The other day I was feeling rather insecure about my body; something that happens from time to time, which most likely happens to other women too (well… I hope so). I was depising my legs because they seem out of proportion with the rest of my body and I was carefully examining my face, making note of new blemishes and marks, deciding it was time for a new face wash.
Feeling a bit deflated by my judgements, I decided to watch something on the iplayer; a programme I had noticed on TV the night before but didn’t watch. A programme called Cherry Healey: How to get a life. It’s a series of shows where presenter Cherry Healey asks about life issues… Are we all addicts? single vs settled; and this week’s topic, Can your looks change your life?
It showcases extreme instances of what people will do to change how they look. There was the boy injecting himself with illegal drugs that improve his ability to tan in order to become famous just like those people on TOWIE (Z-list celebs because they get drunk and have arguments on TV. No substance to them at all). There was a French woman, who is covered with tattoos, her way of rebelling against her family. There was the male stripper who is forever grooming and working out, with a very cringeworthy moment where he rapped (Eminem he was not). And finally there was a group of young women, known as the Pesky Dames who challenge the way women are expected to look, choosing to grow their body hair.
It was when these Pesky Dames were on that I realised I am probably more vain than I like to think. I like to think that I am intelligent and have substance to my personality, because they are what matters most, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about how I look. I am off to a spa next weekend on a hen do and I have spent most of this last week, thinking about what I’ll wear for dinner in the evening, and looking good in my bikini, making a mental note of what grooming needs to be done and trying to tone up.
Watching the Pesky Dames, who post YouTube videos about breaking with this female stereotype of looks, I began to question why I care about my looks. Do I shave my legs for me? for the boyfriend? for everybody else? Why exactly do I put too much thought into my outfit? It’s not like I follow fashion trends anyway. Or are the glossy celebs and magazines encroaching on my mind, even though everybody knows about airbrushing? My mother is rather image-conscious, maybe I inherited vanity from her??
Maybe it’s a mixture of everything really… wanting to look good for myself, for my boyfriend and give a good impression to others; as well as the “perfect” models and celebs we see all around. It is quite scary that so many things can have an affect on you, and shape you without you even realising it.
We know that vanity is an undesirable trait, a sin; we know that nobody can be perfect, so why is the emphasis on how we look so big? And why do we put that pressure on ourselves?