Beauty and the subject of it have been around since the beginning of time; but these days, it seems have to have become the epicenter of modern American culture. There isn't a magazine that hasn't covered the topic or doesn't constantly focus on it. So much in fact, that photos get constantly airbrushed and doctored as to convey the message that "beauty equals perfection"
And that, unfortunately, is a message that has carried itself over to millions of women (and even men) world-wide. I see and hear about so many teens and young women putting on nearly a pound of make-up every single day. (One girl I went to high school with during my freshman year would apply and reapply cover-up/face powder almost hourly. Now granted, she struggled with bad acne but truth be told it wasn't really helping). The number of eating disorders are going up almost every day because they want to be stick thin; and for those who are actually comfortable with their body type, they get criticized for being supposedly fat.(I'm thinking of Jessica Simpson here, whom I think is one of the few celebrities that doesn't act completely fake). Frankly, all of it as a whole is incredibly disgusting as well as sad.
In my own personal opinion, there are two main things when it comes to beauty. In regards to physical beauty, moderation is key. I'm all for wearing make-up, going tanning and even cosmetic surgery, but I really think it depends on how much and why. I believe that make-up should emphasize one's natural features; when I wear it, I try to stick with the shades and colors that go best with my eyes and skin tone. Just as well, I have different looks for both day and night; in other words, I try to avoid heavy amounts of eye-shadow and eye-liner unless I'm going out and/or it's for a special occasion.
When it comes to tanning, I don't think a little vitamin D will kill you. At the same time, skin cancer does run on my mother's side of the family, so I am careful as to how often I do tan and remembering to wear sunscreen while outside. And although I wouldn't have plastic surgery unless I felt I absolutely had to, I'm not going to judge those that do. The only thing I will say on that particular subject is that if one does decide to have it, he or she will have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. It's not a decision that should be taken lightly.
Even more important than physical beauty is emotional beauty; that it shouldn't be about what you look like, but how you feel. Don't go wearing seven or eight-inch heels if you think you're going to break your neck in them (as much as they say that pain is beauty, I don't find that to be true all the time). I'm all for being attractive in what I wear, but I'm not going to wear clothing that I feel vulnerable in or ultimately sends a "come and get it" kind of message. Girls should respect their bodies and it's good to be a little bit mysterious. And I don't like dressing up to the nines all the time; I'm not saying that people who do are bad, because it's what they're comfortable with. But I enjoy wearing just a simple tank top and sweatpants and little to no make-up because I can just chill and focus on how I feel, not what I look like
I've had my own struggles with beauty and self-esteem since I was a child: In first through fourth grade, I hated the clothes that my Mother bought me because I thought I looked ugly in them. When I got to middle school, it was frustrating because girls my age were looking and dressing like they were seventeen and eighteen years old. It until my freshman year to learn how to apply eye-shadow and eye-liner without looking like a complete mess.
And even now in high school, I still battle my own insecurities. There was a time last year when I was insanely jealous of a few of my close friends because of how they looked. There are days where I truly wonder if I am beautiful, because I've only been told by friends, family and facebook stalkers who just want to jump my bones. I question as to whether my handicap is the reason why I have yet to be asked out on a date or asked by someone to dance. And hearing "this school needs hotter girls" doesn't help much either.
When it all comes down to it, self-confidence and lack of it is the biggest problem. The saying that "in order for others to love you, you have to be able to love yourself first" rings completely and entirely true. But than poses another dilemma: how does one become confident in themselves without becoming full of themselves? And how does one be confident each and every day?
It's not easy, and it's not going to get any easier. There will always be standards and ideas that society expects people to live up to. The biggest lesson I've learned is that if you're going to look, act or dress a certain way, do so because you truly feel that it's right and it's what you want. Living to please others will only give satisfaction for so long or not at all.
We can't change the media or the way it works. The only thing we can do change the way we view ourselves and others.
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There is beauty in everything; You just have to take a step back and open your eyes