It has been said beauty is only skin deep, but in our ever changing world, beauty is a growing priority and infinitely more possible with the right amount of money. In this edition of the Tough Things First podcast. Ray Zinn discusses the growing trend of paying for it, the virtue of aging gracefully, and should government be involved?
Rob Artigo: I’m Rob Artigo, entrepreneur and screenwriter. I am the guest host again for another Tough Things First podcast. Hi, Ray.
Ray Zinn: Hey, Rob.
Rob Artigo: And it’s good to be back. I read a stunning opinion article recently that was in Newsweek, and follow me on this. In Brazil, people are thought of as having a right, like we have a right to free speech in this country. In Brazil they have a right to beauty. So, in public hospitals, plastic surgeries are free or low-cost, and the government subsidizes nearly a half million surgeries every year. That just blew my mind. So, listen to this quote, from Alvaro Jarrin, he is the writer of this opinion piece. It says, “Plastic surgery can be a risky venture, yet these patients, most of whom were women, also told me that living without beauty in Brazil was to take an even bigger risk. Beauty is perceived as being so central for the job market, so crucial for finding a spouse, and so essential for any changes at upward mobility that many can’t say no to these surgeries.”
Ray, what is the danger of a society that begins to place such a high level of importance on appearance? What if this concept spreads, where you have the government going all right, we have to pay for plastic surgeries, so that you can look beautiful. And then what’s the ideal of beauty? To me, it’s so open ended that this one thing itself could bring down the economy of Brazil.
Ray Zinn: Well, Australia has the same philosophy-
Rob Artigo: Really?
Ray Zinn: -so it’s not just — yeah. So it’s not just Brazil. There’s other countries, Sweden. I can probably name five or six countries that have this similar philosophy. So the statement that beauty is only skin deep has a lot of meaning, because what’s inward is more important than what’s outward. Unfortunately, as they say, you can’t tell a book by its cover. But we do. We do make judgements based on what we see. If a person is not dressed coordinated or properly, if their hair is not cut or coiffured correctly, or if they’re wearing loose clothing that makes them look like a gang member or something. We do judge people.
And so, when people go to apply for a job, they’re always told to dress up. Okay, you know, look your best. And maybe that’s not true at all companies, but by and large the view still is that when you go to apply for a job you want to look your best. I know that recently, my wife and I were at the store picking up some stuff and we noticed a couple of these young teenagers that were, girls, that were getting ready for the prom. And they spent — I couldn’t believe it, we were at the cash register, they were spending $200 on stuff for cosmetics, and stuff they wanted to prepare themselves for the prom.
Rob Artigo: Wow, yeah.
Ray Zinn: And I had to ask one of them, “How much do you think you’ll have spent going to the prom?” She says, “Well, with the dress, I’m probably personally close to a thousand dollars.”
Rob Artigo: Wow. Oh, wow.
Ray Zinn: You know, when we got married, my wife — I don’t think she spent $200 getting ready for the reception, for our marriage. And these kids are spending close to a thousand just to go to a prom! So, you go to the beauty parlor, or the girls do, and they’ll spend a $100, $150. Get your nails done, cost you $40. And people are spending money on how they look. Just go down to the shopping centers and look at these kids and the money they’re spending for their clothes.
Rob Artigo: Well, what happens when the government gets involved and says, you have a right to that? So now everybody in the school, the government pays the thousand dollars for the prom dress and all the stuff they want, so they get that stipend. And now everybody’s equal because they get to have — what happens when the government starts paying for that stuff? How do you afford that?
Ray Zinn: Well, let me give you a little different bit.
Rob Artigo: Okay.
Ray Zinn: Recently I heard about, in New Jersey, there’s a mother complaining to the school that her daughter couldn’t make the cheerleading squad. And so the school board decided to make it available so that anybody who wanted to be on the cheerleading squad could be on the cheerleading squad. So, you didn’t have to have any particular training, you didn’t have to look any particular way. If you want to be on the cheerleading squad, you could be on the cheerleading squad. Of course, then the ones that were prepared and trained and did all that were upset because, we put all this money and time to win a position on a cheerleading squad, and now you’re letting anybody be on the cheerleading squad! It’s kind of like giving a college degree to somebody just because they asked for it. So the government is getting involved, whether it be in our country or other countries. And our country pays for abortions. So where do you draw the line? Brazil’s not the only country, as I mentioned.
Rob Artigo: Yeah. I mean, I’m not surprised that there are other countries that do this, I’m surprised by Australia. I’m sure I’d be surprised to see the list of the countries that do that, where they say — because, look. The government, the US government or your insurance carrier, will pay for your reconstructive surgery for after breast cancer. So they fix that, and that might involve implants. But it’s important reconstruction. This is stuff that’s part of a medically necessarily alteration, or fix, if you will. You know, if you got a burn and you need a skin graft, or your nose has been broken, they fix your nose so it’s not bent. Those are medically necessary, whereas these elective surgeries, just because you feel like you’re not attractive enough, to me it’s alarming because it makes me think of a future where we can decide — you mentioned the subject of abortion.
