I am often reminded of a quote from a muay thai fighter from the Philippines. To paraphrase, she said something along the lines of:
“American women look good, but they can’t fight”
This is a quote that has stayed with me through my life as something profound. How does the rest of the world view America’s obsession with beauty? And how far are we taking this trend to be perfect?
One of America’s most influential celebrities of the decade is Kylie Jenner. She is a role model to many, including young girls who look up to her beauty and business standards. When asked, she always denies that she has had plastic surgery to change her appearance, and yet it’s quite obvious she has. And she is beautiful. She successfully changed herself into a beautiful woman, but…it’s not real. She was beautiful before all the work she had done. She was beautiful just as she was.
“If everything is perfect then nothing will be real.”
Kylie and the new trends in makeup are promoting perfection. An unattainable beauty standard that young girls are trying to mimic. The highlighting, the contouring, the fake eyelashes. All of it is promoting a beauty that is not real. At the end of the day when you take it all off, you are beautiful that way too. I know I definitely suffer from this “perfection disillusionment” too. Because that’s what the companies that sell cosmetics want you to believe. Our culture is so saturated by the need to be beautiful that it’s ingrained in our psyche without us even knowing it. The results? Depression, frustration, plastic surgery.
How have they convinced us that cutting open our bodies is a normal, and worse: desirous, thing to do?
We were given beautiful unique bodies that have grown with us through time. Our bodies carry our scars, our persistence, and our memories. Why would we want to cover that up? Why do we hate our stretch marks, our freckles, our own skin coloration? Because they have convinced us that it’s not good enough. Because it’s not perfect.
There are more important things in the world than being beautiful.
And let me say this: Just because you can’t do your makeup like Kylie, or your hair is frizzy, or you would never dream of getting plastic surgery, doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful.
Let’s go back to that muay thai fighter. She was a woman who American women would look at as ugly. She wore no makeup. Her muscles were built out so that she looked masculine. She had scars from past bruises and fights on her face. But she carried a different standard for life. To her, there were more important things than being beautiful. She looked at American women as beautiful, yes, but empty. Vapid. Hollow. To her, yes we were beautiful, but was that all? We couldn’t fight like her. We didn’t have the perseverance to withstand such pain like her. We couldn’t train for hours mastering an ancient art form like muay thai like her.
And so we must ask ourselves: why is beauty so important? Why do we loath our natural bodies and torture ourselves by restricting our diets and covering up our natural skin tones, our scars, our stories? Because they tell us what to value. The companies that have saturated our culture have made us believe that we are not enough. And that’s simply not the case.
We are all humans. Beautiful in our own ways. So why try to chase perfection? Why conform to the beauty standards of people who have altered themselves through plastic surgery in order to create unattainable beauty? I was watching Hocus Pocus, as one is wont to do during the month of October, and what I saw in that movie was a refreshing reminder that our culture wasn’t always obsessed with beauty. The actors in that movie were flawed, but real. You could see them on the streets in real life. And it was comforting to watch.
I know this can be a very controversial topic. I guess my point is that it’s ok to be imperfect. Don’t try to hold yourself to such high standards for beauty. In the end, I think we will find that there are more important things in life than being beautiful by their standards.
Thoughts? Opinions? Concerns? Leave ’em down below!
Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications