“For that luxuriously creamy glow, I trust this,” she seductively purrs whilst fondling an unmarked beige bottle and batting her larger than life eyelashes.
Sound familiar? It’s seen, heard and felt practically everywhere that we go or turn to – from the overly friendly sales assistant thrusting the latest BB cream in your face to social media, billboards, posters, the shopping mall, TV and more. We are drowning in a sea of images, media campaigns, slogans, companies, individuals and companies selling their products to us – the impressionable consumer. It’s an issue that affects every single one of us because we are the targets.
I recently made the decision to stop wearing make up – it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I know that for many women, to go au naturale in public is enough to bring them out in a cold sweat. For me it firstly put me in a state of crippling nerves; I feel particularly self conscious of the skin under my eyes. It’s a preoccupation I’ve had ever since I heard someone at my secondary school look at my year photo and cruelly say: “Chayya looks like a badger with those bags!” It brought out such a strong level of paranoia and obsession that stayed with me for many years. I would buy into any concealer, powder, product and even herbal remedies that would make them go away or look less obvious in the hope that I wouldn’t look like a badger.
It was a massive headache and I was constantly looking at myself hoping that I looked normal. And that’s what I’ve come to realise; we buy into beauty and cosmetic products to feel “normal” – whatever that means. But with the influx of digitally altered images, it’s difficult to detect what’s normal and what’s not. Slim women are berated for not having hourglass curves and voluptuous women are berated for not being slim and toned. In the end we begin to hate who we see in the mirror and do anything to try and adhere to this vague epidemic-like concept of “normality” and what constitutes as “normal.”
To dislike, to hate and to berate yourself for what you look like is draining emotionally, mentally and physically. And it sounds horrible, but, we even begin to point out and emphasise the way that other people look despite the way that we brutally regard ourselves. I’ve heard so many women (and men too) make nasty comments about the way someone looks, dresses and carries themselves. I’ve done it and many people I know have done this too, which is weird considering the badger comment from my early teens.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” < This is probably one of the biggest lies that many of us have grown or grew up hearing. Words do hurt and have the ability to destroy someone, so much so, that I’ve decided to think of at least one nice comment whenever I see someone. It’s something I’ve been doing since the middle of last year and now it’s become a habit. I’d urge everyone to at least try and do this. Whilst nasty comments can be construed as funny, deviously creative and addictive, it says far more about the commentator’s attitude to themselves than the person they are making fun of.