By society’s standards, I’m not beautiful. I have curves in all the wrong places. My hair often resembles something out of a horror film, instead of a Pantene commercial. And my style, which can only be described as lazy girl chic, consists of sweats and no makeup. Obviously, I’m a far cry from the photoshopped perfection that graces the cover of every magazine.
Yet, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not a photoshopped beauty. I’m real – stretch marks, laugh lines, frizzy hair and all. And I’m beautiful in my imperfection.
Society has trained us to think that there is only one standard of beauty, one absolute truth. But that standard fails to recognize the diversity across the globe. There are so many body types, skin colors, facial features, and fashion styles that are waiting to be recognized.
There is no one way to be beautiful. There are many.
While we do often rage against the images of perfection all around us, we still tend to fall victim to the limitations that society’s beauty standards have set. So we primp in the pursuit of beauty.
Almost every surface of our bodies are shaved, waxed, and plucked to a smooth like perfection. Every blemish is concealed with makeup and every grey hair with dye. A few pounds are contoured off our faces, while eye shadow is used to widen our eyes. False eyelashes provide that flirty fluttering look. And rosy cheeks offer a gentle glow. These days, even a natural look takes makeup.
Once our faces are expertly painted, the real fun begins. We wiggle into Spanx to contain any flab. And shove our breasts into bras specially designed to not only add a couple of cup sizes, but to make them stand up at attention. After all, we have to make sure our curves are in the right places. The final piece to the beauty puzzle comes in the form of 3 inch stiletto heels that will leave our feet throbbing for days. But, damn if they aren’t cute and make our calves look awesome!
It may take us hours to do what Photoshop can do in minutes, but all’s fair in the pursuit of beauty, except when a woman dares to leave her house without primping to perfection. Then she’s attacked for looking too tired and unattractive. If she refuses to remove every single stray hair on her body, she’s a gross hippie. If she doesn’t follow the current fashion trends, she’s frumpy and a candidate for What Not to Wear.
Why do we rally against the airbrushed representations of women, but turn around and attack those who choose to embrace their natural beauty? If we hold all women to the rules of high heels and makeup, we are only reinforcing the standards that we are trying to change in the media. We are narrowing the definition of beauty to one set standard and dismissing all the other forms of beauty around us.
So instead of attacking other women, encourage them. Praise that fashionista for her amazing style. Or give that girl props for embracing her natural beauty. Don’t let the media rob you of your ability to see the beauty in the world around you. Embrace it. Love it. Live it.
Be your own kind of beautiful and let everybody else be theirs.
What does beauty mean to you? Do you enjoy primping or are you of the lazy variety like me?