On one summer morning, my mother and I were seated in front of the television, sipping on hazelnut coffee and watching "Good Morning America."
A segment aired that focused on improving the quality of your skin by practicing facial yoga. A tutorial quickly followed, using a female model to depict jaw exercises and eyebrow movements. My mother and I silently fell in line to the demonstration, hanging on to every word of advice that promised a wrinkle-free forehead and sharper cheekbones. As we were in the middle of chin massages, my mother glanced over at me and quickly snapped: "You are 20 years old! Your face should be perfect! You shouldn't need any of this." She rolled her eyes and started rubbing her eyelids.
This exchange was not the first time I was told that I was in the so-called "prime" of my aesthetic value. It seems like common knowledge that a person is their most-beautiful when they are in the late teens and early twenties. However, in my experience, I do not believe in the respective theory. Half of the disposition probably correlates to personal insecurities like the frequent pimples, sprawled freckles and dark under-eye rings that I obsessively keep piling on concealer to hide. The other half is that burning flicker of hope, wishing that a mental transition will occur and that the adult life that awaits would fulfill promises of confidence and sophistication.
As a person grows, they become more comfortable as being themselves. They find enjoyment and seek pleasure in taking care of themselves. All the past insecurities, while they may still exist, won't be such a bother anymore and may become attractive in an unconventional manner. I've seen this occurrence affect several friends who've blossomed into confident and powerful women.
It's common in the Western world to rely on physical beauty until a wrinkle appears later in life. That's when the wallet deflates and hundreds of dollars are spent on various lotions and potions for the second-coming of youth. In Eastern cultures, self-care starts when you are young. Avoiding the harmful rays of the sun and weekly facial scrubs were strict practices that my family members still perform to this day. These rituals are not direct efforts towards aesthetic beauty but a healthy approach to longevity and overall health. The recent trends in mainstream media exemplify the holistic transition in popular culture.
Maybe the youth equating beauty theory is just a product of the times we live in. Beauty is subjective and will always be an existing fixture in conventional society. Hopefully, knowledge will trump physical beauty and we will encourage our daughters to be intellectual rather than attractive. Of course, we are still centuries away from the uprising despite the current progress. Writing this complaining account on the superficial value of physical beauty was quite derivative. I'll hop down from my soapbox for now and do some facial calisthenics in the meantime.