In today’s day and age the pressure to be beautiful is more palpable than ever. In a world full of girls that idolise the likes of the Kardashians who snapchat their every nip and tuck (who else feels like they know Dr Ourian?) , it seems as though young (and the less young) women feel like they no longer have to be comfortable with who they are, they just need to make enough money to alter their features into what society is dictating is deemed beautiful. I’ve seen girls, none celebrities, who have gone through a multitude of procedures in order to feel better about their looks. I understand plastic surgery, I really do, I would never judge anyone willing to have it, however we aren’t talking about just that, we are talking about everything else that now goes hand in hand with a good makeup kit as part of a bi monthly beauty routine.
Teeth whitening, adult braces, lip fillers, roaccutane for a few spots (I’m talking girls that have 90% perfect skin but still choose to go on this severe drug), laser hair removal, shellac manis and pedis, blow dries and balayage.
I sometimes feel like I’m somewhat lazy, I never wore my retainer after two years of braces when I was 14 and so my teeth aren’t as perfect as they could have been, teeth whitening freaks me out, I have adult acne that flares up and down continually but roaccutane is something that scares me, ditto laser hair removal. Lip fillers also confound me, why would you want to look like everyone else? I’m now drawn towards women with thinner lips purely because they look more natural, comfortable with themselves and seem more secure. I have vowed to not get my hair blow dried again as I prefer the job that I do on myself (but never say never hey) and in terms of hair colouring I’ve had one too many disaster, now I only use Redken Shades EQ to counteract brassiness from old highlights gone wrong. And yet even with my aversion to all of the above I sometimes catch sight of myself in my car mirror in stark daylight and think “I really should have blitzed this acne and gone on roaccutane”. Or I’m out and about at a Summer barbecue and catch sight of my hairy arms and think “I really should look into the cost and health risks of laser hair removal”. Or when I’m applying my lipliner for the umpteenth time that day to even out my top lip “daymn lip fillers would be less time consuming”. And then I stop that dangerous train of thought, I get the f*ck off Instagram and away from the hypnotising world of size 4 Russian girls with incredibly well oiled abs in perfect bikinis with amazing thick (most likely extensions) hair, with the perfect full perky boobs, plump lips, always awake looking eyes (eyelash extensions – tried those twice, both times they made my eyes itch like crazy and took out most of my natural lashes with them – not hot) and crystal clear skin and look at myself and thank my lucky stars that I didn’t get swept up in that world.
Without my hairy arms, 80% perfect teeth, skin that goes up and down and all over the place what would make me me? We would be identikit barbies living in a land where we have to pay through our noses and put up with painful procedures to conform to the Instagram ideal of beauty.
Instead, I’m celebrating natural beauty, charisma, a sense of self, no one is saying that all self grooming should go out the window, but I think a low maintenance approach is the way forward. Nails can look uber chic clean and bare, there’s no need to sculpt and strobe your face into oblivion or stick needles in your lips to make them look like Kylie Jenner’s. I predict a change, and a wave towards natural beauty and a celebration of being comfortable with what you’re born with, even at the AW16 MAC trends presentation they were championing a move away from lipliner and contouring. I know that I’m an attractive woman and I vow to never let myself feel insecure again.
Footnote: If you enjoy having all of the above procedures then good on you, I’m not judging anyone. Feminism should be about doing whatever the hell you want with your body! This is a personal struggle of mine and relating to me and myself only.