So sick and tired of seeing these fifteen year old tumblr girls trying to lose weight so they can look like Cara Delevigne or whatever. It will never, ever happen, because humans are made to be individuals, and being as skinny as a model will not make you happy. Wee girls need to accept what’s in the mirror, because what they see is natural and authentic and unique. Society tells us to look a certain way and they buy it, because in the age of tumblr where “thinspo” blogs tell them if they lose two stone they’ll look like a Victoria’s secret model, how can they not?
I realise I post pictures of various models, but usually its because I like the fashion or the way it looks on my blog or the models themselves. I’ll never look like Candice Swanepoel, but I’m okay with that. I find that being myself is satisfying enough and I’ve learnt, after some time, to accept myself, flaws and all, and love myself as I would like to be loved.
So please, if there are any girls who are insecure reading this, please take this advice and be proud of who you are and what you look like. There is no definitive definition of beauty, because it changes drastically throughout history. Accept yourself. Join a few clubs. Sponsor a baby seal. Because, while it sounds cheesy, at the end of your life nobody will remember the beauty of your face, but the beauty of your soul.
On an average Tumblr flow day, I see a lot of posts of actresses on here with tags/captions that say “Perfect” or “Perfect human being” etc. These are fun when it’s not really that serious, but it’s come to my own attention that it’s not actually good for me. I realized this myself as I recently scrutinized a batch of photographs of myself in Rome. My mum and aunt commented that I looked “stunning” in them, and even me, Self-critic Extraordinaire, admitted I looked sort-of okay in them.
But then I imported them on my computer.
Computers are very high-tech these days. With dozens of little tools on a bar at the bottom of the screen. When I import my pictures on my computer, I can do this thing where I zoom in so much I can see every pore on my face.
This thing is not a good thing.
After going through each picture blown-up on the screen, cringing at the various angles, wishing my face had been more prepared for the “candid” shots, and making a mental list of Things I wish I did/n’t Have and comparing myself to the non-stop flood of pictures on Tumblr of today’s actresses, with their symmetrical facial features, glittering eyes, glowing skin and toned-to-a-T bodies.
There are times I fear relentlessly that I am in the percentage of hopeful actresses who will Never Ever in A Trillion Years Be Truly Successful Actresses. I continually fear I’m like one of those people on the X Factor who think and believe with all their hearts that they were born to sing, when in fact they were born to be humiliated on a trashy talent show for millions of people to laugh at like circus freaks.
The idea these days is only the Perfect are noticed. Only the Perfect are revered. Or, okay, to be fair, Mostly The Perfect. Rare is it that I come across a Tumblr dedicated to the fantastic actresses who are film legends to this day, such as the late, great Bette Davis, a woman who broke the ideals of snobby film producers with her own raw, God-given talent and gave the finger to anyone who dared to try and bring her down. Yet there are Tumblrs dedicated to [insert name of hot-young-thing “singer”/”actress” here] in abundance.
For those of you who might call unfair play and say that Bette Davis was an active actress long ago, and no longer relevant to today’s teen culture, I have another argument for you. What’s the matter with the actresses back then? Because everything has to be about now, right? Why, when then was so much better? When women who could act their asses off were given the meatiest role of all? When the screwball comedies, where men and women were the same, reigned supreme? When actresses were chosen because of distinctive features such as big jaws, strong noses and fabulous, natural curves or indeed, eclectic athletic bodies? What do we have now? A slew of mediocre actresses who would make Davis, Hepburn and Leigh cringe at the legacy of female acting being sullied so grotesquely?
Perfect is an illusion. Perfect is a facade. Perfect is what makes me scrutinize myself so. And how dare it?
I read an article today on a fashion blog (ironically another main source of my insecurities) which was an excerpt of an interview with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the two masterminds behind the eponymous Dolce & Gabbana fashion label (one of my favourites, actually). As I read through the snippet of their Top Tips for Seduction, I came across this little nugget which appealed immensely to me especially:
7. A defining feature can be truly sexy
You don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Gabbana says, ‘Personally, I like women who are not perfect. For example, I love a woman with a real nose. A nose is character. Many women want to change their noses, but for me, I’m fascinated’.
To be honest, I felt like I could let out a breath of air. I know this is not the be-all and end-all of Beauty Thesis, but the idea that having imperfect features doesn’t stand in the way of being (D&G-level) beautiful or sexy is incredibly liberating and empowering to hear. Having just turned 18, I feel a change coming on that I may have incurred in myself alone, a sort of premonition that the end to my self-esteem issues is nigh. I’ve always hated them with a fury, as there’s really nothing that gets my eyes rolling more than someone complaining about something as tedious and inconsequential as their looks-yet I do it myself for no other reason than the propaganda that the media stuffs in my face every day. As if something like my outer appearance should stand in my way of being happy! I have much more to offer than my looks, and I may as well start showing it.
This is not a “poor-me” essay, this is not a cry for messages of reassurance, but rather as a structured account of my epiphany, which will hopefully lead to finally being comfortable with my nose, my looks and myself. And hopefully by reading this, you might too.