OPINION: In their ugly quest for beauty, women carry burden of self-hate
A random conversation with a good friend reminded me of just how burdensome beauty is to us women.
We had a general chat about what he finds most attractive in women. He presented his preferences as simple, somewhat oblivious to his own prejudices.
"I care more about the posterior and the legs, but women go and do their hair..."
I could not help evaluating myself according to his little standard, a chore that many women struggle with daily - that desperation to fit into someone else's definition of what a beautiful woman is.
I was awakened to the depths of my own vanity, the reality of just how obsessed I am with myself. What struck me the most is how I have deluded myself into believing that I do not care for beauty!
I had been able to convince myself that a minimalist and naturalist approach to beauty meant that I was different. But I am not. I am unscrupulous in my judgement of what makes me beautiful, and the qualification of others. I, too, subscribe to the infinite beauty standards imposed by society. I am as enslaved by the idea of perfection as any other girl.
Sadly, the efforts of our vanity are not simply to seek favour with men, but mostly for the purpose of competing with and reducing other women for our gratification!
We women are unrepentant in the pursuit of unrealistic perfections.
Beauty is, in fact, an incentive that men have no right to demand of us. Worse, the maintenance is daunting. In the name of beauty, we carry out routines that steal away our happiness. I find it exhausting to remember to use upward strokes when applying lotion to my legs.
I feel sorry for the lady who wakes up an hour earlier, just to have enough time to draw the right curve on her brow line. Meanwhile, there's the woman who wishes her crash diet for next week's date wouldn't make her so sick. This dissatisfaction with ourselves disables us from loving other women and building them. We are usually the cause of each other's misery. We instil a great sense of doubt and incompleteness with snide commentary and intimations of perceived flaws. It is in our low esteem that we find the drive to destroy the confidence of others. We create high standards, just so we can prove that "she's also not perfect. I don't see why she is so full of herself!"
We are pathetic!
We even stoop so low as attacking each other on physical traits that are natural and sometimes inevitable.
You hear women asking why another has so many stretch-marks, and talking about how cellulite is disgusting. We expect mothers to have flat stomachs. We suggest that our friend find a concealer for the spots on her face. And if we cannot spot a wrong, we are just never happy about that girl's attitude!
In their ugly quest for beauty, women carry a burden of self-hate.
We refuse to acknowledge that beauty is a unique feeling that we each may experience in our own unique way. The tragedy is that by failing to love ourselves and each other, we have created an opportunity for wicked men to take advantage of our insecurities.
No portion of our bodies is spared from correction.
We extend our hair.
We lighten our skin.
We pluck out our brows.
We lift up our breasts.
We paint our nails.
We highlight our lips.
We fabricate perfection, at the expense of expressing the goodness that is within us.
When we finally realise that it all washes off, we loathe ourselves.