By Samantha Krier
As women we are constantly bombarded by commercials, billboards, magazines, advertisements, and movies that show perfect women. These women are what society deems beautiful: stick-skinny, long dark lashes, long silky hair, high heels, lots of skin showing. It is natural that we would want to be beautiful, because beauty gets attention. Beauty gets perks and gets the date. So, we have to try to be the definition of beauty. We have to get lash extensions, try not to scream when the wax strip comes off or spill our own blood using a razor. We have to use chemicals on our hair and buy hundreds of dollars worth of makeup and then spend hours applying it. We have to train ourselves to bare the pain of squeezing our feet into tiny heels, balancing on them, and walking or dancing in them for hours. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the words “beauty is pain.” And if it is, I don’t want it.
There is a constant pressure for women to always look good and to make an effort. 1 in 3 women will not leave the house without makeup, and 1 out of 10 women say they will not let their significant other see them without makeup. If we don’t wear makeup, we aren’t putting in enough effort. If we don’t spend a ton on our makeup, nails, hair, and clothes, we are lazy and will never find a significant other. Meanwhile, men are not expected to do any of this and encourage women to accept them as they are. This is a double standard that most women are aware of and see and experience daily. The only way to beat this is to encourage men to accept women as they are, just like they tell us to do for them. This means not being afraid to be “ugly.”
We have just broken the ice on weight bias in the media. More runways and ads for fashion and makeup are accepting women who are not stick-skinny and those with disabilities. LGBTQ+ men and women have broken into the makeup world, creating gorgeous palettes and makeup lines. The standard look of beauty and fashion is being challenged and expanded to fit the majority of the world. The media is finally recognizing that we want diversity and representation on screen. Even though much of it is likely just to increase profits, the world is still changing. We are realizing that all women and men do not look like the ones we see in magazines. Most of us will never be able to fit that mold, and we shouldn’t have to. We can be beautiful without it. We are making so much progress, but we need to recognize this double standard and start taking steps to resolve it.
One of the steps that we can take is to try to remember that our value does not depend on how attractive we are to other people. One of the biggest things I have learned recently is that my life objective is not to be on a diet and lose weight. I have so much that I want to accomplish, and none of it depends on me being a size 0. I will always prioritize my physical health, but I will not jeopardize my mental health by trying to look a certain way to please someone else. Realizing this and convincing yourself of it will not happen overnight. We are brainwashed basically from birth that being pretty is our main objective, and everything else is a bonus. Retraining yourself to not care and to help others see this is difficult, but it will impact your life in an incredible way.
Once you convince yourself of this, you feel free. You can go out with no makeup and in sweatpants and feel good and comfortable in your own skin. There will always be those who try to tear you down, just like there are those who try to tear supermodels down. When you really and truly believe you are beautiful without products and chemicals and procedures, no one can tell you otherwise. It took me a long time to love my body after it changed, but now no one can tell me my thighs are too big or my hips are too wide. It is important that we continue this attitude with our faces too. I have not completely gotten there yet, but I am on my way. Makeup should be something that we do for fun, not something that is required.
I completely understand that makeup makes us look better, and it is a hobby for a lot of people. I am not asking anyone to give this up or to feel ashamed about it. Makeup artists are incredible, and I personally admire anyone who can do a smokey eye because I can’t even get that look down no matter how hard I try. Makeup and fashion are arts, and are a confidence boost, and looking good makes us feel good. But we shouldn’t have to look good to be respected, and it is definitely not our objective in life. We are so much more than our looks, and it is time to convince the world.