Monday, May 30, 2011

Pulling the plug on beauty

You know what? I give up. I'm quitting the beauty race. Am throwing my hands up and declaring "enough".
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:

Or this:

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:

... 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 heap of crock beauty/weight-loss focused organisations decree that is how any woman of worth looks?
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?


  1. I am hearing ya! Perfect photos to illustrate your point too!

  2. My biggest fear of just having a little girl is how I'm meant to convince her she is absolutely perfect the way she is when everything in the media is telling her otherwise... and she's only 6 weeks old..

  3. I pretty much just aim for the 'not scaring small children' thing these days too. I still slap on some make-up and do my hair, but I live in my jeans and my hair is its natural colour (grey streaks and all).

  4. I didn't realise it was a race :-) I can imagine you now running in a relay and using a mascara wand as a baton. Life isn't a competition. If you want to dress a certain way, then do it. If you don't want to dress a certain way, then don't.

    I've never felt like I wasn't good enough, not once and if people tried to make me feel that way, I quickly realised they were not the people I wanted to spend time with and I’ve never felt the need to compete with others.

    I realised from a very early age that there will always be someone who is better looking, has a better looking body, who is smarter, funnier and more intelligent than me and I became content with the way I looked and wanted to be the best that I could be.

    And in terms of exercise, most people will exercise for the psychological benefits first and the physical benefits will follow. There needs to be more emphasis on how good it makes you feel rather than how good it can make you look.

  5. I think I opted out a while ago. I do what I want now. Don't follow fashion, wear what I like and am comfy in. Makeup? If I can be stuffed.

    Great post.

    PS I'm your newest follower thanks to FYBF!

    and because I can't log in to comment here today...arrggghh google login you are driving me crazy!

    alliecat @ In a Beautiful Pea Green Boat - AKA

  6. I'm still really chasing beauty hard. I've worked out that it's just about how far you stand away from the mirror. Now that I'm approaching forty I find that I still look pretty good if I stand stand twenty feet back and obscure myself with some heavy curtains.

  7. Great post.

    I've never really followed fashion and make-up plays havoc with my skin so I mostly gave up on that years ago.

    I'm still growing to love the way I look, sometimes I look in the mirror and think wow your hot, other times not so much. I don't blame fashion mags and such but they definalty don't help.

    I've had friends comment on my trying to loose weight by saying I look great and don't need to but I've tried to explain that I do, not to look skinny but to be healthy.

    It's taken me 28 years but I'm finally realising the healthyer I am the better I feel and I'm less inclined to worry what other people think of me.

  8. Loving the blue lip look, who knew cadavers could be hot?
    I'm a makeup artist and beauty therapist by trade so I'm paid to get in on the whole game... but funnily enough I use very simple skin care products and unless I'm going out somewhere proper I don't wear much makeup other than a bit of tinted moisturiser and mascara because I CBF.
    But yeah, when I need to go out, I love that I can do a full face of makeup in ten minutes :)


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