We are constantly immersed in media and advertising; getting bombarded with messages even if we don’t want to. These messages often feature unrealistic beauty standards and try to convince us that we will not be happy unless we buy these products. This constant intake of messages and images has an effect on us and it is not for the better. These companies are just trying to make money and will do whatever it takes to do so. Below I have recreated popular ads that are often directed toward women to be more realistic.
John Berger in his famous television program Ways of Seeing said that, “Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object — and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.” This quote summarizes the problem of the male gaze and how it has influenced our culture. The intersection between the male gaze and the beauty industry has created a systemic expectation that women need to be beautiful in order to be successful, to have love, to have sex, and to be happy. This pits women against other women, men, and themselves, dividing them and alienating them. This is not about being confident, radiant, and beautiful on your own terms. Instead, this is about a systemic problem that women need solidarity with each other to overcome and destroy this expectation of beauty.
Colorism in Mexico today, can be attributed to the ways in which the Latin American media, until recently, featured predominantly light-skinned people in everything. From advertisements on television, billboards, to the cast of their favorite shows, and movies on television—these young brown-skinned children grew up seeing everything their parents are watching. This type of pressure can lead young women to many insecurities about their skin.
In the Mexican media, there is a prevalence of favoritism for light-skinned Hispanics and less representation for dark-skinned natives. It is concerning and yet heartbreaking when a country is prideful of their indigenous roots, but are critical of the skin color they have. The perfect beauty ideology is ingrained into the thousands of young women who believe that the whiter they are the more accepted they are in society. I have not personally experienced this, but I have seen many of my friends who go through this process. Many of their families criticized them for being dark-skinned or even praise them for being a lighter tone. I’ve seen the pressure and emotional distressed that some of my friends go through just to chase an unrealistic beauty standard. Continue reading “Beauty is Only Skin Deep”→
I was a little shaken after doing my last blog post, My Week With Makeup. It was really hard to see two pictures of me, side by side, where I looked completely different. When I looked at myself wearing makeup, I felt like I finally measured up to the other girls I see walking around campus, the girls who look flawless. I looked older wearing makeup, and certainly more put together. I have a younger sister who is seventeen, and whenever we meet new people, they assume that she is older. Why? She wears makeup, she actually curls or straightens her hair in the morning, she’s polished and flawless and put together and so people assume she is older.
When I was a little girl, all I wanted was to be a teenager. I pictured my future self as a popular cheerleader, a girl who had an endless stream of boyfriends, a gaggle of giggling girlfriends, and a closet full of fashionable clothes. As I got older, I realized that my fantasy wasn’t really me. When I was young, all I wanted to do was wear makeup, but my mom made a rule that I wasn’t allowed to wear it until I was in seventh grade. Through my sophomore year of high school, I experimented with makeup, but I never really felt comfortable wearing it. I wasn’t good at putting it on, and it just never really felt like me. Now, I’m in my sophomore year of college and I haven’t really worn makeup since my junior prom.
At the top of a hill on the south side of Florence, Piazza Michelangelo is covered in cigarette butts and empty wine bottles rolled into corners. No matter its cracked pavement or endless uphill climb, tourists gather here, lean over the cement railing like they could almost touch the big, wide beauty of this orange-roofed city. Continue reading “On Beauty”→
Would you ever be willing to let strangers cut or shave your hair to support the message that beauty is more than a person’s external appearance? I’m not sure if I could. In this video from The Liberators International, co-founder Jae West does just that.
This video was particularly powerful to me simply because I realized that I, like many women, have a strong attachment to my hair. Most of my confidence comes from feeling beautiful and feminine and my hair is a huge part of that. I spend time washing, cutting, dying, straightening, drying, and curling my hair to make it look just right. As much as I hate to say it, if I didn’t have my hair, I don’t know how I would carry myself with the same confidence I have today. As much as I hate that my confidence comes from my external appearance, it should be acknowledged that for many women, hair is a form of expression.