Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Our Glamorous World

There's an old expression, probably from the British Isles, which used to describe somebody under the influence of a magic spell as being under "a glamour". This was used especially in instances of fairy, or the fae's, involvement.

This type of bewitchment usually involved the victim becoming so enamoured of some-thing or -body that they would eventually waste away to nothing on the human plane. There was nothing here that could compete with what the glamour offered.

Nowadays the word glamour is quite a bit more prosaic and is used as an adjective to describe a person, thing or lifestyle's affect on us. In some ways of course it still retains its connotations of casting a spell on the observer, as those who are glamorous affect their observers.

What exactly does glamour mean? According to my handy-dandy pocket Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, "glamour" (from the Scottish gramarye meaning magic power) is a noun meaning alluring charm or fascination. By extension glamorous means you have those attributes.

If one were to judge the word solely by those definitions it would be easy to consider it quite subjective. Like beauty, glamour should be in the eye of the beholder and individuals free to decide what holds sway over them.

But like beauty, our terms of reference for glamour are dictated by the limitations imposed by societal pressures. In North America our ideals our defined on a daily basis by movies, television and advertisers; we have specific magazines dedicated to telling us who and what are glamorous and why we should want to be like them.

For far too many people their notion of self-image revolves around the message that is delivered by these so–called repositories of the truth. Magazines like People, US, Vanity Fair, and Glamour are all dedicated to propagating the myth of the ideal lifestyle and physical image through their continual detailing of who and what define glamorous.

Not only are their primary content dedicated to the "stars" but the pages are awash with advertisement after advertisement preying on people's desire of becoming just like those featured in the article's pages. It's in this fashion that the lifestyles of the "stars" are made to be important, but even worse, painted as the ideal.