A Note On 2016 Beauty Standards

 

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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.

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38 Comments

  1. Bella
    August 11, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I think the beauty standards imposed on women – young women especially – is almost a glass ceiling. For example, if I got fortnightly blowdries, manicures/pedicures, facials, tanning, brow waxing/ tinting, teeth whitening, expensive gym membership etc, I would never be able to afford to ever travel, to ever have fantastic experiences, eat great food, pay education expenses etc. I feel sad when I see some young girls paying all of their wage towards beauty treatments because they are influenced by unattainable Instagram standards. Through time and experience, I think this desire is slowly mitigated, but it is frustrating to see the opportunity cost of these procedures.

    It is important to feel confident, but (like you emphasised) being happy with what you have will be the most important lesson to learn.

    • August 11, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      Exactly, I think making the most of yourself is obviously important if that’s what you desire – I’m all for a great foundation and good skincare. It’s the added pressures that make us girls who don’t partake feel almost like they have FOMO – it’s a worrying path. I think celebrating our flaws and imperfections only make us more beautiful! X

  2. Antonia
    August 11, 2016 / 11:21 am

    While reading your blogpost it felt like someone had written down my own thoughts. I can only agree on this 100% and I am proud of you for having your own opinion and sharing it. Keep up your amazing work Tijan you are my favourite xx

    • August 11, 2016 / 9:59 pm

      Thank you Antonia for your kind words! xxx

  3. Bella
    August 11, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    Bravo!! I’m totally with you here.

  4. Esther
    August 11, 2016 / 6:15 pm

    Hurrah!!! Thank goodness someone with a voice on social media speaks some darn common sense!! I totally agree with you.

    Its frightening where this world is heading with the impact on girls thinking they need to appear perfectly beautiful and is sucking in a younger age group day by day!!

    Nothing wrong with beauty processes I myself get waxed, get my hair coloured and nails occasionally done, but to live obsessively by ‘Instagram’ images and think that’s how we need to appear 24, 7 is not realistic, its exhausting, self absorbing and bloody expensive as well.

    Love your ethos Tijan xx

    • August 11, 2016 / 9:57 pm

      Thank you Esther! I totally agree with you – it seems to be getting worse by the day and girls as young as 10 are looking up to women who constantly do all of the above to maintain their “beauty”. I of course agree that hair colouring and waxing/manicures shouldn’t go out the window!

      Thanks for stopping by xx

  5. August 12, 2016 / 12:26 am

    I’ve been ranting to my friends about “Instagram beauty” recently. I just came back from a trip and there were women there of all ages, with classic “IG procedures” that would probably look lovely in a 2D pic, but alarming when viewed in person – especially in profile. Mainly eyelash extensions and lip injections. I would never want to ridicule anyone’s appearance or beauty choices- but it just felt a little sad that people might think this is the new norm they have to keep up with. But at the same time, I’m a bit torn because if these procedures help them feel more beautiful and confident in themselves , then it’s none of my business…

    • August 12, 2016 / 9:26 am

      I think it’s a really fine line. The problem is when people go through multiple procedures – boob jobs, lip injections, botox in their 20s, constant hair and lash extensions, heavy makeup, laser hair removal etc etc – it is not only cripplingly expensive but painful but in some cases detrimental to overall health (both physical but mental too). And then there’s the rest of the women who don’t succumb who on one hand feel superior for not partaking, but also a growing amount are feeling insecure about their looks because they don’t resemble a Disney princess cartoon. I was careful not to sound too judgy in the post as I would hate for a woman having any of that done to think that I’m ridiculing, but at the same time I felt like if a girl like me who has always had a weird fascination by those procedures could read this and feel empowered by her natural beauty – flaws and imperfections included – then that is what’s more important. Thanks for joining in the conversation 🙂

      • August 13, 2016 / 6:15 am

        Agreed – I love that you wrote this – and I think your tone was perfect – the post doesn’t sound judgy at all. And I get you with the weird fascination with procedures – I love looking at before and after pics and seeing the transformations! But when it comes to my personal transformation – I prefer sticking with less invasive measures (good skincare and facial exercises). And I also might own every lip plumping balm that was ever invented lol!

