Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Pursuit of Beauty

Beauty; A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.


Hi guys, I hope you are all well. This is a post I have had floating around in my mind for a long time, but it seemed so hard to put together, but I've managed to string a coherent plan for it on paper (I hope!) on the pursuit and lengths we go to to achieve beauty. I do get into my own experience with the pursuit of beauty, to show that I do understand and I do know what I am talking about. So let's get into it! 
I come from a background where, especially in secondary school, I was slagged and teased for my appearance and my thick, straight black hair. I had the lovely nickname of The Grudge and whenever I went into my classes, I was laughed at, insulted and made the noises of The Grudge (admittedly, it's still a sore spot). I have a gorgeous mother and sister, as well as countless gorgeous relatives and friends. I felt alot of pressure to live up to them. From a very young age, I was thought that appearance and beauty was everything, and that being beautiful was one of the most important things that I could be. I can honestly say that my appearance from when I was younger, has changed for the best. As a child, I was pale, covered in freckles, small with unruly thick black hair, I wasn't the prettiest, child, but I didn't care. I was too busy being a child, being feral, digging in the mud for worms and chasing other girls with them and climbing trees. When I was 18, I was in college, I had the worst ever ginger, shoulder length hair and college life had me two stone heavier, I had never felt so bad about myself. I made the choice at 19 to look after  myself better and lose weight. So today, at 21, I stand at 4 11'', average build, two stone lighter, paler than ever and I have grown out my thick black/brown long (it got lighter over time). I can say, this is the best I have ever felt about myself, which, in its own way, is pretty sad. 
Though I feel that my looks have changed for the best, I still feel like I am my 18 year old unhappy self. After all the effort put in to change, it is so completely frustrating to feel this way. Since falling madly in love with fashion, make-up, beauty and blogging, I have spent so much time and money on trying to look the way I wanted to look in my mind, to be left not feeling much better. Working hardest to achieve the impossible picture perfect skin. I can put the effort in to actually looking nice on a night out and feel good, but I am the complete opposite of photogenic. That just adds to feeling crappy about my appearance. That the effort has been for nothing, and I actually looked liked that all night. I have to remind myself, that that is just me through a lens. I think that if I were to invest in XYZ product, it will alter my appearance and I will feel heaps better. I hope to join a gym soon, money providing, I admittedly obsess on my stomach, and spend more time than I care to admit, worrying and fixating over it. Even if the gym helps in giving me a nice stomach, who's to say I will be any happier, given how I have been let down before? I know I am not alone on this, so many other women feel the same way. The pursuit of beauty can be a crippling road.
But what of when we see each other through each other's eyes? Do we see other's imperfections that they focus so much on? I don't think so. We would see what we like in that person, be it their hair, clothes, smile, the qualities and traits that person has. I don't know anyone who would fixate on other's imperfections like we fixate on our own. At the end of the day, we are our own worst enemy and harshest critic. However, it is absurd to believe that we try to look good for other people, it's for ourselves. 
Airbrushing, photoshopping and advertising which is purely just designed to push and sell products with beautifully altered models, seems to show an impossible look that simply cannot be achieved. Not even the models look like the models. It's not a new thing now to see and hear about children as young as seven worry and obsess over their looks. And who could blame them? Beautiful people are plastered all over the media. Does self love and self acceptance simply come with time and age? The time and effort put into looking ''perfect'' doesn't stop at perfection, the time and effort spent on creating an ''effortless, au natural'' look can be ridiculous. If feeling good and happy in our own skin comes from within and with time and age, why bother? And if these efforts fail to make us happy anyway, why do we continue putting in the time and money? 
It's good to remember that there is no one idea of the perfect body and looks. This varies by a number of different factors, these are: Race: Black and Hispanic women prefer a curvier, more voluptuous figure with a full bottom. Asian women prefer a slimmer figure. And European and American women would prefer a low waist-to-hip ratio, in other words, an hourglass shape. Time periods: In the 18th Century, it was considered desirable for women to be overweight as it showed affluence and wealth. The 1920's, the ideal body shape was boyish and slimmed down, which can be seen in the flapper girls of the '20's. The '50's, a curvier, hourglass figure was preferred, take Marilyn Monroe as the prefect example. The '70's loved long legs and a slim build. Finally, Preferences: This is the simplest. It's plain down to the individual and what they prefer themselves. Simple as. 
Not only can the pursuit of beauty be costly, lengthy and expensive. In some cases, it can be incredibly painful. Take Chinese feet binding to make the feet smaller. Thankfully, the practice is dying out. Whalebone corseting to achieve a smaller waist, which can obstruct and damage vital organs, and it can lead to removal of a rib or two. Plastic surgery, though I am in no way against it, it can be a very painful recovery, and there's no guarantee that you'll get the results you want. Very easily, the pursuit of beauty can lead to pain, unhappiness, wasted money, misery, insecurity, and eating disorders in extreme cases. In a way, the search for perfection, which doesn't exist, the pursuit of beauty, can be a very pointless journey. It's easy to believe that everything will fall into place, happiness and perfection will follow, if you looked the perfect part.


