January 15, 2014

Definitive Lines

"Society's obsession with visible collarbones and hipbones and thigh gaps is quite ridiculous. The only person that should see that much of your bone structure should be your orthopedist." 
As I was taking my makeup off the other day, I studied my reflection in the mirror and thought "Well there goes my confidence." And then I literally stopped what I was doing and thought about what I had just said to myself and where that statement even came from. What is society and the world doing to girls that we think makeup should equal confidence? So I did a little digging in my brain, observed some of my peers, and formulated a few theories.

In the first place….makeup products are being marketed at younger and younger groups of girls. Soon enough babies will emerge from the womb wearing makeup. Okay, maybe not that young. But these new "Barbie" and "Bratz"-endorsed makeup products are teaching young girls that their looks are the most important thing. That little girl in the screenshot from a makeup tutorial on YouTube? Yeah, she's six years old and already finds herself qualified enough to post a how-to-apply-makeup video on the internet. When I was six I had crayons, a coloring book, and my playground outdoors. I didn't even know what YouTube was! The mere fact that she knows how to apply makeup correctly is a perfect demonstration of my point.

Then, we always seem to come back to this don't we?, there are the airbrushed pictures of faux-'perfection' that are, quite literally, everywhere. My second point is an old sentiment: beauty is in the eye of  the beholder. Let me put this another way….if you find Zac Efron really super hot, like the hottest person on the face of the Earth, good for you! But if your friend doesn't….that's alright too, isn't it? It's the same with how beautiful girls consider themselves. If they look at themselves and see a realistic picture of what they think beauty looks like, they're sure to have confidence that shines from the inside and makes them 2x as beautiful as the fakers. If you can recognize your own beauty, you'll have the confidence that grabs other people's attention and lets them know you're beautiful, even though their opinion shouldn't matter anyway.

But it's not just print media….I wasn't lying when I said the pressure to look 'perfect' is everywhere. Even music is taking this own, most evident in music videos of late, and even more prominent in songs such as "Pretty Girl Rock" by Keri Hilson. Now, I actually like this song because I interpret it as an anthem celebrating the way every girl is pretty. However, I also recognize that lots of other girls don't see it this way, seeing it as more pressure to look Hollywood-ready. Listen to the song and make your own judgements, this is just one example of the thousands of songs out there pressuring young girls to look "perfect" and "hot". (*cough* "Work B*tch* by Britney Spears would be a good place for you to start *cough*)

I also am questioning the motives as to why looking this one way is considered "beautiful" by our sick society. It hit me when the two boys sitting next to me on the bus today decided to watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Now, understand that this is not an attack on VS or any of their affiliates, I proudly wear VS products and really like the fact that their models are on their way to looking and acting normal, as opposed to the anorexic, skinny robots that "high fashion" employs. However, it was while watching the boys so entranced by these long-legged Angels that it hit me: women and girls are coached to be hot, and gorgeous, and skinny, and have thigh gaps for one reason: primal instinct.

Let me explain….it's a concept that was explained to me by my well-meaning yet mis-guided step-mother Laura (aka Jenny). We were in the car one day and she started lecturing me about why I am supposedly attracted to guys in Porsches more than guys in minivans, how I will be more inclined to love someone with bulging muscles instead of a shrimpy exterior, forget the interior. It was all I could do to keep from bursting out into a mixture of tears, laughter, and starting to lecture her myself. According to our "genetic structure", women are more attracted to hot, wealthy guys because subconsciously it tells us that they can better care for our children. Um….I don't know about you, but I find myself falling for a mind and a personality way more often than just an empty shell of a body. But that may be just me.
"I'm not interested in being the skinniest girl around. I have a big personality, a twig body just couldn't handle that." 
My whole, entire point? Change what you want about yourself because you want to, not because society tells you to. AND….Perfection comes only with the realization that you are, in fact, beautiful on your own. And yes, I mean at all times. Not just when you're all dolled up and ready to go out. You are so incredibly beautiful when you are sitting cross-legged on your bed in old sweats, hair in a messy bun, no makeup, gorging on peanut butter M&M's. You are beautiful when you're laughing with your friends at lunch, not caring about who might be staring. You. Are. Beautiful. Without makeup, without the latest skin product or straight-hair gimmick. And please, don't forget it.


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