Let me start off this post by apologising to any disgruntled Guns 'N' Roses fans that were misled by my blatant take on the iconic album "Use Your Illusion". Yes, all seven of you, I'm sorry. Now go cut your hair and grow up.
Just last week we all witnessed a part of history as the United States swore in their first African-American president. Sure, they sort of botched the whole oath taking bit, but the hard work of showing the world that any person irrespective of race or the colour of their skin can rise to any level in their society, even that of president, was done. Yes, in America, the land of opportunity, you can become anything. Surely, the world is becoming a better place.
As much as we'd like to say that every person has equal rights and opportunities, unfortunately the truth of the matter is the world is just not built that way. You see, in this our new found utopia, appearances still do matter. How else can you explain Anna Kournikova's super stardom, despite her lack of playing talent? Or the fact that Danica Patrick was already famous and successful before she won her first race in three years last April, thanks mainly due to FHM and Sports Illustrated? Then there are the Jonas Brothers. I had the misfortune to see a live show of theirs on TV, and I can only assume the horde of screaming girls all had tiny headphones that were playing good music, because they certainly weren't getting it from the stage.
Yes, appearances matter. And really, is that such a bad thing?
Think about it for a moment. Anyone that has ever been on an air plane would have noticed that flight attendants are always tall, slim and generally good looking. This provides the perfect platform for the 'other' women to say "Hey! We fat people have rights too! How dare they only hire slim girls??" How dare they indeed! You go girl! Fight for your rights to flight!
But wait a minute. Are they really hiring them simply because their body types are appealing to men? Or is it because if you aren't slender, you wouldn't be able to manoeuvre yourself and the food cart up and down the aisle without rubbing up against the unsuspecting aisle passengers? Ooh, the short people are protesting too? Sure, let's see you put luggage in the overhead bins when you stand at a towering 5 foot zero!
The same goes for men as well. You don't seem me throwing a fit because I'm only 5 foot 9 inches and hence pretty much automatically disqualified from pursuing a career in basketball. But no, the protest people probably would raise the VERY valid point that they should have a league for vertically challenged basketball players too. It's only fair. I can just imagine the millions of self-respecting men that would want to sign up for this kiddies league. Boston Celtics? No - I'm a Boston Leprechaun!
Then of course there is the whole case of the media. Ah yes, the media. Whenever there is something wrong or evil or slightly bizarre happening in the world, chances are that in some way you can lay the blame on the media's door step. Yes, the treadmill adverts show only super fit models on them, but that's because they want to SELL them. If an overweight person sees an ad for a treadmill with another overweight person on it, they'll immediately realise how absolutely ludicrous they would look on it and never even think of exercise again! Yes, fashion models need to look pretty; their ultimate goal is to sell what they're wearing, which may be a bit hard if you look like a cross between Tina Turner's grandmother and Gollum. Yes, receptionists need to look pleasant to the eye because who wouldn't like to be received by a charming person with a good smile? It's not personal, it's just business.
At the end of the day, perhaps the biggest illusion is that we can be whatever we want to be. Sure, let's fight against racism, sexism and all other forms of cultural and religious biases. But let's not get lost along the way and try to elect a Muslim pope.