Feminism beauty standards grey

Published on December 4th, 2012 | by Rayne


The cost of beauty

If you don’t know me very well, you need to know one thing:

I don’t give a flying fuck about the beauty standard.

This revelation goes hand in hand with my previous post on my opinions of the imposing opinions of others. Fuck that noise.

This post stems from a conversation that was had last night while bleaching my hair. I’m currently going from black hair to pink so bleaching is needed. I sorely miss having more noticeable unnaturally coloured hair on a daily basis. The conversation was had that I needed more than one bleaching session over a span of a few days to completely remove all the black. Fair call. I said it was fine to do one bleach after another because my hair doesn’t generally react too badly to multiple bleaches in a short period. The point was made that if I didn’t bleach over a period of days, my hair would get brittle, thin and fall out due to the fact I’m not 17 anymore with a thick set of hair.

What’s your point?

I would be completely fine to have no hair. Not only because I could buy many coloured wigs and have one for each day of the week but also because my self-esteem and self-worth as a person isn’t tied up in the quantity or quality of the hair I have on my head (or legs – they’re hairy).

I’m not saying I don’t get insecure – I do. I get terribly insecure when the majority of people around me interject their opinions as to what they think I should do with my body or what they think is wrong with my body. When a large majority of people all say the same thing, you begin to doubt yourself, you begin to think it’s true (“Well if everyone else is saying X instead of Y like I think, X must be true”). It’s a logical fallacy known as “Argument ad poulum” and in psychology the phenomenon is called “internalising”. Basically internalisation happens when a ton of douchebags tell you negative things about you, you begin to believe them (even if it isn’t true and in reality those douchebag are abusing you).

You see internalisation quite a lot in the queer community. When you’re bombarded with homophobic attitudes not just from individuals but from the culture you reside in – it seeps into your brain and you begin to believe all the homophobic opinions that you’re exposed to. When you’re a young queer person, that can be quite damaging so you internalise all these horrible thoughts about being gay, you discover you’re gay yourself and you grow up to be an anti-gay senator preaching homophobic opinions (so no one thinks you’re gay) while getting caught in the toilet with other anti-gay senators.

Which is exactly why I’m wary enough to call bullshit until evidence is presented – when women say they’re on a diet or tanning or getting botox or wear makeup or whatever the fuck else women do simply because it makes them feel good. Women are bombarded everyday by stick thin models living on a steady diet of crack and dreams, mocking them from the pages of magazines and on their tv screens, making the average woman feel bad about never being able to have the bodies these models work hard at starving themselves to maintain. This bombardment is so prevalent in our society and has become so normalised that it is accepted by women everywhere – to the point where they can’t see that it is happening. It’s so normalised that an entire woman’s “culture” has been created around it. “Women’s interests” in the magazine section of a local newsagents include: beauty magazines, trashy gossip magazines, pregnancy magazines and recipe books.

For women in Australia (I’m Australian so I’ll write in the context of Australia) there is a blurred line between feeling good for themselves and feeling good because they’ll be closer to the accepted beauty standard. The bombardment of shit in today’s society for women is closely tied into the gender policing culture in which we all live. Men are policed to believe to be a man they have to like fishing and motorbikes and not caring about your looks whereas for women, they are policed to believe that to be accepted as “real” women – they have to get pregnant, cook the food, look after the kids, obsess over their looks while gossiping because apparently women can’t dialogue about anything relevant to having an education and only prattle on about asinine bullshit. Women are shamed everyday for having bodies, average, natural bodies. Women are disempowered by the media and their fellow women all in the beauty industries pursuit of making money. Instead of our bodies and insecurities being treated like commodities to make cash off of, we should be empowering each other to not need those things, to feel accepted in being us naturally, to feel great about our natural bodies and what we have to offer the world.

Anything outside of this is considered “alternate”, alternate as defined by the Merriam Webster online dictionary:
“different from the usual or conventional: existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or economic system”

Different from the usual or conventional. The fact that things like tattoos, piercings, childfree by choice, being gay etc, has at one time or another been referred to as “alternative lifestyles” means that the above described policed “acceptable” lifestyle is considered the norm.

One last food for thought in the form of an excerpt from Audrey Brashich: All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty:

     “Before hooking up with Ashton Kutcher, actress Demi Moore reportedly had a $400,000 total body makeover.

  • - Botox injections in her face at the cost of $4,000 three times per year.
  • - Surgery costing $10,000 to replace her breast implants with smaller ones.
  • - Liposuction worth $15,000 to suck fat out of her stomach, buttocks and thighs.
  • - Collagen injections in her lips and other skin treatments that cost $6,240.
  • - White porcelain veneers for her teeth that cost $16,000.
  • - A nutritionist that cost $22,000.
  • - A personal trainer that cost $25,000.
  • - A $15,600 yoga instructor.
  • - A kickboxing coach that cost $230,000.”

Note: There are no typo’s in the above quote, Demi Moore has the money and resources to spend that much.

All to keep a man interested.

Thought: If you need to spend that much money, time and effort and change everything about yourself to keep someone interested, whether it be a friend, a potential partner or even family – why bother? If you need to change you to be accepted by others – those others aren’t people you should be around because they don’t value you as a person, they value the changed person you have become to impress them. Why be someone else and adhere to their standards rather than be yourself and be comfortable?

Fuck that noise.

Books to check out:
Audrey Bishich: All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype to Celebrate Real Beauty.
Bessie Bardot: Casting Couch Confidential.

Vids to check out:
Dove Commercial – What it takes to look like an airbrushed billboard

If you like some of the things I say – feel free to add me to your RSS feed, comment or email me: rayne@insufferableintolerance.com. I now have a facebook page! Feel free to like my page by clicking here!

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About the Author

Goth. Metal music. Tea. Books.

2 Responses to The cost of beauty

  1. Haley says:

    Another astonishing article that has honestly made me realize what a hurtful world we live in. Thankyou

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