Well, I'm near the end of this, what turned out to be a lengthy post. So, if you made it to the end of this, kudos! I really hope this didn't come across like I was dragging myself through the dirt, but I had to be honest. I like a good bit about myself. My determination, ambition, I'm strong willed, lighthearted, passionate and competitive Also, I have been known to make a mean cuppa tea. It's so important to remind yourself of the good you see in yourself. I value the more important aspects over appearances anyday, like humour, intelligence, kindness, humanity and they way you treat others. but some part of me feels that I'd be happier beautiful. I know that it's not the be all and end all, by any means.
The pursuit of beauty. Is it all worth it? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo
Kim. :)

5 comments:

  1. This post really does show how incredibly talented you are in writing opinion pieces. It was humorous, relatable, curious and a pleasure to read.

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  2. Thank you so much Aoife! That means a hell of a lot coming from you :) x

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  3. I honestly am of the opinion that this has by far been your best piece, though it did have me thinking about my own insecurities. As I've told you before, the effect of being told I looked like a boy when I was seven still has a bit of an effect on me. Add to that the fact that I looked like a female Albert Einstein and had very big, round, multi-coloured glasses and it's safe to say my ego didn't hold up to much!
    Very quickly, before I forget, I'd like to add that your coffee making skills have greatly improved since my knowing you, even if you hate me reminding you of the first time :P !
    I think perhaps persuing your own vision of beauty can be justified and very healthy for you. My confidence was so low until the day I finally got to cut off all my hair and dye it. And of course studying make-up artistry has made me focus in on what I like and dislike in myself physically. But not to the point that I'd feel like drastically altering my appearance. As much as I'd quite like bigger eyes or be able to smile and not dislike how my face looks when I do, it's not as if I'm prepared to go for surgery. Not that I'd even have the finance!
    If you look at Extreme Beauty Disasters (I believe that it's on E4) you see how badly affected some people are because they weren't prepared psychologically. I don't even mean that they just had botched work. There have been a number of episodes featuring mean and women that look great but it didn't change how they felt about themselves.
    If you read the paper this week, you'd see an article about some sort of celebrity woman who has been under heavy criticism over having ribs removed for a smaller waist. What stood out for me was how absolutely happy she appears in the photos after surgery. Yes I'm aware that a small can hide many thing, but if she's satisfied it shouldn't be such an issue really. She's not the first to have done it. And though it can cause a shift in organ placement, I know that I'd be interested in corset training, although that's more so down to the fact that I adore corsets.
    I also have a scar left by having my naval piercing from times it's been ripped out, or it rejected (as it did recently). I don't much care for that scar ( although it looks better oddly enough from me removing the bar when it started to reject?) but I know that I'm more than likely going to go through the process of getting it done again and again.
    Beauty is always going to be down to individual preference anyway. What I find beautiful, other people think is hideous. But if you find it for yourself, do it for yourself and don't expect results from the people around you... then it's worth it, I think. As long as you don't go the Dorian Grey route. Even think of the people in American Mary and how much they were willing to go through to realize what they felt on the inside. It made them feel good about themselves, despite what other people thought of them, right?

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    1. I am just blown away at this amazing, long, and well thought out response! It's made my day :) I 100% believe the things we are told about our looks growing up make up at least 90% of how we feel about ourselves today. Today, you are one of the most feminine person, emotionally and physically I know. Big Booty Bitches, neva 5get. <3 and HEY, you have to remember I had a veeeeeery different understanding of what black coffee was. :P
      I hate feeling like I put in the effort to change my looks and when I see people I haven't seen in a while, and they recognise me. It's so silly, but hey. I think it's a con of getting into the beauty scene, you're more aware of any imperfections and the products to deal with them.
      I've seen that before and it's pretty sad. Maybe to 100% go through with surgery, trying to work through their issues might help alot.
      I think surgery like that can be like piercings and tattoos, they can be quite addictive. Once you get one, it can get quite addictive.
      Beauty is an individual preference, and you're right. Again, like piercings and tattoos, it's a subjective thing. As long as you're happy with the outcome, that's all that matters. It's not like I get tattoos and piercings, I think about what others will think. I'm sure the same goes for those who opt for plastic surgery.

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    2. That also fringes on your point of how we view each other differently. You think I look feminine, and yet I cringe when I hear a really masculine note in my voice or catch myself looking a certain way. Which is strange considering I really like gender neutral looking people. Like I saw a guy today with a beautifully executed red pout! I just wanted to mention that :P. I don't think it's that I have an issue with masculinity, I think it's that I was told it in such a form that it was made out to be a bad to trait in myself. Heck, I stopped wearing glasses for two years because I was told they made me even uglier. As far as emotionally goes, I wouldn't be sure. I am the one to get rid of the spiders, remember?
      Yes, I'm very aware. I still drank half of it though! See, I'm supportive!
      Differing to you, people that have gone through my old photos have asked if they're really of me. I seem to change physically in such a way that that happens, which has proved an advantage for me. I agree, it can be a con. After doing my course, I wore make-up less and less though. I was aware more than ever of my flaws, but strangely enough the way it worked in my head was that if a sweep of make-up could cover them up, then how bad could it possibly be? Even women I know that wear push up bras find after a while that they're fairly comfortable going braless because how much can a little cushion do?
      It really does depend on the person. Some of them really do need to allow for the psycolgical evaluation period that they make transgender people go through.And I say transgender because I think they can be rather discriminated against when it comes to surgeries.

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