Hello! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about beauty standards, and almost just in time, a favourite actorvist Jameela Jamil called out another beauty company for shaming women about their bodies. So, I thought: yes, this is a sign from the Universe!
I started going to gym recently (I know, right, me? writer of this post??) but it was weird, I just woke up one day and thought “Hey, let’s go to the gym.” (Also it had been raining for days, so basketball was off the table) It was great! Endorphins and all that. I didn’t go the next day, or the next (my body was in shock) but in that time, I had to work to not become obsessive about it. I suddenly started thinking of quotes of people going to the gym everyday, being ‘disciplined’ and not lazy in order to get certain results. That wasn’t good for me- it just wasn’t me. I, honestly, just enjoyed the endorphin high and stress release, and that was good enough for me. But it got me thinking about the unending pressure to fit into certain ideals of beauty, and how hard it is to turn down those voices. But, when it comes to beauty standards, there are 3 truths I’ve adopted:
1. It’s really just about Capitalism
We all know the infamous story of how shaving became a ‘necessity’ for women: in 1915, that Gillette fella wanted to double his profits, and hence began marketing razors and shaving to women, advertising it as a part of being a woman. Read more here. Similarly, companies realise that making people, and women in particular, feel bad about themselves is an amazing way to sell products. They create a need for their products. Most beauty ideals– shave, lose weight, make your waist smaller, make your butt bigger, make your boobs bigger, grow your hair longer, etc– are just creative ways for companies to make money. We don’t actually need to do all of these things to be desirable or valuable. So, don’t take that shit to heart. Mens just wanna make money.
2. Release any guilt or shame associated with either thought pattern
If you find that you still want to do some of these things- I do not want you to feel ashamed of that. The whole point of freedom is freedom of choice. Similarly, if you stop shaving, or excessively working out, or eating magical weight-loss bars instead of chocolate, allow yourself to release the shame of that. As Amy Poehler so wonderfully put it:
We have been taught that these things are normal, and I think it’s really important not to think there’s a “right” way to be a feminist either. We can be aware of the fact that we’ve been brainwashed into spending $100 a month on waxing and still spend $100 a month on waxing. We’re all, as a society, going to move forward to a place where it just becomes a neutral preference, and not a “right vs wrong” thing. At least, that is my dream.
3. You really can just wake up and decide you’re good enough
This was a big shift that happened for me this week. I woke up and thought: “what if I just stopped listening to those voices that have been all up in my grill since I was 12 and decided that I’m the beauty standard- right now, as I am?” I was in an amazing mood that day, and the next. When we look at the root of what we desire- to feel good enough, to feel valid, to be content with ourselves- why do we feel we need to acquire these outside things first? Why do we only have permission to feel all of these things when we reach a certain goal, or grow our hair a certain length?
As cheesy as it sounds, we radiate what we feel on the inside. My current crush is this girl who I think is so damn badass because she has this confidence I find freaking attractive. Honestly, none of the girls I’ve crushed on have had these ‘beauty standards’ we seem to think we need to fit into. So, here’s to saying this every morning:
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