There I was, mid-afternoon Saturday, in a store when two young women dressed in high heels, shorts dresses, and a full face of glamour walked by. They stole both my attention and my friend Charles’s. Seeing the Friday night party attire on these ladies caused my friend to say he hates “when women wear all that make-up.” He’d rather have a natural look. It got me thinking is it a crime to heavy up the eye make-up and pucker up the bold lips with a slightly scandalous look? When is it too much? If there was a scanner that detected when women cross the line from pretty to pretty outrageous & the stores would probably being selling that too but it’s up to us to decide. Are our standards of beauty changing or is the standard of beauty a double standard? Should we show our true identities and risk being judged? Or is the our #OOTD (outfits of the day) or #ImageofTheDay merely a form of dress-up? Whether we dress for comfort, dress for style, or dress sharp the world is watching. Each occasion, each day, demands an outfit. Your appearance is a snapshot of your persona and although your exterior is only the outermost layer of who you are it’s a major part of your first impression. To judge or not to judge.
Image credit: Courtney M. Privett (S/O to you Courtney; love your work Courtney; you go Courtney!)
The ‘natural look’ is still make-up. Truth be told, only the flawless are accepted for their bare, pure, au-natural make-up less faces. We women fight ourselves and harp on each other to achieve a standard of beauty, and apparently men are doing it too. Judging themselves and women. Sure, on television it’s more common to see a fat husband, skinny wife. Although, there seems to be higher standards for even men to look more fit and handsome than ever before. Whether it’s to be buff, tough, or the typically ladies’ man. Are the levels of respect for our bodies and our identities getting better or just more of a hot topic? Maybe the line between healthy and attractive has become so blurred the messages we receive are confused. She should wear that, she needs more color there, and less here. There is nothing wrong with caring for your skin, your hair, your teeth, and even dressing up. It is our right. Besides, if you want to get your teeth whitened by a Dentist in Woodbridge then it is your prerogative to do so. As long as it makes you happy, who is anyone to judge?
The trouble is knowing who the real ‘you’ is, do you present to the world the ‘you’ they will see? Or is your true-self lost in a sea of half truths about appearance? Are scares covered, tattoos hidden, freckles shamed or celebrated? No wonder Halloween is so fun! So freeing! Judgement disarmed because whether we’re comfortable or not in costume, our costumes are the armor that shields who we really are. One day a year we have fun with our identity but maybe we can gain another day free of judgement, and another, when we start to look past the exterior to who the person really is. The content of their character. A size is just a number, not a ranking. Is a happy, healthy, balance of our identity conveyed in the clothes we wear, the looks we put together each day as we travel through one and others’ lives? Or are the outfits we wear akin to facades, like masks, so we can keep our backs from turning on the strangers we meet, afraid of being seen as a label instead of ourselves? I am certain we have to learn to love ourselves from the inside out and remember we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Unless you’re Lady Gaga…then of course you have a glam team (and thank God she does because she is phenomenal!)Maybe then we can tackle serious topics like eating disorders, bullying, and mental health because we deserve better for ourselves and for others.
Do women and men really like to play dress up or is society telling us what we want? I wonder will the messages of the ideal body, the ideal look have to change in order to empower women and men or do we have the power to empower ourselves and change the message?