Don’t Be Afraid to Be Ugly

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.

Image of a woman with gauze covering her head and chin
Image from Creative Commons

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.

Unshaved Armpits

By Kate Ringer

She is perched at the top of a steep, concrete step, the curve of her calf accentuated by the strain of her pose. There are her legs, tan and endless; a flip of a sleek ponytail; the seductive pucker of her lips as she peeks over her shoulder and leers at the camera; the strip of her flat belly, framed by her tight black crop top and the Daisy Dukes clinging to her waist; then, finally, her perfect butt, like two crescent suns emerging from the clouds of denim.

I am almost salivating, wanting to shout, “Damn, look at her butt!” but I keep my thoughts to myself.

I am not the best feminist.

Continue reading “Unshaved Armpits”

Layers of Silk, Cow’s Blood, and Beauty Standards.

Renaissance artwork depicting seven nude women standing in a row
Renaissance artwork by Hans Baldung titled “The Seven Ages of Women”

By Chloe Rigg 

Pear.

        Apple.

                     Hourglass.

These words seem to have no connection at first glance. But, they are actually different female body shapes. These classifications tie into modern beauty standards and body image. Today’s society wants women to strive to have porcelain skin, be tall, and skinny but with some curve. These body standards exclusive to the diverse multicultural world we live into today. One might think that beauty standards have always looked like the traits previously described. Looking back into history through different cultures will prove this completely wrong. What society defines as beauty is a fluid idea that could change at any moment.

So, what traits portrayed the “ultimate” beauty throughout history?

Continue reading “Layers of Silk, Cow’s Blood, and Beauty Standards.”

The Mirnavator- Fat Girl Running

Mirna, an African American woman, smiles at the camera as she runs. She wears a bright pink tank top and a blue running skirt.

By Alexandria Arritt

An ultramarathon is the name given to any race longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). Ultramarathon length varies between 30 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles, or 100 kilometers. These races can last from anywhere between six hours and six days. They are run in loops with occasional breaks between groups of mileages. The breaks allow the runners to eat and use the bathroom. Typically, when someone mentions running, the body type that comes to mind is lean, thin and toned. Mirna Valerio does not fit into these categories. She also is not just starting her running career. She is not a “before” body type. Mirna is an ultra-runner.

Continue reading “The Mirnavator- Fat Girl Running”

If Ads Were Realistic

By: Madelyn Starritt

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.

Continue reading “If Ads Were Realistic”

The Beauty Industry Made me do it

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An advertisement for perfume for women featuring an extremely sexualized position and demonstrating the male gaze. The viewer of this ad must view the women through the eyes of a desiring man.

By Olivia Comstock 

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.

Continue reading “The Beauty Industry Made me do it”

Beauty is Only Skin Deep

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Three hands that have different skin tones altogether touching hands.

By Valeria Ramirez

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”

A Meditation on Beauty

By Kate Ringer

 

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My polished and flawless sister

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.

 

 

This worries me. Continue reading “A Meditation on Beauty”

My Week with Makeup

By Kate Ringer

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.

After reading “My Week Without Makeup,” I was struck by the idea of doing the opposite experiment. What would it be like if I wore makeup for a week? So, after over a month of deliberating and worrying, I finally decided to do it. Continue reading “My Week with Makeup”

On Beauty

By Emily Alexander

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All smiles above the city of Florence.

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”