This semester I was required by my theater class to go see a play created by my fellow students. Being someone who isn't very "cultured" in the theater community because I don't really go see plays very often, and the information about the play I was coming to see seemed like a very common topic that wouldn't be very moving.
The topic? Beauty. Different scenes embodying interviewees' perspectives on beauty and their definition of it. Being a college student and having gone through, read and experienced the many insecurities that women can have because of the way that today's society idolizes beauty, I was worried this play was going to be more of an attack on society rather than an experience for me.
The play began, and it was very relatable. Two skits in particular really caught my eye.
The scene begins. Four women are seen sitting together waiting for an acting audition. They are all waiting outside talking to each other excitedly. You would think they had already known each other, but they are all complete strangers. Suddenly, a petite young girl walks in late, and they all become dead silent. And the audience is left wondering, why are they silent? What makes this girl so different that they refuse to speak and be nice to her? Then minutes after the girl has been trying to make conversation with her, they bring up their issue with her. She is not their size. All the women are somewhat fuller and curvier than this petite girl. Some are tall and curvy, others short and heavy-set, but this particular girl, has been outcasted not because she fits any of those descriptions, but because she does not.
I honestly have to say, I have guiltily never thought of the girls who are thinner, as having that many issues in their lives, because they are smaller and don't have to deal with the burden of being an overweight woman. This was an eye-opener for me.
Other scenes that I enjoyed dealt with things like being a Mexican-American, and how it can be difficult because sometimes you are judged on being one or the other. More Mexican, or more American? But never both equally. An invisible set of standards established. Either you're too much of one, to not earn respect to be treated as hispanic, or too American to be accepted as hispanic. Not everyone does this, but it is a problem that I too struggle with, especially in high school when dealing with many students who are directly from Mexico. I couldn't have resonated any more well than that skit did. This same actress, expanded on the 'latina body stereotype', and how difficult it can be to be a latina who isn't as curvy as the media displays us. Claiming the only thing about her that fits the stereotype is 'the big hair and the attitude' (I too realized I admittedly fit those two things as well). And that issue really is something that I think many latinas deal with un-intentionally. After hearing this actress say that, I realized I too struggle to fit the stereotype. I had constantly felt down on my body thinking it could have been the 'perfect' body the media portrays it in. Having a lot of curves, a small torso and beautiful hair. Hearing someone else say that they also struggle with this, made me realize how wrong it was of me to feel this way about myself at times.
Not only did this play turn out good, but I learned about new perspectives and definitions of beauty that I had never even thought of. It truly changed the way I look at people, and how I define beauty.