I often bemoan the loss of individuality, in regards to what is and is not considered attractive in our culture. There is an optimal look for females and, more and more, there is one for males too. All around us, it is easy to identify the growing number of people who are seeking to conform to the narrow stereotypical and unrealistic beauty ideal.
This morning Lorraine Kelly (ITV’s Good Morning) interviewed record producer Pete Waterman OBE.
During the interview, we learned that a lack of variety and individualism is not restricted to beauty, but extends far beyond it and can be found in many sections of society. These include beauty, fitness, fashion, business, entertainment and the media in general.
Focussing in on the music industry, Pete Waterman said:
“The problem we have Lorraine is that we don't have anything else now. We have basically got two radio stations that dominate. There are no longer any independent stations.
There is no Saturday morning television, which is the way we dominated. There was Smash Hits and Top of the Pops on Saturday morning’s; these had 12 million audiences. Dare I say it; it was Twitter / social media of the day. You appeared on top of the Pops and everybody rushed out to buy your record the next day.
“Now because there is so much social media, people don't concentrate on what they have to do as artists. They have songs because people buy into the lifestyles of the stars. There are some great artists … but now they have a different way of doing it."
Pete’s words adds weight to my belief, based on many years of research, that physical appearance and the perceived lifestyle of celebrities are, for many, valued more highly than genuine ability and talent.
“At the moment", Pete continued, "I don't think there is enough variety which is a pity. I mean, the greatest thing about music is it's a very broad church and that there something for everybody. At the minute it seems to be very narrow”.
Sadly, it seems that the more we progress as a society, the more we choose to severely limit our choices, to the few that our culture has deemed to be the 'ideal'.
The pursuit of the ideal look or lifestyle can only have one outcome. It will stifle individuality and make our society poorer (less interesting and diverse).