My sister looked at me in the mirror and told me to lose weight. I squeezed my stomach endlessly after, eventually succumbing to her words. My ribcage and collar bones I can feel. There’s not much cheek left to pinch, and my old clothes hang lifelessly from my body. This is what we’re suppose to aspire to. Society’s idea of beauty is not motivating, or aspirational.
An airbrushed canvas
In Dubai, where perfection is natural for a woman to seek, two beauty bloggers declare airbrushing images as a way to motivate people to have better skin. They believe airbrushing encourages women to “adopt a healthier lifestyle and a good skincare routine” to help build confidence levels.
Airbrushed skin is not real. It’s used on celebrities who already have the flawless skin. How can it inspire a healthier life?
I’ve documented my struggles with both fitness and acne. I promote healthy living and confess my wellness has improved my physical appearance greatly. But I’ve still had a chemical peel and wear foundation to cover faint acne scars. Never would I declare my encouragement for health as a link to looking like a Facetune canvas.
I hate where beauty is going. Rather than being our best-selves, we want to look plastic and unreal. This is not motivating. I heard myself the other day, admit to wanting jaw surgery and fat removed from my cheeks to create stronger cheekbones. Modern world is about craving self-improvement; tying our insecurity with ribbons masked as ambition . We want everything cheaper, faster and prettier.
People calling me beautiful ruined my esteem
Throughout childhood and my teenage years, I knew I was not enough. “Think how much prettier you would look if you didn’t have spots”. “Imagine your skin colour with your dad’s blue eyes”. “You’re much prettier with longer hair, why would you cut it?”
My exterior was up for grabs. Everyone commented on how I should improve. I tried my best to follow. It was later in life around 20, after I’d trained in makeup and peeled my awkwardness – to play a sexier character, that my aspirations came true.
People complimented my aesthetic. In a weird way, the compliments made me feel bad. Years of wishing and makeup practice in the hopes of being beautiful, I discovered it wasn’t my looks that needed changing after all. It was my personality. I needed to learn how to actually like myself, before modifying how I looked. Otherwise, someone says you look better with a certain hair colour, and then you feel terrible if you choose to change it.
An influencer does not have beauty figured out
Just because a woman has flawless skin, it doesn’t mean she eats incredibly well and has a routine to rival a supermodel. It really can be genetics. Many times, the women with acne are the women who work harder than anyone else.
It’s a puzzle to track down how to cure spots. We shouldn’t view those who don’t emulate an online concept, as not motivating. Those who don’t feel perfect, shouldn’t click on an edited, contoured photo and feel inspired. What about the story?
I’m empowered by a journey. Influencers are not medics. As this article points out, there’s a dangerous side to taking professional advice from one.
What about our beauty inspiring ourselves?
I take many photos, some revealing, some sophisticated. It makes me feel good, because I’m focusing on how I want to dress and how my body will be. If young women stopped trying to achieve an unrealistic image and aimed for bringing out the best of themselves, we would live in a happier place. And as Audrey Hepburn once stated, happiest girls are the prettiest.
Though if you’re feeling down today, there’s also a beauty to sadness.
How do you feel about edited photos? Are they aspirational or not motivating? Does seeing someone with clear skin inspire you to take better care of your own?