What is Beauty?

This week a story in the news has my attention. In San Francisco, USA, a woman has been injecting her eight-year-old daughter with botox in order to get rid of her “wrinkles” for the purpose of making her more competition-ready for child beauty pageants.

Wow. Because pageants haven’t pushed the envelope too far already. Spray tanning, hair colouring, waxing, makeup, teeth-whitening… These are things us grown women find exhausting at times, but we perform these rituals because we are under the impression they make us more competition-ready for life. Society-ready. Work-ready, restaurant-ready, street-ready, date-ready, beach-ready, bed-ready… mind-ready, relationship-ready, success-ready. SELF-WORTH-READY.

Believe me, the irony of me being a professional makeup artist writing this piece about the frivolity of western beauty is not lost on me, but I do feel that makeup is the lesser of the many, many self-esteem thinning rituals we impose on ourselves. And definitely the most fun. The funny thing is,  on one hand I do feel there is an acceptance in the fact that we do it to ourselves as consenting and willing adults. On the other hand, I wonder at what point we all got the message we’re not worthy just as we are.

While none of us suffered the extreme of our own mother telling us we had to get rid of our wrinkles (aka dimples) with a painful cosmetic procedure,  at what point did we all fall into line with The Beauty Thing, anyway? Forget the collagen, botox, breast augmentation, and nose jobs, even the “small” stuff is pretty extreme when you add up how many hours, dollars, and thoughts we put into our physical appearance every week.

Does this mean I’m going to give up colouring my hair, wearing makeup, waxing, exfoliating, moisturising or getting my nails done? Oh hells no, surely not. I’m simply questioning the logic of it all – where it came from and why we are all so happy to fold to the expectation and tow the line. And my question to you now is, what is beauty, anyhow?

Heidi Montag - before and after her gazillion surgeries. Which is more beautiful?

Images courtesy of We Heart It

Author: Sally T