In the span of just one week I have read two absurd headlines that made me want to write this piece. They went a little like this:
‘Don’t wash your face because zits are cool now’ and ‘boobs are back in a new way’.
If we ignore how foolish these sound and how we couldn’t imagine a respected magazine to even dare to publish such pieces, the thing that strikes me the most is how easily ‘beauty’ is portrayed as something that comes and goes like the newest runway trends.
And when I mention beauty I am not referring to make up trends. The kind of beauty they’re talking about is one that none of us could determine for ourselves in the first place. It’s the kind of beauty talk where they discuss which kind of noses are the most attractive or whether they prefer small boobs over big ones, thigh gaps or thick thighs, plump lips or thin ones,… The list is endless and it changes like the seasons.
Yet many women and young girls base their self-worth on these trends and it’s a toxic habit.
But I am not criticizing these women and girls, I’ve been there myself.
Being Moroccan I grew up with thick, frizzy curly hair. Something that I despised for two decades before I could accept it and even love it.
But I would be lying if I said that the upcoming trend of curly hair wasn’t the first reason I wanted to stop straightening my hair on a daily basis. Because that’s what initially helped me accept all my frizz. Because all of a sudden curly hair was in, it was something many women desired. Or at least that’s the thought magazines were selling us.
Nothing too toxic here, you think. But what’s wrong with this mindset is that you base your self-acceptance on something that isn’t going to be there for a long time. It’s a fake feeling of reassurance, of feeling good in your skin, because the second another trend comes along, you’ll go back to where you were.
These trends can make you feel like you’re on top of the world one day, only to make you feel like you’re not worthy next day.
And yes, it’s not just the media. Beauty standards are deep-rooted in cultures, I am fully aware of that narrative too. But I’m focussing on the media for the obvious reason that it’s something we all look up to on a daily basis. Even if we try to ignore some aspects of it, we still pick up things here and there that do have an impact on us and how we see each other and most importantly, how we see and feel about ourselves.
So how can we be confident in a time where the media, something that we can barely control, tells us what we should ideally look like to matter in our society?
From my point of view, the only way to be at peace with yourself is to work on a self-accepting state of being that transcends these so-called beauty trends and what other people in general find most attractive. It’s not an easy battle, and not a short one either. It’s a battle that you’ll probably keep dealing with throughout your life.
But if there’s one battle that is worth fighting, it’s the one where you learn to love yourself unconditionally.
Because even though we love to say how love is in the eye of the beholder, the only way we can fully be at peace with ourselves, is to let that beholder be you and only you.
23 years old communication student who is all about fashion, women's empowerment and good memes. Current goals? To be Carrie Bradshaw minus the excessive heart-breaks. And above all, dismantling the patriarchy would be nice too.
By Amaliah Writes