  6. August 12, 2016 / 1:03 am

    Hi, Tijan! I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the more thought-provoking content you’ve posted recently. This post and your note on personal style are some of my all-time favorite posts of yours. I appreciate that you actually have an opinion, put thought and work into your blog, and showcase your personality beyond what you wear. Keep it up, please!

    • August 12, 2016 / 9:26 am

      Thank you Erin, what a lovely comment. I prefer writing articles as opposed to just a few sentences about my outfits so I’m glad you appreciate them 🙂 Plenty more coming! xx

  7. Nancy Ranner
    August 12, 2016 / 5:17 am

    Such a wonderful post. I tend to be drawn to those with a natural appearance and unique style. So sick of the conformity of today’s society. I do partake in numerous self grooming activities (love to pamper myself, make-up, spas etc) but I only ever do something because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good. I refuse to inject my thin-ish lips and I can deal with my okay teeth. Not perfect, but they’re me! Love your personal style and sincerely Tijan. You have a beautiful family and it’s great to see the strong bond you have with them. Xx

    • August 12, 2016 / 9:30 am

      I totally agree. I enjoy tonging my hair and wearing lovely outfits. I do it solely for me though and not for anyone else. I think a whole generation is really losing a sense of self with the constant rise of social media platforms, it’s important to celebrate individual thought, style and looks today more than ever!

      Thank you for a lovely comment xx

  8. Gaya
    August 12, 2016 / 9:06 am

    I loved this Tijan and couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your brilliant posts. Have a nice day! xx

    • August 12, 2016 / 9:30 am

      Thank you Gaya! I’m so glad you enjoyed!

      Tx

  9. Megan
    August 12, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    Love this post, it’s exactly what I have been thinking this past while. I love your blog /YouTube Tijan 🙂 x

  10. August 12, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    Thank you for this post! I wish more girls agreed sadly. Girls I know, not long out of high school are now getting regular lip fillers, their make-up and hair done each weekend before night out and constant teeth whitening. Girls asking their parents for a boob job for their 21st (really!) There is a fine line between fixing something that makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin but it seems too easily available that they have no consideration of the risks.

    Love this post!! x

    • August 20, 2016 / 5:22 pm

      It’s really sad. Fixing something that makes you unhappy is one thing but a quest for perfection will never lead to happiness!

      Thanks for joining the conversation Michelle! x

  11. Claire
    August 12, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this post Tijan -surprising as most you tubers tend to be all about the ‘unobtainable’ and less about embracing natural beauty which we need to be reminded of in this day an age -everywhere we look there is so much pressure to look a certain way- hair removal, redness in the skin, hair long enough/thick enough, lips big enough, eyebrows thick enough, hair colour, hair removal (dangerous and costly!)… I will be bookmarking this page with the idea to revert back when i feel a little bit too consumed by the media/youtuber falsifications and over the top beauty – I mean lets face it there needs to be more articles like this out there for women no matter what age but especially young to remind themselves that really it is OK to be yourself, embrace your flaws! Will it ever stop – false eyebrows, hair removal, hair colour.. we will never really obtain what we need in order to be ‘perfect’!!

    • August 20, 2016 / 5:21 pm

      Thank you Claire, that’s precisely why I wrote it! To pen down my honest thoughts and as a reference point if I ever feel insecure or not glossy/groomed/perfect enough!

  12. Maureen
    August 13, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    I totally agree! I recently came back from a trip to LA. It was amazing how many people had botox. It makes everyone have a ‘sameness’ to their look, and frankly, when your skin and body are older, you still look older. As a 50+ woman, I hate to hear bloggers in their 20’s talking about aging!! Please!!! This is the time to enjoy carefree happy days! Your wrinkles will definitely get deeper, but embrace them and hope the lines are from laughter and not tears. I work in health care, and life has more serious problems than crooked teeth. As well, it is a privilege to get older! Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    • August 20, 2016 / 5:19 pm

      Hi Maureen,

      Yes that plastic look can actually more ageing! I totally agree that ageing is a privilege and there are so many more important things out there! Doesn’t mean we can’t still want to make the most of what we’ve got though and look and feel good, it just gets dangerous when it’s a quest for perfection!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment 😉

  13. Anita
    August 14, 2016 / 10:49 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I love it. We are all individuals and should embrace our difference. Why would I want to look like a plastic version of anybody else. I do try to look after myself but I do it just for me to feel good. Having moved to the Middle East, it has a complete obsession to look like something you’re not, the amount of really over the top, mainly facial plastic surgery, scares me that this is the accepted way that young girls are expected to look now, with every second of their life having to be instagram worthy is no way to live.

