The following is from the New York Times opinion section. It caught my eye!
I think our nation is far too fashion obsessed. Although beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, companies spend billions of dollars to the "Madison Avenue Marketeers" who in turn probably spend millions of dollars hiring ultra-slim models to help sell a product. Because of this, it seems like the majority of our country's population think that looking near anorexic with boobs is beautiful. So much for diversity in opinions on beauty. And so much for trying to teach our youth that beauty is more than skin deep and 90 pounds going on 85 (with a little help of a finger down one's throat!). (Please note that this subject is a bit personal to me. My sister was hospitalized a couple of times in her youth for problems with anorexia/bolemia.)
Well it seems that the Russians are being picky in accepting some of our "Western Values". I would say that this is a positive mark for the Russians. And maybe we can learn something from them and incorporate some of their values into our culture!
Nyet to Barbie
Published: May 2, 2004
By Western standards, the ideal Soviet beauty always looked quite sturdy. Despite a black market for cosmetics, there seemed to be an official pride in the thought that as Miss America was trimming her nails, Miss U.S.S.R. could be called upon to roll up her sleeves and help out at the steel foundry.
No more. Russia is now overloaded with beauty contests, including the routes to Miss Europe, Miss World and, of course, Miss Universe. These Russian contestants long ago shed the proletarian look to take their places alongside the world's more willowy competitors. What is comforting, however, is that this transition from robust to inhumanly svelte is not every Russian's idea of progress.
When a group promoting the Miss Universe pageant offered Russian Internet users a choice for their nation's representative recently, a normal-looking girl who called herself Alyona won by a stunning landslide. It turns out Alyona was not her real name, nor was she old enough to compete-her school friends had put her up for the competition as a joke. So the teenager was disqualified by somewhat bewildered pageant organizers.
Alyona's loss, however, has not stopped the widespread enjoyment of her story by Russians who are tired of the beauty cult, tired of the would-be Barbies, tired of the constant bombardment of advertising that one Alyona fan has described as "corporate manipulations on the human souls." A dozen years ago, Russians overvalued all things Western, from cars to Barbie dolls. Now, it appears that many Russians have begun to sift more carefully through the Western invasions to pick out what they want, while discarding what they don't. That, in Russia, is a sign of real progress.