.

As reflective of natural ways of being able to have babies. The woman with the hips is definitely a better match for the son than the absolutely emaciated looking woman who may not have that same childbearing potential.

And so that’s interesting. The reverse of this is what we see in this last, 40 or 50 years. Where the ideal of beauty for a woman is not these features that would say whether she can bear a child and deliver easily. It’s really the anorexic woman who clearly cannot bear a child that is looked up to as a model.

Someone very thin, pretty, angular, with no shape. And no breasts, which I think in real life would look sickly. I mean, maybe they can play it up for the magazine covers, but if you actually see that in real life, that’s not necessarily going to be anyone’s idea of beauty. But this is the model that is put forward, and many women want to replicate that.

Make beauty real again

And that’s where the problem is. So maybe we just bring it back to where it’s real again. Maybe our standard of beauty should be based on a makeup-less look. Let’s take a look at everyone out there without makeup, and let’s establish what beauty means. Then will know how true beauty vs. artificial beauty fares.

Beauty is then the light that comes out of your eyes. It’s not even necessarily how dramatically wonderful your eyes look when you put liner and all this makeup on. Maybe it’s just that natural glow that comes out of them. Or maybe the way you brighten someone’s life just by smiling. I think the standards of beauty can be reset to a more appreciable level.

I appreciate a beautiful smile. I think everybody does. I think it makes everyone’s day when somebody has a beautiful smile and they actually know how to be sincere with their smile. It does the same beautiful thing to their look. If they just look with their eyes and they just know how to use their eyes in sincerity. Where did that go?

I know that used to be the warmth in people’s lives at one time. It’s gone. Now we don’t even talk about people’s beautiful capabilities anymore or the glow in their eyes. I don’t know. The question of makeup is interesting. One, there is a huge push by the chemical industry to sell those products that are probably not good for neither your skin or the insides of your body.

Everything from these chemicals to other ingredients will penetrate within the skin and reach your bloodstream. But nobody really cares because they think it’s just marginal. Whatever the impact would be, it’s not going to really devastate their lives. So they’re going to continue to put on the lipstick. We all wear a little bit of color here and there, I agree. But the quantity, I mean, it certainly has an impact on the liver and the body.

But all cultures have always used makeup. So there’s a difference between totally transforming the person and making someone enhanced. Totally like in a Hollywood movie, someone who in the morning wakes up and then spends an hour making up themselves. Then you have the other person where the makeup that is so subtle, but is there to enhance natural features or to really highlight.

It puts some perspective. And this is something very different. When they need high quantities, you’ve fallen into the trap. I think it was the UK, where they banned advertisements that used unrealistic body types. So the emaciated models were no longer allowed in certain campaigns. And again, I have to double check under what conditions that was imposed.

I wonder then do we need representation of everything and every body type? Because that too can propel a problematic message. I, for one, think that it should be healthy and fit. I think if we’re going to put these bodies up in campaigns where we know people are going to be inspired or strive towards something like that, let’s not make it unrealistic on both sides; or unhealthy on both sides.

So let’s not make them really skinny, which can be very unhealthy, and let’s not make them overweight, which is obviously very unhealthy too. So let’s not celebrate obesity and let’s not celebrate the opposite. Let’s celebrate whoever looks healthy and fit.

I wonder, are we now taking it to the other direction? We’ve seen a lot of controversy around big size models. The first step is to change beauty definitions and to make beauty not something objective. And is it? That’s a big question, right?

Is fat beautiful?

True beauty vs. Artificial beauty - man drinking from clear plastic bottle
True beauty vs. Artificial beauty – is fat beautiful?

If it’s related to truth, there must be something that is beautiful because it participates to the harmony of the world. This has always been a classical view, and now there is like a dictatorship of beauty according to rules that some people with interest are putting out there. For the past decades, it has been the anorexic models. And since the society is moving towards obesity more and more in an exponential way, in order to sell their products, they want now to sell that fat is beautiful.

Obesity is such a dangerous message to push on people. Which in itself is aesthetically, not reacted to well generally. I don’t know how to put it, but from a health perspective, it is a disaster. Because someone who is obese generally does not live beyond 60 years old. And it’s a shame that they would just pontificate and say that it is okay and healthy. It is not at all, objectively.

But now people are no longer educated about beauty. People are no longer told these things. Like obesity has its ramifications. After a certain age, you may struggle to live or breathe. These are real things. And I know people that are obese, that have remained obese, and they’re now, let’s say, maybe fifty, and they’re struggling. And I worry for them. I worry that if they don’t do something about their obesity, they may not be around.

So it’s not only that you are not dedicated to the goodness of mankind. It’s that there is strong backlash if you say anything. And look at what happened to Jordan Peterson not long ago, when on the cover of a fitness magazine, they put some model in swimsuit who was pretty obese. The caption saying something like it was beautiful. And he tweeted, no, it’s not beautiful. John Peterson is a pretty emotional guy. Yet he has a thick skin. But he almost quit Twitter because of the hate he received for a simple remark. It was not disrespecting someone. He just said objectively, that’s not beautiful. And don’t uphold this as the model for today because it’s so unhealthy.

And if anyone tries to achieve that look, it would just be equally unhealthy for them. So, yes, I agree, somebody needed to point out, okay, there’s an obese model and let’s just call it what it is. It’s unhealthy to be grossly overweight. He said not beautiful, not unhealthy. It’s like the two go together, of course, and the way society stigmatises aging, that’s how ridiculous they’ve gotten here too.

Stigmatising normal

I was listening to an interview by a model who said that by the time she was 23, she was considered old. She said, and by the time we’re 30 were just washed up. And that’s got to be a lot of pressure. So forget in the real world, aging, where you get to your middle ages you’re still allowed to age.

And I think that’s where people have all this messaging coming at them. They get into panic mode, and that’s why they turn to the injections and even the surgeries and whatever it takes to get their facelifts or to reverse the signs of aging.

Not only is it dangerous, but they’re buying into the stigma. And I think whatever age you are, you have to love your life because you have no choice but to be the age you are. I remember when I was twelve, I couldn’t wait to be 21. It’s like you’re never happy with the age that you are. And that’s just it.

A 23 year old model is worried that she’s going to be out of a job soon because she’s going to be considered old. So let’s first reverse this age stigmatizing that’s going on. It’s time to own your age, be proud of it.

I’m not opposed to doing things to look good. I think everybody can look very good if they know how to do a little bit of makeup and fix themselves up. And I think everybody has the right to do that and should do that. So I’m not an extremist in that way. But I do think that we need to make sure that we’re not perpetuating this awful and unhealthy message of getting old.

Proudly be your older years, eighty, ninety, whatever you are. To be self conscious and to surgically fight it, It’s not the right message to put out there for the younger generations. We need you to be you…so they can be themselves.

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