Let’s say, it’s not abortion, it’s aborting the children who aren’t gonna be perfect. So you abort the children that aren’t gonna be perfect, and then if you can select, I want the lighter skinned one, or the darker skinned one. I want somebody with straight hair, or I want blue eyes, or I want brown eyes, whatever the case may be. I think about where this mentality, beauty at all costs. Here’s an example: life, liberty, and the pursuit of beauty for my personal success, or personal happiness. Right. So, let’s change it so it’s in the pursuit of beauty, in the pursuit of my personal success. I think that it doesn’t bode well for the future.
Ray Zinn: Well, you know, remember back in the second World War, Hitler tried to have his own society called the Aryan society-
Rob Artigo: Yeah, master race.
Ray Zinn: -and, yeah, tried to breed the looks and so forth into these people. So this has been something that’s been ongoing for a long time, and when you selected your spouse, you looked at certain things, her beauty or her looks, her height, whatever. And you made a decision whether you wanted to marry her. And so, maybe in Brazil, they’re trying to give the girls more of a chance, as opposed to having some of these girls that because of their lack of beauty, at least in the eyes of the resilient mass. Wouldn’t marry them. And so, I don’t see anything wrong with that. If you’re gonna focus only on beauty, then of course you’re missing the better part of the light, because as you get older — and I’m definitely older — you start losing that tight skin and that suave look.
I mean, your hair turns gray and you get wrinkled, and you’re gonna be pretty sad in the future as you get older. By the time you hit 50, you’re gonna start aging pretty dramatically, and all that sculpting and cosmetic surgery you’ve done is really not gonna help you. And so, the best way to stay healthy and beautiful is just to take care of your physical body. Keep your weight down, take care of yourself with your vitamins and good night’s sleep, and having a good exercise program. That’s the way to really enhance your beauty.
Rob Artigo: I agree. The people that we’ve seen who are, oftentimes famous people, we see their faces all the time. And over the years as they get older, we start seeing them stretch out and start to look awkward. I think that the trouble that people have at any age when it comes to trying to correct their own personal perceived defects because they think it’s not beautiful, is they can’t fully understand what people see in them because they can be too critical of themselves. Human beings are, I know I am. I can be too critical of myself when I look myself in the mirror, and I don’t know. For example, I thought I was the ugliest teenager, and that nobody wanted to hang out with me. And I look back at the picture of me when I was a teenager and I go, wow, I was a pretty good looking kid. I wasn’t super popular and I didn’t have lots of girlfriends or whatever, but at the same time, I just didn’t have any confidence that I looked good. The thing is, who sets the ideal? And so what you’d be chasing is probably a distorted view of what you think beauty is.
Ray Zinn: Well again, the saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So we all look at beauty in a different way. I mean, the Polynesian people, some of the Polynesian people, believe that heavy women are beautiful.
Rob Artigo: Sure, yeah.
Ray Zinn: And then there’s some African tribes that put those big plates in their lips and they say that looks beautiful.
Rob Artigo: Right.
Ray Zinn: There’s some of the Asian culture that put those rings around their neck to stretch their neck out because they think that looks beautiful, or the tiny feet. The Chinese many years ago used to bind the children’s feet to make them tiny.
Rob Artigo: Ouch.
Ray Zinn: So anyway, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you just have to … mainly, as we talked about, have a good healthy diet. Get a good night’s sleep, exercise regularly. And just keep yourself as beautiful as you can without having to go for this cosmetic reconstruction.
Rob Artigo: Yeah. And people do age more gracefully when they don’t try to chase it with surgeries. I’ve seen some very beautiful people who you could tell over the years just didn’t get anything and they look great still.
Ray Zinn: Keep yourself healthy. Keep a good mental attitude. Your best solution for friends is just to be a kind, happy person.
Rob Artigo: Great advice, Ray. Thanks again.
Ray Zinn: Thank you.
Rob Artigo: Make sure you subscribe to Ray’s podcast, the Tough Things First podcast. And if you want to, you can contact Ray at ToughThingsFirst.com. You can also offer yourself as a host. We’ll set you up, we’ll take care of everything, we’ll make sure that you can hook up with a microphone and connect through our various methods for doing the communications. Pitch us a topic, and Ray goes through those. He reads those messages, and he’ll even answer your questions through email if you want to. So visit Ray at ToughThingsFirst.com, and you may also visit Ray at Facebook and LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter. Also check out Ray’s new book, “Zen of Zinn”. Thanks again, Ray.
Ray Zinn: Thank you, Rob.