My final shaking of the beauty shackles was prompted by an unlikely source - the cosmetic surgery industry and it's pervasiveness.
(It was a bit tricky to get actual figures on procedure numbers in Australia. Apparently the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons is "working towards the development of collection tools to gather data on plastic surgery".)
It seems everyone (almost) is into it these days. Botox on your lunch break. Boob jobs at 18. Butt lifts as birthday presents.
But if that's what you have to do to keep up, then I don't want to play anymore.
The decision to pack up my bat and ball had been coming for a while.
Firstly, I got in quite a huff over what goes on in magazines. The retouching of photos, the constant peddling of (often hideously expensive) products and the bombardment of unobtainable 'beauty' images. And you're to blame too, Mr Entertainment Industry. And you, Advertising.
The battiness of some 'must-have' and 'so now' looks the industry tries to flog also had a bit to do with it, admittedly. Or, as Paul describes them, the 'wild get-ups some sheilas wear'. I mean, when someone encourages you to look like this:
|Image source: http://www.shoptilyoudrop.com.au/|
|I'm always disappointed when I wear |
lipstick because it never lasts.
Something tells me if I tried this colour
I wouldn't mind so much.
Image source: http://www.shoptilyoudrop.com.au/
... you have to suspect they're pulling your leg.
Age also played a part. With it came the realisation the battle to look like Gisele or Marilyn or whoever, hard as it already had been, was only going to get harder. If I couldn't achieve it when at least youth was on my side, what hope would I have now? That's right. None.
Then the idea that the whole beauty ideal was in fact a big fat crock sunk in. I accepted what I had. Became grateful for it, even.
Eventually I got not just tired of it all but also insulted. Must I strive to look always 'sexy' and skinny, simply because Celebrity Slim and Extreme Makeover and the myriad
No thank you. I prefer to spend my spare time - and cash - doing things I enjoy rather than on physical self-improvement just so I can meet some faceless person's idea of what I should be. Am I not enough as I am? Of course I bloody am. We all are. Anyone who tries to tell us differently - and they are incredibly numerous and very, very loud - deserves the finger.
I won't even start on the fashion and weight expectations mere children now face (though a rant on that will come some time in the near future)*.
All this is not to say I won't take any pride in my appearance. I don't want to frighten young children in the street. I will still wear make-up (mostly) when I go out. Will still sigh over beautiful shoes. Will aim to keep my girth within a range my clothes can accommodate. But, however I look as I walk out the door, it will be more than adequate.
So thank you, beauty industry and western society. With your pushiness and silly demands, you've finally gone too far and set me free.
* Also coming up sooner or later, but probably later: How much do you spend on your beauty regimen?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. Have you opted out of the beauty race? What was your tipping point? Maybe you were smart and never bought into it to begin with?