“America the Beautiful”: Why beauty is out of control.

You’re reading the About-Face blog, so I’m gonna guess that you’re interested in the various messed-up ways women and girls are portrayed in media, and how it can really damage our self-esteem and self-respect. Well, now there’s a movie about it! It’s the new documentary “America the Beautiful,” and you should really go see it.


I saw the documentary last night in San Francisco, and I almost lost my s*&# watching the editors of Elle Girl and Seventeen magazines talking about how they need to show the thin body ideal only, or they’re “out of a job.” Really — no care for the fact that you are contributing to eating disorders, self-hatred, and general depression in young women? And the answer: No, really, none at all.

Statue of Liberty with markings for cosmetic surgeryAnd then there’s Gerren, a 12-year-old model whose mother lets her wear next to nothing on the catwalk, but won’t let her wear a bra to school because she doesn’t think it’s appropriate. Through my work with About-Face, I’ve spoken to more moms than I can count who give their daughters the very same mixed messages.

There are just so many pertinent, poignant bits in this film, one being that the whole thing flows really well and nails the problem of our culture’s beauty obsession in a way that no somewhat-smart woman can deny. And two being that it’s an African-American man who made the film and who includes many other African-Americans who truly have something to say.

If you look carefully, you’ll spot two About-Face posters in the film! (I wish About-Face had been around to be in the movie!)

Really, I could go on and on. But I won’t.

Bring your mom, bring your friends, bring your sister. Hey, bring your brother. Cuz guys need to know this stuff too. (Plus there are quite a few bits about men and their body image too.)

I saw the film in San Francisco, where it opens at the new Sundance Kabuki on Friday. Click here for other theaters throughout the nation.

Take Action:

1) See the movie! Bring your people! Click here for theaters throughout the nation.

2) E-mail the filmmaker, Darryl Roberts, about why you appreciate the movie so well (even if you haven’t seen it yet).

3) Call or walk into your local theater and ask them to show this film.

4) Comment on the online or print articles about this film (including this one), singing its praises and adding to an intelligent debate.


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