It’s inevitable, we are all going to grow old. I didn’t think too much about it until my 27th birthday, and then BOOM! As I faced my reflection, I could see every imperfection on my face. It was as though someone held a gigantic magnifying glass over my entire head. Suddenly, I could see every pore on my skin, which seemed to have trebled in size! I could see my bulging eye bags screaming ‘We need sleep!”. I could see my patchy complexion begging to be replenished.
When did I get so old?
Up until my rude awakening, I had a really basic skin regime, consisting of soap and water! Since then I have gone into hypo-drive, researching the best wrinkle creams, trying out new products and even contemplating more dramatic beauty-enhancing procedures. Like many, I have fallen victim to the ‘beauty industry trap’.
Picture this scene, you are in your favourite cosmetic store and a NEW beauty product catches your eye. You can’t help but pick it up off the shelf and gaze at what this BRILLIANT product has to offer. For this product claims to make you look 10 years younger and feel it too. I know, I’m already bought!
As you can see, it’s so easy to fall into the mass-marketing that surrounds us daily. We are all looking for that miracle cream which can mysteriously reverse the natural process of ageing. I hold my hands up, for I am guilty of buying large sums of beauty products on the basis of what they claim to offer.
If I see a cream that claims to illuminate my fine lines, my money is out and I’m ready to buy it! If I see a mascara that will treble the size of my lashes, it’s already in my handbag. If I see a tube of lip gel suggesting it can make my lips look plumper, it’s already on my lips. If there is a toothpaste claiming that I could have the same big pearly whites as the person on the box, I’m brushing my teeth vigorously as I type! Okay, so the last one was an over-exaggeration, but that very toothpaste is sat upon my vanity shelf collecting dust alongside the many other waste-of-money must haves!
Sadly, I haven’t found the miracle cream of my dreams, but do I keep on searching? Or do I indulge in something that will give me more rapid results?
The fakery frenzy has taken over, and It has become something of the norm to see people walking around the colour of a coffee bean. The digestive biscuit-smelling, tan-tastics have taken the term ‘the future’s bright…the future’s orange’ a bit too literal. I am partial to a bit of fake tan, but at the same time, feel we need to be true to ourselves. What’s going on? White people are turning into black people, and black people are turning into white people? Can’t we just be happy in our own skin? The world is being taken over by this fakery bug. Once it bites us, we begin to feel naked without our layer-cake foundations, over-sized false eyelashes, and hair extensions more Ethiopian than our native. Why do we feel the need to hide our true beauty?
I feel the media is to blame when the celebrities, we look up to, are dramatically altering themselves to gain popularity. If we alter ourselves, will we be more likeable? If we look younger, will we be more respected?
It sounds ludicrous, but it’s true. Looks are becoming more important than ever. In a job interview, who is more likely to be employed – the 55-year-old with a lifetime of experience, or the attractive 21-year-old, fresh out of university with little experience? You would be surprised, and a little saddened, to hear the answer.
Unrealistic expectations of beauty are shoved in our faces on a daily basis. These air-brushed beauties with their flawless skin and perfect figures are absorbed into our psyche, mind-washing us into thinking we ‘must look this way’. Often, the images we inspire to, are not as authentic as we may assume. The majority of pictures we see, in the glossy magazines we buy, have been dramatically modified and air-brushed with the assistance of Photoshop. What kind of message is this sending to an already looks-obsessed society? It’s hardly surprising why people are resulting in such drastic measures to prolong their youthfulness.
This Photoshop culture sends us the harmful message, in which a person’s physicality sets the definitive standard of their beauty and worth. There is no surprise that we are trying so desperately hard to obtain a certain, and often unrealistic, set of physical attributes. The media tells us that if we look a certain way, or behaviour in a certain way, we will be given the key to self-worth, empowerment and success.
Sure enough, this might empower us to attain the things we want to in life, but in the pursuit of achieving these unrealistic goals, it is important to remember, that you will also be reducing your self-worth to nothing other than a physical attribute. The question we should be asking is; aren’t we worth more than this?
Surely, we need to give ourselves a break? As intellectual human beings, we are well-aware that these men with the over-sized muscles, and these women with their super slim waists, have been heavily tampered with, in the revolution that is Photoshop. Unfortunately, these so-called perfect images are the norm in advertising. Despite not being a true reflection of reality, many of us are aspiring to be these impossible ideals. The pressure to conform to such constricted archetypes have left people feeling overwhelmed and self-loathing.
It’s clear to see why so many of us cave into the temptations of the beauty industry trap. Too frightened to be ourselves, many of us, have sought comfort in putting on our masks. The unrealistic, and often unattainable, expectations of so-called ‘true beauty’, is making people dissatisfied with their bodies and consequently, pushing vulnerable people to suffer mental illnesses such as eating disorders, and body dysmorphia. Others are turning to quick fixes such as diet pills or steroid. Alarmingly, younger and younger people are turning to more invasive quick-fix solutions like cosmetic surgery and Botox injections.
It’s no surprise that more and more people are putting their lives at risk, to look how they perceive as the ideal? Cosmetic surgery is becoming a normality amongst us none-celebrities. The media constantly bombard us with images of the surgery-enhanced, and supposedly, perfect bodied. We have grown accustomed to the bee-stung faces that dominate our TV screens.
Many people are choosing to have the same invasive surgeries, in pursuit of achieving the perfect bodies. However, the surgeries don’t always go to plan. Sometimes the desired results aren’t attained and the patient is left underwhelmed, or worse still, even more dissatisfied than pre-surgery. Plastic surgeons are performing on patients younger than 20-years-old. Shockingly, 16-year-olds, without a wrinkle in sight, are now getting Botox. Where do we draw the line?
We are doing all we can to claw back our yesteryear. However, no matter how much we rub that miracle cream into our facial creases, the clock can’t turn back its hands of time. It’s inevitable, we are all growing old. Some people choose to grow old gracefully, others opt for cosmetic help. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make.
‘Beauty is skin deep’.
As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. If only people worked as hard on their interior as they do their exterior, perhaps we wouldn’t have transformed into the appearance-driven society, we are today.