Unobtainable Beauty Standards Are Too Much Pressure
Since the time of Cleopatra, and no doubt way before, we humans have painted our faces and bodies. Throughout each era we have coloured our hair and adorned ourselves according to what was considered beautiful, but now we are going too far! As a professional hair and makeup artists having worked for 30 years in the fashion, advertising and music industries, I felt it was high time that I write this article. I unequivocally believe that today’s unobtainable beauty standards are too much pressure for anyone to bear. We need to help each other navigate out of this minefield of Botox, fillers, plastic surgery and retouching apps.
Firstly, hats off to the cast of Emily In Paris! I just finished watching Season 2 and was delighted and also very surprised to see wonderfully expressive faces. It was rare and delightful to see wrinkles & brow furrows on all the female and male leads. It seems the French actors and Lily Collins don’t care for Botox and find expressive faces beautiful, which they absolutely are!
This is wonderful news, not just for those of us embracing out natural faces, but for animals too! Did you know that every batch of Botox is animal tested to the death to ensure its’ stability and safety. Read this Botox Not Safe, Not Cruelty Free
I have to admit, as I was watching the show with my 14 year old daughter, I did repeatedly comment on all the lines and wrinkles I was seeing on the actors foreheads. My daughter said, “but mum you hate the look of Botox!” I replied I know, but it is just so foreign to see a show where everyone’s foreheads actually move, but I love seeing this!
Body Dysmorphia has a new cousin Beauty Dysmorphia
As a 51 year old, mature aged mum of two, I am incredibly concerned for the younger generation, where the pressure to look perfect is seemingly only gathering more and more momentum.
How, unless you have oodles of money and spare down time, can the average person even afford to smooth and fill out every line and crevice in ones face, thicken and lengthen ones lashes, brows, hair and nails with extensions, while constantly keeping up ones fake tan year round? How can the average person afford to zap away fat and cellulite, implant boobs and butts, puff up lips, contour down their nose and hollow out their cheekbones? There is simply no way that most people will be able to meet the criteria of what is today’s overly excessive standards of what is considered beautiful. No wonder Body Dysmorphia is so huge now.
I attribute much of this to social media and the pull of shows like the Kardashians, along with the clever invention of phone app filters that not only airbrush faces to perfection, but allow one to change the shape of any body part they are not happy with before posting. These are tools that used to be only able to be done by highly skilled digital retouchers. This is not beauty reality, but pure deception.
Do I retouch my own portfolio of hair and makeup work on my Instagram page, yes sometimes I do, every artist does, but… I am so light-handed and very subtle and only retouch when absolutely needed. When I work, one thing I never do is make the person look unrecognizable and you will never see me overly reshape or hide someone’s face with heavy-handed contouring and coverage.
Even working in the industry, I myself do not wear much makeup if any. I never wear foundation. I show my lines, my freckles and my sun spots, as this is me. The only thing I do is colour my grey hair! I do this using Tints of Nature, as it is again more natural, vegan and cruelty free.
I remember saying to one of my friends who indulges in Botox, that I have never had Botox as it is animal tested, to which she replied without thinking, with not an ounce of malice, “I can tell!”
Around all my friends smooth faces and working in the industry that I do, it is hard not to succumb, but I stand strong on the stance of not wanting to hurt animals and trying to fight my own vanity, which is not easy.
If adults like me, are teetering on the brink of being swayed, then how on earth are younger people meant to navigate this world of unobtainable beauty standards. Body Dysmorphia is massive and I believe it now has a new ugly cousin, called Beauty Dysmorphia, which I would define as… you don’t see yourself as beautiful unless you have completely metamorphosized your features into something else using makeup.
I would describe Beauty Dysmorphia as completely changing your eye shape, lip shape, brow shape, face shape using makeup. So much so, that when you take a photo of yourself with makeup and without you look like two completely different people.
Unrealistic Beauty Goals
Don’t compare yourself to others, as you will never be happy.
Even the most stunning model is not happy with herself!
We absolutely should never compare ourselves to the images of models and celebrities we see. Firstly, models are a tiny percentage of the population. 99% of us do not have the features of a model and that is why we should never aspire to look like them. If I compared myself to the thousands of models I have worked with over my career, my self-esteem would be in the gutter.
Models are used to sell you beauty products and it works very well. Also even models photos are highly retouched and often they use filters on the selfies you see on their instagram accounts to make them more flattering.
If you see a celebrity who wears a lot of makeup up close, I can guarantee you if you saw these highly made up faces in real life, you would not find it pretty or flattering. You would want to pass them the makeup remover pads pronto!
We also can’t compare ourselves to women and men who make a living off their faces and selling beauty for a living. Or celebrities like the Kardashians, these people spends hundreds or thousands of dollars to maintain such perfect appearances, and the pressure on them to keep it up is not something you would want to endure.
Less Is More With Beauty
Less makeup is more! There is nothing wrong with a little hair and makeup, but anything in excess is never good.
Practice going out without makeup on and get used to seeing and embracing your face fresh and free!
Stop posting photos of yourself on social media unless you really have a story to tell.
We post photos of ourselves all filtered and retouched in order to get attention/compliments from others to bolster our feelings of self worth. Your self worth should never be defined by likes and compliments. This is only a quick fix, a temporary ego boost and it can lead you down a rabbit hole, like a junkie who never has enough to feel good. Stop posting, do a digital detox on posting. You will be surprised at how good you feel if you disengage from your phone and do things like charity work and helping others.
Helping Our Teens Navigate Beauty Standards.
Lead by example! Teach them about superficial beauty.
Show your teens French movies and TV! 🙂
I often show my kids how I retouch my own work. I want them to see that yes models too have large pimples, dry skin on their lips, dandruff, unwanted facial and body hair and large pores. I want them to see what a real model looks like before all the retouching.
I find photos of celebrities that haven’t been retouched, or been posted with a filter. Then I show them the filtered shot of the same person.
Praise the bravery of actors and actresses that are not sculpting and smoothing their way to perfection.
Show them models who are not a size 6, but a healthy, beautiful and curvy women, or man who looks healthy and fit but doesn’t have a six pack.
Explain to them the dangers of being swayed and brainwashed by society’s unobtainable beauty standards and to embrace that they are truly special and beautiful just as they naturally are.
I teach them no matter how beautiful someone is on the outside, if they aren’t a nice person they will begin to look ugly, so far better to work on being a kind, happy and loving person, than just making sure your exterior is perfect.
Beauty is not one shoe fits all. Beauty is different for everyone and we need to kind to ourselves and to each other!
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