February 3, 2011

What Is Beauty?

I just read an insightful and thought-provoking post on Primp and Preen which really got me thinking. And instead of writing an essay on her comments section, I thought I'd share my thoughts here. I'm not going to go into what Rosalyn wrote because I feel like this post will be long enough as it is, but definitely check out her post prior to reading mine to get a bit of background.

1. On boob jobs and cosmetic procedures

So a young woman named Yasmin on the show Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice receives a lot of unwanted sexual attention due to her J cup breasts. Due to this, she is considering elective surgery to reduce the size down to an E cup. I also know that Queen Latifah has had her breast size reduced because she was experiencing back problems. In this case, I can understand and would even agree with elective cosmetic surgery.

In some cases (maybe even most), people spend ages researching and considering the consequences of cosmetic surgery, which is how it should be approached. However, in other cases, their intense insecurity drives them to have procedures done to their faces that are just completely unnecessary!

See, my philosophy in life is this: if you're not enough without it, you will never be enough with it. If I can't be happy now then I won't ever be no matter how much weight I lose. I won't be happy even if I have smaller thighs or bigger boobs or a thinner face. The thing is, when you spend so much time focusing on your flaws, the moment you have them "fixed," you may feel good about yourself for a time. But I can guarantee that you will transfer all that focus onto something else and you'll find other things about yourself you'll want to change. The cycle will never end. 

2. On imperfections and the beauty industry

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, truly it is. And only we can decide if we will allow the beauty industry to dictate what beauty should look like. Yes, I'm not perfect. Yes, I have moments where I wish I was more this, less that, etc. But I've always been a bit stubborn and there's an inner rebel in me that likes to say, "I may not have long lashes, I may not have a deep crease in my eyelids, I may not have cheekbones that can cut granite, my nose may be flat, but you can't tell me I'm not beautiful!"

Now, if only I can think like that all the time... 

We will always have insecurities, but we must learn to manage them and not be a slave to our bodies. I don't want to be like that woman I read about on Sephora's blog that wakes up before her man to put her face on so he doesn't see her without makeup.

3. On being a beauty blogger

The reason I love makeup is because I love exercising my creativity, I love the process of researching and hunting for products, and I love testing and playing with them. I blog about it because I wanted an outlet to share my thoughts and because I've always loved writing. 

Again, there are days when I succumb to my insecurities. But has being a beauty blogger made me more aware of my flaws? I'd have to emphatically say, NO. In fact, it has actually changed the way I see myself. My brother always told me I had a skewed sense of self image. I'm the kind of person who won't bother trying something on because I'm convinced it would look awful. But how do you really know until you try, right? 

As a performer, I've been doing my own makeup for many years and was all about making my eyes look bigger. Ask any Asian about what she would like to change about her face and I'm confident the vast majority would want bigger eyes. They even have this special glue that will create a crease on your eyelids. I fell into that myself. But as I continued doing makeup looks for the blog and really looking at myself properly, I realized my eyes aren't actually that small and I don't need to go to such great lengths to create that illusion.

4. On wearing makeup

I wear makeup nearly every time I go out (unless I'm just running errands) and the amount I put on depends on where I'm going. The mall or lunch with friends? Foundation, blush, and eyeliner. Dinner or church? I'll probably add eyeshadow, contour, and mascara. Performance? The whole shebang, baby! This is when I bust out the false lashes and such.

I understand that makeup can boost confidence, I wholeheartedly agree. It's also a matter of wanting to put your best foot forward. I don't know about you, but I don't like looking like a slob when I go out of the house. Even if I'm wearing sweatpants, I still make the rest of me look presentable. 

Also, makeup is FUN! I love the process of figuring out which look I want to do and I love creating new colour combinations. I love being more adventurous with makeup and wearing bolder or brighter colours to suit my mood. Like fashion, it's an extension of myself; a way to express my personality without words.

But are there days when I can't be bothered? Absolutely! Do I feel horribly self conscious when I don't wear makeup? Definitely not! But I wasn't always like this. I think that as we grow older and we become more comfortable in our own skin, we begin to realize that we're more beautiful than we thought we were.

4. Says who?

To end this ramble of a post, I encourage you to do this. When the media or your peers suggests that you need to do this, be this, look like this in order to be beautiful, ask "says who?"

I mean, seriously. Who decides that this is how it's got to be in order to be considered beautiful? The fact is, the beauty industry and the media will always have its say and most of us will fall prey to it. And as I mentioned above, only we can decide if we will believe what they say or decide for ourselves that we're beautiful just the way we are.

What are your thoughts on any of the topics above?

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