A local celebrity, if you can call him that, was ‘unveiled’ to the public not too long ago, to mixed reactions from the Internet. Why? Because he is now the result of the Cosmetic Surgery to End All Cosmetic Surgeries for Men. Here’s what I’m talking about.
While I generally ignore 99% of all celebrity-related issues in this country, I couldn’t let this pass. The kid’s transformation (if you clicked the link above), unfortunately, forgets the answer(s) to a very important question young men and women need to ask of themselves everyday.
What message are you trying to send to the world?
Note: This article is likely to be an unpopular opinion. I have nothing against the person, only against the message his actions are sending to young men and women in this country.
I first encountered this question two years ago, as I became a subscriber to Antonio Centeno‘s YouTube channel, Real Men Real Style. The question has since become a big part of my personal philosophy, especially with my not-so-secret drive for constant self-improvement and living an inspired and inspiring life.
The way that I interpret this question is, “Am I influencing the world’s opinions of me in a positive way, in the way that makes me a better person than I was yesterday?”
It is an important question. And it’s a comfortable bet to say that the person who does not care about the question’s meaning is being untruthful to some extent.
So here’s the big problem with Marlou Arizala’s transformation: while it somewhat addresses his personal insecurity issues, I don’t believe for one second that he truly understands the magnitude of the negative message he is sending out to his audience, young men and women across the Philippines.
Don’t tap out.
He said that, “…this was my goal. To change myself.” The desire to change, by itself, is not wrong. We’d be hard-pressed to find someone who did NOT want to change something about himself/herself.
Reports say that he was bashed a lot online, bullied for the way he looks. “How dare you become a member of a boyband?“, the Internet seemed to scream at him. Maybe the pressure got to him, in his head. That’s a bad place for ‘bad pressure’ to be in.
So he lay down on a table, and let surgeons ‘fix’ him.
Only that they didn’t. Not really. They changed the way he looked, and that’s about it. His personality (supposedly), natural abilities and talents, background, real friends, family – these will never change. These cannot be altered by a surgeon’s hand, no matter how skilled that hand may be.
It was the easy, and the least inspiring, way out.
And this is what makes me terribly sad about the situation. Marlou Arizala did not take the opportunity to send a wonderful message to the world: that inspiring transformation is about grit, self-discipline, willpower, and most of all, hard work.
We are inspired by tales of dramatic weight-loss because we KNOW how difficult it is to get up at 5am in the morning, to limit ourselves to a couple of meals a day, or to get measured by the cold, undignified touch of fat callipers.
We are inspired by stories of rags-to-riches, because we KNOW how it feels to have an idea rejected after sleepless nights of thinking, or wait weeks for a job offer that will never come, or the mountain of bills our salaries seem to never stop paying for.
We love inspiring transformations because, whether we say it out loud or not, we feel that there is hope – that we can do that, too!
Not this ‘transformation.’ This was a crime of failure.
It has failed to note that in this day and age, talent and ability are democratised for all by technology and connectivity.
It has failed to remember that he inspired kids simply by ‘making it’ through sheer effort and perseverance – despite how he used to look.
It has failed to see that he has set impossible standards (financial means, for one) for kids with insecurities to overcome their fears.
It has failed to support the movement for ‘substance over style’, when many are fighting against the limited and racially-charged standards of beauty peddled by the media.
And worst of all, this ‘transformation’ has failed to send a positive message to the world. That he, the person, was beyond how his face looked.
In one live-on-TV unveiling, young men and women across this country were told that ‘changing themselves’ was as easy as one-two-three – to the tune of sur-ge-ry.
Marlou tapped out.
- “Ex-Hasht5 member Marlou Arizala unveils new look, new name.” (2017, October 1). Rappler.com
- Pena Cruz, R. (2017, September 25). “Who was Marlou Arizala before he became Xander Ford?” Pep.ph
- Pineda, DLS. (2017, October 7). “Xander Ford and the unbearable lightness of showbiz.” Lifestyle, Philstar.com
Featured image from pexels.com