The Absurdity Of Beauty
Health and Wellness

The Absurdity Of Beauty

Are you beautiful?


It’s not really a huge debate anymore that the media’s depiction of beauty is one that is unattainable. Show anyone the cover of People magazine or Vogue and they’ll say, “Yeah, of course that’s Photoshopped.” And of course comparing yourself to a fake image of an ideal is ridiculous. Countless bloggers, social media personalities, celebrities, and even just everyday people have voiced this already. It’s obvious, especially when you’re relaying this information to someone else. “You are beautiful because you are you,” you can readily say…to other people.

But to yourself? That’s another story.

How can you see yourself as beautiful when you aren’t like the people in the magazines, on the screen, even on Instagram, for crying out loud? The people on Instagram aren’t celebrities. They’re normal, like you…but somehow they’re beautiful. Other people are different. Other people can be beautiful, they just need to believe it. But you? You know yourself. And you’re not like that. You can’t be. You’ve seen the way you look when you wake up in the morning – you’ve seen the way your look in every moment that’s not a selfie.

It is so hard to accept the same level of love and admiration that you freely give to others. However, this self-love is so important to have. A large part of the difficulty in grappling with this comes from the wild standards of beauty in our culture.

The phrase “beauty standard” is accurate in that it recognizes that there is, in fact, a “standard” -- an arbitrary equilibrium that people are expected to reach. Many “beauty tips” are simply methods of masking our stronger features. If you’re short, wear vertical stripes and heels to appear taller; but if you’re tall, opt for maxi dresses and flats to look shorter. If you have a square face, wear round glasses, but don’t you dare do that if your face is round. Back pocket decals can serve to add volume to a flatter butt, but if you already have junk in your trunk? Don’t even think about it.

And whatever standard society is working toward isn’t even constant anyway. Would the curves of the '50s be as sought after in the heroin-chic populated '90s, or the butts of today as coveted for in the '20s when boyish figures dominated?

I remember one of my friends complimenting me on a shirt I own, saying that she couldn’t pull off the high halter neck because of her broad shoulders. Thinking back on it, I wonder – why not? So what if it accentuates her shoulders? Of course, I know the answer is because having features made too obvious is a huge “don’t” in the beauty world. The shirt will make her wide shoulders look wider-- oh no!

In all honesty, she could pull off the shirt if she wanted to. She could pull off shoulder pads if she wanted to! Her shoulders could take over the world if she wanted them to, but that’s just it. It all comes down to her.

There are advantages that stereotypical “beautiful” people have in society, and I recognize that as a smaller, thinner person, I possess some of those. That said, I’ve still struggled with a lot of body issues in the past. I consider myself a small, bottom-heavy person with short, thick legs. My face is round. My hands are fat and sloppy. I have acne, which I pick at, so it scars. I have a lot of dark body hair, I slouch when I stand, my teeth are yellowing. Do I find these things beautiful? In all honesty? No. I actually feel weird calling myself a beautiful person because I don’t think I am,but I don’t feel the need to be.

I actually love how compact my legs are. I love how a lot of my fat goes to my thighs and stomach so I can squish them. I like that my face is round – or maybe I don’t actively like, but I don’t mind it, anyway. My body hair makes me feel like a bear, but bears are real freaking great, aren’t they? I have two thirds of my head shaved and wear heavy eyeliner and not because I think those things are beautiful. It's because they feel right on me. What else? I’m definitely pretty chill, and I like to think I’m funny in a deadpan sort of way. I create things. I’m awesome at sleeping. I know how to deal with my anxiety, I love learning things, and I am so good at managing my time that I’ve never had to pull an all-nighter. I can be all of these things without being beautiful.

And that’s the thing. Who are you, really, in the end? Your life is not balanced on whether or not you are considered beautiful, either by yourself or by other people. Can you even be beautiful? Sure, if you want to be. But you can also be so, so much more.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 17 Black-Owned Businesses Ship Baked Goods, Rosé, And Even Fried Chicken Nationwide

Eat your way through this country's greatest food — from your couch.

Call it the easily bored Gemini in me, but I'm constantly looking for new food to try. Usually, travel quenches my taste for new and exciting cuisines, but given the fact that international travel is not always a possibility, I've begun exploring alternatives.

In the interest of wanting to support the Black community and Black-owned businesses, and also wanting to try some of the country's greatest food without having to get off my couch, I started off (pessimistically) doing research, only to find that the options were vast.

Keep Reading... Show less

24 Beauty And Style Brands Donating To The Fight To End Police Brutality Against Black People

From small, boutique brands to legacy fashion brands.

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments