Portfolios > • Azalea: Beauty is the cruelest drug.

We have travelled far away from a “natural world” to a “social world”. The journey sabotaged understanding of “beauty” - particularly “human beauty”. Once appreciated as an aesthetic pleasure it is now experienced in ways infecting our lives as our society becomes dangerously contrived and full of artifice. Vast numbers of people equate “pretty looks” with status, power and influence. The infection is dangerous as human beauty is advertised and promoted with an intent to distort, and even mask, reasonable understanding of identity with the “noise” of appearance.

Fashion has become beauty’s “Commander-In-Chief”, shamelessly appealing less to aesthetics than to vanity. Fashion employs provocative and vapid statements in a camouflaged pursuit for financial gain. Aesthetic considerations are a ruse to identify and capture vulnerable women and children as prey. The desire for beauty manipulates them to behave as if they are constantly on stage. Distinctive clothing has become de rigueur. Countless people now require brand labels to dial up a confident, best self.

We got to this juncture by glamorizing physical appearance and presenting endless parades of fashion models, including children and anorexic adults, all wrapped in art not reality. Child models suggest original fantasy, hope and glamor. Aging and anorexic models suggest sadness, loss and despair as social world experiences shape their lives. Early on we glorify these models and, over time, we eviscerate them. Beauty is the cruelest of drugs.