Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some Thoughts on Make-up, Beauty and Being a Girl

"If you can't love yourself, how in the HELL are you gonna love somebody else?"
~ RuPaul

Anyone who knows me in person knows how strongly I believe that our society's current definition of "beauty" is unattainable, unhealthy and ridiculous. In an age of digital photography and Photoshop, the pursuit of "perfection" has become absurd. Gorgeous women, who even in person conform most closely to that narrow definition of "beautiful", are enhanced, retouched, airbrushed and "perfected" until they barely resemble themselves. Women and girls look at that photo, believe THAT is how the model or celebrity really looks and wonder why they will never look the same. Men are made to believe that is what they should want. And what about the subject of the photo herself? How would you like to be, in effect, told despite the fact you live on half a rice cake a day, have had your hair colored, your teeth capped, spent hours working out and having your hair and makeup done so you can look like the "ideal", that you still aren't good enough? It's complete madness.

So given the fact I feel this way, WHY in the world have I started a blog about make-up and nail polish? WHY have I started making "beauty" videos on YouTube? Well, I have a lot of reasons - both simple and complex - but the most basic reason is because I love it. I love wearing make-up and nail polish, coloring my hair and playing with my appearance. I enjoy making myself look different each day. Not better, just different. I like sharing with others and I like passing on what I'm learning.

I enjoy being a girl. I adore it, in fact! Sure, it's hard sometimes. I hate being treated as "less than" like we often are. I don't like double standards and workplace inequality. And I don't like having to use a step stool to reach the top cupboard (but that's more about being a tad short than being female.) But overall, being a girl is a lot of fun! Wearing makeup, nail polish, heels, and dying my hair is part of me being, well, me! I don't, for one one-thousandth of a nanosecond think that all girls should enjoy or do those things. Nor do I think that those of use who do are in any way more feminine than those who don't. We are all individuals and our experience of being female is as unique as our beauty.

And we are all beautiful! Yes, you. You. are. beautiful. If no one has told you that today and you haven't gotten around to telling yourself yet (because I know you were going to, right?) then hear me now. You are beautiful. I'll say it again. You are beautiful.

Do you hold your head up and look people in the eye when you talk to them? That's beautiful. Do you have a kind heart that is open and willing to help others? That's beautiful. Are you honestly happy for someone else when they achieve a goal even if you have the same one and haven't quite gotten there yet? Gorgeous. Do you honor and respect your body as it is right now and realize that it is giving you the gift of life this very moment? Brilliant and beautiful!

And most of all, do you SMILE? Nothing is more beautiful on anyone than a full face smile. A real, authentic smile starts in your heart and is expressed as much, if not more, with the light in your eyes as with your lips. That type of smile brings light into the world and sharing that with others and with yourself in the mirror is truly a gift. That's beauty, my friend. It doesn't cost a dime and you don't need to watch a video to learn how to do it.

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