Saturday, 3 April 2010

Skin deep

Beauty is a strangely intangible concept. What floats one person's boat might have the next onlooker dry heaving into their cupped palms.

It's also a constantly evolving concept, adapting to reflect other societal pressures and influences.

For instance, after decades of unattainable, cosmetically-enhanced hotties dominating the glossies, FHM tried to broaden people's minds by recapturing the magic of those 'girls next door' with its High Street Honeys campaign.

Like the grimly depressing 'Readers Wives' magazines that clog up the top shelves in your local newsagents, but without the hamburger shots, HSH makes a virtue of the kind of girls usually seen pushing a double stroller around Lakeside. Rather than airbrushed, many of these girls look like they've been given a good sand-blasting. Similarly, their make-up isn't so much artfully applied, as hurled from across the room.

But even the High Street Honeys look like candidates for the Paris catwalk, when compared with the hard-faced harridans gathered under the unpleasant banner of BNP Babes.

Profiled in a recent article in so-cool-it-hurts Vice magazine, the BNP Babes are a collection of low-res lovelies with the political beliefs of Enoch Powell and the collective intellect of an ASDA Bag-For-Life.

Deciding that the BNP should be hoisted by its own retards, Vice interrogated the girls' deeply-held and well thought out perspectives on issues of modern racial integration. The results were akin to asking a fourth-grade student to explain the motivations of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

Sample exchange: What first attracted you to the BNP?
I don’t know. I couldn’t really actually tell you. There were a couple of the sentences I agreed with. Basically about how immigrants are coming and taking people’s jobs and that.

Throughout their interviews, Rebecca, Jo and Helen happily play along, utterly oblivious to the fact that they're being ridiculed. Admittedly, most people would become suspicious when asked "Has anything amusing ever happened to you in connection with spoons?", but the girls gamely attempt to soldier on, even choosing between "Hieronymus Bosch or a Bosch electric sander?"

Aside from an alarming insight into our falling standards of education, the article portrays three girls who've been easily manipulated by more forceful personalities into adopting an ugly perspective on the world.

The problem is, education and dialogue is the only way to break through the culture of ignorance and misinformation that swells the BNP's ranks every day. Not pointing and jeering at these misguided young women, as they pout in their cheap underwear and drape themselves in the Union flag.

In the war on drugs, law enforcement agencies have two choices - punish the end-users, who are really just victims themselves, or go after the suppliers. I wonder whether maybe racism demands a similar approach.

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