I have always been comfortable with how I look.
Whilst I am no Delta Goodrem or Anna Heinrich, I am me.
A solid 7/10
Yes, I would benefit from losing a bit, or a lot, of weight. My eyebrows could be thicker (darn you eyebrow lady) and I should show more self-control with my foods. I should also wake-up earlier to do my makeup and be more frequent with my annual brushing of hair.
But that’s ok.
I am still content enough to give myself a wink in the mirror.
*You alright girl, you alright*
I have never questioned my aesthetic worth and the thought of drastically altering my appearance was foreign to me. Heck, I even wrote multiple blog posts about the value of appreciating different standards of beauty at Globalisation, Media Flows and the Illusion of Beauty. I have always been a great appreciator of beauty in its natural form.
With that said, you could only imagine the looks on my mother’s and boyfriend’s faces respectively, as I toyed with the idea of undergoing various beauty procedures. My mother gave me a look of concern. A look that epitomized ‘you are a stranger to me’. My boyfriend on the other hand insisted that ‘I am the most beautiful woman on earth’, as he does in his endearing and impassioned plea for me to veer away from these choices.
I on the other hand, saw no wrong.
My motivation was not that I was unhappy with my look, instead I wanted to enhance my beauty through lip injections, feathered eyebrows, lifted/permed eyelashes, etc. After all, I merely indulge in a manicure and pedicure every fortnight. I felt like in comparison to other women, I wasn’t trying hard enough. I was too low maintenance. Too basic – in this generation, a cardinal sin.
I continued to scower the internet and debate whether I was willing to risk a botched procedure for perfectly plump lips, whether I was willing to risk painfully unnatural eyebrows for a beauty fad that might not last. I thought I was ready and willing until my partner, who is usually genuinely the most accommodating and supportive person, sent me a frustrated message questioning where did this desire come from?
I couldn’t answer.
I appreciate that undergoing procedures is a deeply personal thing. No one should hold you accountable for your decisions, but his question struck a chord with me.
There is nothing wrong with me.
I was always happy being me.
I have two eyes to see, working limbs and as I know, my body is healthy – a lot more than others who are less blessed can say.
This is what I find worrisome.
With all the hype around the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge and lip fillers, the western world is beginning to accept and perceive face altering procedures as the norm. Whilst women (and men alike) should rightfully have bodily autonomy and not be criticised for their decisions, I question whether we are unduly pressuring young people to believe that they are not good enough without injecting, cutting, lazering or tattooing themselves?
Big lips aren’t anything new, whether they’re natural, surgically altered or a product of clever makeup skills. That young people and others now see this as a feature worth copying when it’s on Kylie Jenner’s face sends a message about whose bodies are valued versus whose bodies aren’t.
Forgive me if I sound like a prude, which I honestly am not, but there is cause for alarm when the administering of lip injectables are trending on Instagram.
Power to you if that’s what you’re all about.
I do not judge you or think any differently of you. Choosing to undergo a semi-invasive treatment is a choice you make to feel better about yourself. My real qualm pertains to everyday lay-beings, being held to the standard of semi-artifical beauty that historically only celebrities and movie stars attained. The million dollar industry question is – are cosmetic procedures being normalised for young people?
Overwhelminly, I attribute this change in culture to the experiences and beauty standards of the minority, being aired on social media with overwhelming support. The likes of beauty bloggers and lifestyle queens (and kings), such as Chloe Morello and Lauren Curits, who are drastically altering their look and speaking openly about it. These influencers often attain their noteriety for their aesthetic and the subsequent beauty advice they provide. I do however, appreciate the honesty of few who share their honest experiences with their following, such as Lauren Curtis’ lip injection experience. By transerantly sharing the highs and lows of the overall experience, the vast majority of people influenced to undertake this procedure are prompted to consider the risks thoroughly.
At the end of the day, all I can provide you with is this; you are unique and beautiful, irrespective of your uneven skin pigment, or over-plucked eyebrows, the unwanted hair and/or your thin lips. There is a distinct beauty in everyone, even if you do not conform to generic standards of beauty.
Whether you choose to alter that beauty or not is an inherently person choice – but never forget that you are so much more than your appearance. This is what I needed to hear when flippantly considering semi-invasive beauty enhancement procedures.
Don’t try to be some Instagram star.
You be you.
God knows, no one else can.