Self-image seems to be a problem.
A problem in the sense that everyone struggles with it at some point in their lives, mostly during the awkward years of turning from a child to an adult, and dealing with physical changes and emotional struggles of whether or not you are liked and accepted by others.
You would think that by the age of 19 – 25, this would all be over, and our self-image will just improve because we come to realize that we’re the only ones who truly agonize over what we look like…. yet it continues to plague adults well into their 40s to the point where they overcompensate with horrific, unnatural surgeries to try and regain their youth and “lost” beauty which just makes things worse.
What is it about our self-image that paralyzes us and puts us into the denial of how good we look at this very moment, today?
SOME CULTURES EMPHASIZE BEAUTY MORE THAN OTHERS
Personally, I am wondering how much time we spend on wondering how pretty or good-looking we are — individually and as a culture.
I noticed that in certain countries particularly in Spain, women are constantly checking their reflections.
I myself do it once in a while in store windows, but some women just can’t let any shiny surface pass them by without fussing with their hair or makeup, and sometimes for them, it’s clearly obsessive, not just because they think they got some lipstick on their teeth.
It surprised me to observe such behaviour but in light of their beauty culture I suppose it’s kind of what they’re trained to think about from a very young age.
For instance, you will never really see a Spanish woman NOT in heels (even very low ones), or without their hair done, nails painted, or dressed in unfeminine/unsexy clothes which is why I garnered such odd looks from women as to the lack of my caring about my beauty presentability as a woman tourist.
MEN ARE LUCKIER THAN WOMEN IN THIS REGARD
Ever see teenage boys trying to cover up acne with pounds of makeup? No.
(Then again it isn’t really socially acceptable yet.)
They don’t exactly flaunt their bright red bumpy cheeks but they aren’t making the pores worse by clogging them, are they?
As men get older, they get balder, paunchier, and wrinklier, but aren’t under the same pressures to look as young as women do.
20-something actresses are playing 16-year old high school students — “Clueless” the movie is a good example, as is “Gossip Girl”, the TV series.
Once actresses hit 30, they’ve begun to fight to play Hollywood roles that are only available in 2 categories:
- Super sexed kittens
- Aunts, mothers or sisters
There seems to be no in-between for age in women as there is for men.
… and if you look old enough (that is, “not young” any longer by Hollywood standards), you are automatically relegated to this Hollywood category without contest.
3. Old Grandmas
The only actress who can play a wider variety of roles is the legendary Meryl Streep, from fashion magnate in “The Devil Wears Prada” to a legendary celebrity home cook in “Julia versus Julia”, even though she would technically have to be relegated to the role of “Old Grandma” in Hollywood at her age.
I think Cate Blanchett will be in that category of being able to play a wide variety of non-Grandma roles (GALADRIEL!)
WE ALL HAVE FLAWS
Although I am not immune to my flaws I am not held prisoner by them.
I know that I have flaws only I can really see (slightly crooked front tooth, dark hereditary undereye circles, wonky leg, etc), but oddly enough it makes me all the more aware that I will never be as young or as beautiful as I will be today at this very moment.
Every day, I get older, and instead of my trying to force back the hands of time, it makes me laugh at my silliness when I catch myself looking in the mirror and thinking: Ugh. Undereye circles.
One day, as a toothless Grandma in a wheelchair, I may look back on that day and think:
Wow, what was I thinking? I looked perfectly fine, and those flaws were so minor, I’m sure no one but me noticed.
With that future Grandma-self in mind, aging, youth and fleeting beauty doesn’t bother me the way it plagues other women, I suppose.
IT IS QUITE PSYCHOLOGICAL
For me, I have limited flashes of vanity and grooming mostly just after I wake up (I always feel I look my best when I’ve rolled out of bed!), and just before I leave the house to meet someone(s) or go to work.
Aside from social functions or work, I am someone who doesn’t need to leave the house with a mask of makeup on, and am happy just wearing nice clothes and accessories at a minimum (you will not catch me in sweatpants outside unless it’s an emergency and I’ve also tied a stylish trench coat to cover these sins).
For practical reasons, I also don’t stay out in the sun because of sun damage, and I seek shade all the time, being someone who gets hot & sweats very easily.
I wear a hat and I try to take care of myself inside and out by eating good food.
When I am in really hot countries with a lot of piercing, unrelentless sun, I also have loose long pants and long sleeves on, which makes for an odd asexual look in contrast to native women who are baring everything they can in skimpy tank tops and bottoms.
I’ve said it before but I don’t really care if people (if any) giggle at how silly I look being covered up with a hat on a day most people would wear as little as possible to get a “healthy” tan.
I know it’ll come and bite them in the ass when they’re in their 40s or earlier and moaning about their sunspots, wrinkles and overall skin damage which in and of itself is my vanity showing itself, because I am thinking of preserving my future looks!
Maybe I’m just delusional but I’d rather be happy than worry about whether or not I’m prettier or younger-looking than the next woman. What a waste of brain cells! I have better things to do.
So if we all have flaws, we can’t all be beautiful (although we can try with nice clothes and a bit of slap) can’t we just accept that we all have them and call it a day, rather than obsessing over them?