Yesterday I got wind of this news story about a Chinese government official who, at the last minute, decided to oust a 7 year old girl who won the chance to sing at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies for another 7 year old who was deemed prettier and would lip sync to the former's voice. The article spins this story to be an affront by the Chinese government: yet another totalitarian, communist move to make the Western world think that all is perfect and beautiful in their land.
I think it runs deeper in that. The judgment rendered by the Chinese government that physical beauty is better received than the beautiful voice of this 7 year old girl who competed and won the chance to sing is a reflection of Western culture as well. We see this same behavior in American pop culture all the time-from music to television to movies. We can criticize this Chinese official for being totalitarian, but in the end, we cannot ignore our dominant, consumeristic, "beauty" obsessed culture that leads people the world over to believe that a little girl with a full face and crooked baby teeth is not good enough. The messages received by the singer (your not pretty enough) and the lip syncer (your physical beauty is the better asset) at such a tender age will undoubtedly follow them beyond the Olympics.
When will we put the truth and the dignity of women, especially the littlest women, first?