How did I visualise beauty? – great skin, great hair & a perfect body.
This is an ad I have seen in many magazines & this is the kind of hair I wished I had.
The truth is my hair is neither this thick or this long. It does not look so put together & instead is frizzy & curly. I did know that Kareena did not have this hair but what the hell?!
There was no particular celebrity I had in mind for perfect skin but these magazine covers gave me an ideal to aspire for.
This was the kind of abs I was looking at. Again, nobody in mind.
Last year, I had an attack of pimples near my mouth & chin & I just kept getting more of them. I was literally in tears because I never had a pimple attack even when I was a teenager. Nothing was making them go away. I was comparing my skin with so many girls here. They all appeared so fair in photos in Facebook next to me & their skin was never ever oily at the end of the day. And yes, they all had rosy cheeks. Why couldn’t I have skin like that?
The reality was everybody was wearing makeup. At the moment when my skin was in bad shape, all I could see my pimples, my pores, my facial hair, my dull complexion. I was blind to the fact that they had obviously different skin colour in the face & the neck. I used to wonder why I never had rosy cheeks and they did. I contemplated buying BB cream because it promised perfect flawless skin. Maybe, it would work on my skin & I would be like them.
Time passed and my skin has gotten better. I really worked at getting rid of those pimples. Maybe I just needed to give it some time to clear up. I used to observe the skin of people around me. Others also, did not have perfect skin, just like me. Everybody has this pressure to look perfect. I have seen some people I know like 1 time without makeup in 2-3 years. When I saw them without makeup, I realised my skin was not so bad after all! I could not believe what a world of difference make up could make. Sometimes, it was like seeing different people.
Upon reflection, it amazes me how much of the images about beauty I had internalized, though I was completely aware of Photoshop, surgery & Botox on a certain level.
Have you ever noticed, how when every celebrity is asked about the secret to their ‘glowing skin’, they attribute it to exercise & diet. Not that I deny the role of these 2 components but to attribute it to their wrinkle free skin at 60 is stretching things too far. Nobody loses their hair. Nobody has any scars after c-section.
Most articles attribute Rekha’s “timeless beauty” to yoga & proper care. What about Botox, make up & surgery?
I do not have much of a problem if people want to wear makeup but I think the pressure to be always made up & perfect is so intense & it gets into everybody’s head. I don’t see a point in pretending to be somebody with perfect skin and hair when you don’t & setting unachievable standards for everybody else. Most celebrities do not want to admit to the truth & make everything seem effortless & natural. On top of that, most media articles about them also do not talk about their treatments.
It is disappointing when women who tell you to accept ‘feminine wisdom’, ‘aging’ & how everything can be set right by ‘affirmations’ and healthy habits resort to facelifts/ botox.
The message you get is that you don’t have a healthy enough lifestyle or not thinking positively enough if you cannot look as good as them.
It is frightening on what we have come to accept as normal standard of beauty & the kind of beauty standards I aspired for. I understand that the media needs to keep us dissatisfied, so that we can buy products et al but was I not setting myself up for failure when I accepted their standards?
I have become more aware. Lately when I check myself out in the mirror, I have noticed that my skin or hair is not that bad after all. Actually, it is great! I have stopped setting unachievable standards for my body. Remind me to check photos of celebrities without makeup or Photoshop, should I forget.
Til then, here is to self acceptance.