The Body Fascist


“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 unique beautyparticularly 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.

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14 thoughts on “The Body Fascist

  1. Unfortunately the world we live in today tends to “scan us” up and down first to decide how they should behave towards us. It seems every age group is concerned with the way they look (Facebook prime example), it’s like a big competition which leads to men and women buying into expensive beauty products, slapping so many layers that you would need a professional diamond driller (construction talk) to crack through for any sun light. I don’t say don’t look after your appearance but take some pride, be proud of who you are and treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.
    Stay cool.

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    • Thanks for the comment! And yes: people judge others horribly if they choose to wear or not wear make up. There’s just no “pleasing” people but as the old saying goes: if you please everyone, you will never be happy
      Hahaha the last bit of your comment made me laugh! All hail to construction talk 🙂

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  2. Excellent piece. The “beauty industry” conditions us, particularly women, to see only flaws in ourselves and others, feel we need to apply their products to achieve an unattainable “perfect” look as ascribed by them and society in general and to be judgemental about women’s appearances. As you say, no matter what, women are judged and derided. It’s impossible to achieve a look which isn’t as any women’s appearance is considered flawed and to be picked at. This continues to undermine women’s confidence and hinders our development in many ways, with young girls made to feel miserable about their appearances, distracting them from all the other things they could be focussing on (when there’s not anything wrong with how any girl or woman looks anyway). The culture we exist in encourages constant judgement of girls and women, and seeks to pit women in competition against one another in terms of appearance, which I feel leads to the unpleasant comments aimed at one another you speak of.

    It’s splendid you’ve resolved to make positive comments about everyone you meet, something we should all seek to do. How nice it’d be if we did!

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    • Thanks for reading it Amy and leaving a comment too. Oh definitely, it’s all in the mind – from the slogans, to how a bottle looks and feels ( J’Adore by Dior is a pear shape). It’s quite scary how much they manage to tap into our psyche to the extent that we believe that there is something wrong with us that only a certain product can correct.
      And spot on: either way we get judged, but I’ve realised that people forget what you look like but they never ever forget how you made them feel. God bless Maya Angelou 🙂

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  3. I absolutely love this piece. I like the idea of one nice comment, it really does make you think how much in control you can be of your own thoughts!

    I think you are very brave and definitely admirable for deciding to go make up free, in this day and age it just seems impossible! If only everyone could see it in the way you have expressed it!

    In terms of words, I completely agree. Words have the power to destroy, humiliate, anger and really make us think…however I truly believe its down to how much we look into the words we hear. Through self belief, positive thinking and selective hearing I think we can all better ourselves! Fantastic read Chayya, thanks!

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    • Thanks Devina for commenting (it did come through) and yes, words can be detrimental and like everything it boils down to intent.
      At first going without make up frightened me, but after a while I got used to it and now it’s not as big an issue now, compared to when I stepped out without make up. It makes you feel quite paranoid – which just highlights how worrying it is.

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  4. Truthfully, there’s nothing hotter than a woman comfortable and confident enough to not go about life without make-up on. I know everyone’s got their own opinions on the matter, this is just mine. Love it when I’ve been seeing a girl for a little while, and slowly they start wearing less and less of it, showing their true face, their true self, until there’s none being worn at all. And you’re left with this beautiful, natural, woman. That’s my two pennies’ worth….

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    • Kris that’s so reassuring to hear! I think so many women get the idea that being cake is attractive and desirable. If someone wants to wear make up, go ahead and do it; it’s their own body. I just think that it conceals a bigger issue at hand that is a lot deeper than we realise (pardon the pun, literary god skills lol).
      By the way: LOVED your blog post about stoned dogs *thumbs up* 🙂

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  5. Even when I was a little kid people always used to ask me… “are you tired?” I can totally relate to this exceptionally inspiring post. Concealer has been my go-to ever since middle school. The only time I don’t feel the nagging urge to wear it is when I’m at my cottage in Quebec, Canada, bushwhacking, sailing, or canoeing like a flush cheeked wildwoman. But I’m not wearing any concealer today… why? Glasses. And the simple knowledge that the only person looking at me today is me. And I’m one of those lucky fools who has (ever since that same middle school) chosen to find beauty in whatever mirror I’m looking into. Act of will? Some days more than others. The freedom of every woman? Absolutely!!

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    • Thank you for reading and commenting Cymbria. I’m so happy to hear that you found the blog inspiring; it means a lot to me thank you 🙂
      I’m glad that you feel this way too- admittedly it took me forever to just accept my under eye area!Hopefully more and more women will learn to love their imperfections and realise that’s what makes them unique.
      Loving your cottage in Quebec; sounds amazing (slightly jealous!) and the fresh faced look is always far better (self esteem-wise and to your skin) than ladles of foundation.

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