A little over ten years ago, when I first traveled to the United States, it was plainly clear to me that I was entering a very different world from the one I have known. Even though I moved from one small village to another (sorry Athens, WV, but by most standards, you are a small village:), the atmosphere and people’s attitude convinced me I was not in Kansas (or Krasnovo) any more. Aside from the obvious surface-level differences, however, what truly made an impression on me was the obsession with material items, credit cards, and any kind of products for any kind of occasions and moods and even more, the preoccupation with “beauty” or what advertisers and the media tried to sell as beauty. The one thought on my mind was, I am so thankful I did not have to grow up surrounded by such messages! Don’t get me wrong, I did get my fair share of brainwashing messages about the specific roles of girls and such on an everyday basis, but at least no one was urging me to buy stuff to be happy.
Forward ten years later, and Bulgaria has not only reached America in its obsession with the ideal of beauty, but in my modest opinion, my fellow country-men (and women) have totally surpassed the attitudes of those in my adopted place of residence.
Multitude of media outlets now focus on the newest diets and the fastest ways to a sexy and toned body. The girls in high schools are more concerned about what’s the latest in fashion they need to buy and wear and less worried about tests and other school assignments. Often, when I go back and walk the streets of the city where I went to high school, all I see are girls in high heels and handbags (!) and no backpack with textbooks and notebooks in sight. And the saga does not end once they leave high school. There are plenty of websites with the newest fads when it comes to motherhood and what’s trendy in the stroller world. No matter at what stage in her life a woman is, she is bombarded with the best of the best of whatever products she is thought to need, desire, or without which she absolutely cannot live.
The number of products one “needs” has increased exponentially and there is no hope for the end of this obsession with the material world and outrageous notions of beauty. Meanwhile, greedy businesses try to take over what I consider true beauty in nature and focus on building new resorts so people have somewhere to go and show off their new possessions.
I am not sure if it is my recent attempt to read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld or my desire to view Bulgarian news online, but I am just fed up with this fixation on the idea of something perfect: the perfect look, the perfect job, the perfect life. I don’t know about you, but I have now developed the tendency to run in the opposite direction the moment someone mentions or offers a perfect something. Keep it to yourself, please!