Beauty has turned into a rather controversial subject over past few years with different groups stating different philosophies on what beauty is. There is a scientific approach to beauty that tells us how symmetry is perceived as beauty. Perception of attractiveness is also attributed to the judgment of finding someone capable of reproduction. We often hear that beauty is relative as various cultures have slightly different beauty standards; now as the world is changing into a global village, these beauty perceptions are also somewhat overlapping and merging. Bound by human nature, we all give importance to aesthetics that are being dangerously charged by media.
Though men also get judged by looks, it is far harder for women to fit into the impossibly overwhelming beauty standards. Looking and feeling beautiful is asserted as vital for women in every culture. A large part of human society are women themselves, so we cannot deny that we, as women, are responsible for promoting many harmful concepts that can slow down women empowerment. It is good to feel beautiful; it is a form of gratefulness and builds your self-esteem, helping you towards personal growth and empowerment. What is harmful, is glorifying the idea of fixed beauty standards. As a woman, you can do a lot for other women by not slowing down their personal growth by gluing to their minds the importance of looking in a certain way.
There are many ways of celebrating your own beauty without promoting toxic beauty ideas, and this, as women, is our duty. Here are some of the ways:
Beauty is not just skin-deep, it’s everywhere
“Beauty is skin deep” is true, but it also suggests that from outside, some people who do not fulfill the mainstream measures of beauty are not beautiful. In short, we should accept that we are all glorifying the toxic ideas consciously or unconsciously. When we fail to see the beauty in ourselves, or others, we try to compensate by using this phrase. The truth is, it is our human limitation that renders us unable to see beauty in things and people, and in…or ourselves.
Let the beauty in
To be able to see beauty, we need to let the beauty penetrate our inner layers. The skin deep aspect of beauty is the act of tuning our souls and minds into harmony with nature. Nature is not ugly, nature is not even beautiful – nature is magnificent, and we are a part of it.
Security minimizes vanity
Most of the time when we are vain, we are unconsciously responding to our insecurities about that very aspect we are flaunting. If you know you are beautiful; you tend to speak less of it. Believe that you are enough, and be comfortable with it. It is not something that can be achieved by some magic spell; first you have to acknowledge the problem – the next step is acting on it.
Celebrate beauty not the standards of beauty
Understand that not every woman can fit into the beauty standards. Also understand, no matter how widely accepted these standards are, and how hard it might be to defy them, every woman has the equal right to feel beautiful. You will first have to enable yourself to see beyond these perceptions, only then you will truly be able to appreciate yourself and others.
Understand the toxic effects of asserting beauty standards
Being empowered as a human is being able to embrace ourselves and to know and use our abilities. For women, it is very challenging to push through the social barriers and love and accept oneself without letting the lack of approval from others bring the journey of self-growth to a halt. When the importance of possessing certain physical and facial features is asserted (most of which are certainly not in our control), it can make others wonder whether it is impossible to be appreciated if you happen to have a different kind of beauty. This can be a ticket to self-doubt and even self-loathing if someone is already going through a difficult stage of self-discovery.
Don’t believe what they tell you
Look closely at the media and fashion industries; you’ll take them less seriously. In real life, most of the time, what counts in professional and personal success is how you manage yourself, your dealings and how you present your talents. The super-skinny models on ramps are not telling you that every woman has to be like this; they are trying to present their product in a way that its different aspects and silhouettes are clearly visible to the audience. The advertisement of fairness cream never mentions the harmful effects of all those chemicals used in the product, because no manufacturer ever would do that. See beyond the lines and try to get the big picture.
In human relations and professional scenes, a collective conscience starts working and we are all like magicians who are hypnotizing this conscience – we are hypnotizing ourselves. When we believe in harmful things, we keep strengthening them. If we want humanity, and especially women, to break free from the bondage of having to worry about the aspects of their looks they cannot change, we need to stop believing in them. We need to stop spreading these concepts intentionally or just during the process of achieving validation. Step out of the fog, pull others out of it too.
Photo credit: Neda Andel (Flickr)