    • August 20, 2016 / 5:19 pm

      I totally agree Anita, thank you for joining in the discussion! x

  14. Louise
    August 14, 2016 / 3:05 pm

    I really enjoyed this post! Been such a big fan of yours! On a side note, where is that dress from? It looks STUNNING! xx

    • August 20, 2016 / 5:20 pm

      Thanks Louise! This was purchased from a market in the South of France a few years ago! x

  15. Rakhi
    August 15, 2016 / 9:50 am

    Wonderful post!

  16. Nicole
    August 16, 2016 / 12:51 am

    Oh my goodness! I loved this! I also needed this reminder. Thank you! Xo

    • August 20, 2016 / 5:20 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading Nicole 🙂

  17. August 26, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    Just love this post. In the last year or two I have felt more pressure then ever to just be a little bit better, to be a little bit more manicured. I feel like I am always catching myself thinking “What else can I do?” There are so many plastic-y perfect girls all over social media… It’s hard not to have these thoughts now & then and not feel insecure about what I do have. Very inspiring post though. It’s good to hear other girls feel this way too.

    http://www.kristenskouture.com | Luxury. Fashion. Lifestyle.

  18. Tracy
    August 27, 2016 / 9:42 am

    So true, yet I like to think that for every Kardashian-clone Instagram model, there are handfuls of weird crazy individuals letting their freak flags fly. Lena Dunham with her unmade face, that marathon runner that free bled throughout an entire race, the normcore pack, etc. It’s easy to assume that the population is getting superficial, but I hope that upon deeper inspection that’s not the whole story.

  19. Aisha
    September 7, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    Hi Tijan, I am a regular visitor to your blog and I love all your content mainly due to the fact you are fresh as well as your content and just all in all a breath of fresh air to not only this self absorbed world, but also social media!

    Thus post has just hit the nail on the head! – as they say. As I said above you are just a breath of fresh air and it is SO refreshing to come across someone who actually has an opinion and doesn’t follow the crowd- so to say. What you said was absolutely 100%.

    I feel in today’s world we focus more on appearance and materialistic substances and how success is measured upon how much money we have. How we need to match our success through our appearances and extravagent spenditure i.e expensive treatments such as laser hair, manus and pedis, lip fillers etc. The society we lived in today has become so conformed to social media, that it is like we need to or have to mirror what we see on social media. For e.g. Instagram. As much of a great these platforms of social media are, like everything it does also have its drawbacks. It is so sad to see young women, even teenagers looking up to these air brushed, gimmick fake ideals of what “beauty” is and how it should be measured. How filtered everything has become to a point where young girls and women question themselves and their appearances and how quickly and vastly insecurities are formed. It is incredibly sad how “beauty” is only measured by our appearances, whatever happened to educating ourselces, and how attractive and beautiful that is in itself.

    It’s sad how young girls look up so much to celebrities and want to idolise them so much to the point they would like to look like them and thus, go through these surgical procedures. Whatever happened to natural beauty and embracing who you are and your personality, I personally think that is more attractive than anything. Having an opinion, letting our personality shine and developing into our own person.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like wea ring the odd product of make up, I like presenting myself nicely, I take pride in what I wear which I think just makes a person who they are, which is my point-we can develop a being, we can look beautiful by doing just this. We don’t need to idolise or even go to great lengths for this idea of “perfection” that is simply relayed by the likes of Instagram. I am in no way saying Instagram is a bad place or anything, it’s great when used for the right purpose! I think we need to open our eyes, just breathe, take in our sorroundings, read more, learn, educate and uplift ourselves. Work hard-yes. Spend on meaningful things in life like creating memories, travelling and meeting new people and developing an alternate outlook on life. It’s refreshing, liberating and exciting. Isn’t that what life is about?

    Sorry for the long post, I hope I didn’t offend you or anybody else that reads this, and if I do in any way shape or form I apologise in advance.

    Once again, love you Tijan. Keep up the good work and I always look forward to your content and always will! Xx

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