This week, the Internet is abuzz with stories of Valeria Lukyanova who claims to be the most famous woman on the Russian-language internet as well as the world’s most beautiful woman. The 21 year old Ukranian girl is a “real life Barbie”.
With her porcelain skin, super skinny waist, huge boobs, long blond hair, high eyebrows, glassy blue eyes and a vacant stare, Valeria is as close as it has ever been to a real-life Barbie.
Valeria has received both adulation and criticism for her appearance. While for some, she is an inspiration, others claim she looks too artificial or like a plastic surgery gone wrong and still others accuse her of photoshopping her pictures. This was what she looked like before her surgeries and make-over:
In the How to Uncage a Girl poem ”sixteen: first time“, poet Franseca Lia Block writes of how shame about our own perceived imperfections comes early: he noticed a tiny hair growing near my nipple/ “you better do something about that,” he said/ i was so young/ too naive even/for tweezers/ but not for shame, of course that comes early
As young girls, we are initiated to the decades old modern ritual of playing with Barbie dolls and as we get older, for several women, the pressure to look like one mounts and we become way harder on ourselves.
Valeria (who for the record is exactly what I imagined the Veelas from the Harry Potter series to look like) has opened the floodgates to debate about a number of issues- unrealistic beauty ideals, lookism, cosmetic surgery and so on. One of the issues that struck me as not receiving so little attention was how little was said of her personality as distinct from just her appearance- something she herself has complained about: she is a trained Opera singer, a composer who has composed over 70 songs and is into astral travel. She also claims to be a rawfoodist who does not drink or smoke. She also has an Indian or South Asian connection of sorts- in fact according to her YouTube, she is currently in Bombay! Very often she is seen wearing a bindi and claims to be powered by prana.
Just as Lana Del Rey’s Botoxed lips or Adele’s being overweight receives attention that would have been expended on their music had they been more conventional looking, or Katrina Kaif’s beauty had the industry dismiss her as a serious contender for Bollywood superstardom, the Valeria Lukyanaova buzz throws up a lot of questions– do women have to blend in and conform to conventional standards be noticed? Do they have to chose between beautiful and intelligent or having a personality? Does a beautiful woman have to work harder to prove that she is intelligent or capable?
Valeria says something in her About Me page, that to me, is pretty revealing of her personal philosophy:
“A warrior cannot cry anymore, and the only expression of pain is the thrill that comes from somewhere from the depths of the universe, as if one of the emanations of the Eagle was a pain, and when it reaches the Warrior, the Warrior is infinite shivers. People’s actions do not affect the soldier, because he no longer has any expectations. A strange calm becomes the guiding force in his life. He took one of the concepts of life of the warrior-detachment.”
What probably haunts the world the most is that she gave it exactly what it asked for- an impossible standard of beauty so surreal it’s almost unreal, we simply can’t seem to accept that either!
Article by: Sharanya.
We’re dying to know what you think of Valeria post her Barbiefication! Let us know in the comments below.