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This poem applies to adults as well as children. It is about superficial beauty. Depending on the society, certain physical features are accepted (endorsed and ‘passively’ accepted) as beautiful. Typically, these are things like symmetry and athletic or curvaceous (females) body types. And although beauty is subjective, there are clearly certain types of beauty that dominate because media, artists and advertisers endorse iconic images that many passively accept as “essential” or the best idea of beauty.
The “same song” means that both of his children have been affected by this anxiety of living up to society’s “majority rule” of physical beauty. It is also a "same song," because this is a recurring historical situation. Both children “frown” despite their best efforts. The images of beauty that bombard us (via media, art, internet, etc.) are impossible to live up to. This is certainly true in the age of air brushing and Photo Shop, but it has always been the case, especially with external beauty, that people go to great lengths to live up to these impossible standards. The pursuit of external beauty is bound to affect the child or the adult psychologically unless he/she can accept the superficiality of it all.
Pat Mora examines the themes of physical perfection, beauty, angst, imperfection, and superficiality throughout the poem "Same Song." In the first stanza, Mora portrays how her twelve-year-old daughter puts on makeup and does her hair at the beginning of the day. However, Mora's daughter feels disappointed after seeing her reflection in the mirror. In the second stanza, Mora describes how her son continually lifts weights and exercises but also feels disappointed when he looks at his reflection in the mirror.
As was mentioned in the previous post, Mora explores the pressure adolescents feel to live up to society's expectations of physical beauty. Both the teenage boy and his younger sister feel that their appearances are insignificant compared to what the media deems beautiful. This poem also rings true for adults who are subjected to society's same pressures regarding beauty. Striving for physical perfection is a losing battle, and one is bound to feel disappointed if they attempt to live up to society's superficial standards.
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