Have you ever zoomed into a picture in disbelief to ascertain if the curves are warped?
Ever seen something that is just too good to be true?
I have. As a young woman, probably at the onset of a quarter-life crisis, Instagram has ensured all my insecurities are fueled by perfectly filtered pictures of my peers, business moguls and lifestyle influencers.
Social and technological advancements have accelerated the rate at which we experience life. In the case of women, despite the good these developments have brought us, numerous social ills have been cultivated in us; like the case of beauty standards.
No offence to the “you are beautiful the way you are” lecture but have you met these Instagram models? My God! It seems like each one of them bought plasticine and sculptured their bodies. The slim- thickness that curves into two at their chests, narrows down to their wasp waists and magically expands at the hips, into a bright future at their backs, as defined.
To plead my case, unrealistic beauty standards are upon us because of westernization. Our erosion of culture has led to our loss of self. We need models to emulate, other than embracing, exploring and appreciating who we authentically are.
Westernization has served us a fair share of incredible progress, feminism is the perfect example. But overlooking the undesirable negative impact it’s cultivated into our lifestyles would be hypocritical.
The beauty of the world lies in our diversity. The languages, cultures, traditions and foods we eat. As people, we present ourselves to the world bearing with us the tides of our ancestors, but that has changed, drastically, because somehow, Ankara prints aren’t as sexy as baggy jeans or a bucket hat.
Beauty is a state of mind. It’s a reflection of the glorious mess within. It was never about how snatched your waist is, how flawless your makeup is or the tone of your skin. At least, not until Hollywood happened, and we all wanted to look like a particular movie star.
Victoria’s Secret made a kill by maximizing our insecurities by defining what an ideal sexy body should look like. It’s not just them, the beauty industry is thriving on the insecurities imposed on us. For example, what’s wrong with the dark circles under your eyes?
African women particularly enjoyed respectable treatment after child delivery. Their ability to give life was met with the utmost care, love and concern. But now things have changed. Now women are trying to copy the numerous celebrities who are hell-bent on snatching back their waists because now, it is the sexiest thing to do.
Losing our own identities, cultures and norms has proven to be socially retrogressive as opposed to the progress experienced politically and economically.
Kim Kardashian is beautiful in her own right, whether she agrees to undergo beauty enhancements or not. The slimness of her tummy has nothing on your sagged boobs after three babies. You are incredibly beautiful in your own right.
The thing is, we let the wrong people measure our beauty. Last Sunday while listening to Kiss FM in the morning, this female radio presenter laughingly said that men really don’t care so much for a flat tummy, and somehow, it was a relief to her. Like? Since when? Why should the contentment or appreciation of our bodies lie with men? Isn’t self-love the greatest form of love after Christ’s love for the church?
Hollywood has done it. We all want to suck our tummies in corsets whenever we go out. The beauty industry has counted its profits and Victoria’s Secret is still racking up millions. It makes no sense when we all try to look like a particular person, a movie character we watch on TV.
Cosmetic surgeries are such an amazing invention by science to help people achieve what they deem as perfection. While we are co-creators with God and reserve the right to act as we please, does anyone stop and question creativity? Of what gain is it to have an entire generation of people that want to like a particular movie star?
True beauty is defining what it means to you. What uniquely identifies you is your beauty. Yes, a perfect dentition is cute, and so is a highly edited smile in pictures but the vulnerability in that smile, is what makes it beautiful.
You are the bar; your standard of beauty. The world should slow down to that, never spin around, aiming for unrealistic stuff. You are it, nothing much, nothing less.
We are a lot more than the curves on our bodies, the red of our lipsticks, the slimness of our waists and the thickness of our eyebrows. What makes us beautiful is vulnerability, openness to learning and the will to grow.
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