“Beauty comes from within makeup can only accentuate one’s features, but it’s the personality that can carry it through” – Davinia Fermi, Professional Makeup Artist
In today’s media driven society, we are constantly confronted with constructed notions of what it is to be Beautiful. Technology has enabled re-touching and digitalisation to such a point that beauty, as defined by movie stars and models in magazines, is an almost impossible target for most women because it simply isn’t REAL. Yesterday I saw Dove’s latest marketing campaign, where they used the concept of “selfies” to help teenage girls and their mothers re-define their notions of beauty and it made me think about myself, and what I think beauty is.
A Bit About Me
I’m a 21 year old Australian woman with thick, long brown hair, hazel eyes, a slightly olive complexion and a face full of freckles. I happen to be quite content with how I look, but this wasn’t always the case. Even now I wouldn’t rush to call myself “beautiful”; But why not? I love to hear it from someone else as much as the next person, yet I seem to think that there is some taboo against thinking it of ourselves; as if this instantly makes us vain when in all honesty, thinking of ourselves as beautiful is one of the most empowering things we can do.
I thought I would share some personal thoughts and experiences, about how I have come to be comfortable in my own skin, and how I have learnt to see myself as beautiful in the hope that it will assist others in making that realisation of themselves because we all, have the potential to be beautiful, if only we embrace it.
Having Good Role Models
I was very lucky to grow up in a family of older women. I have two beautiful big sisters, 8 and 11 years older than me respectively, along with my Mother. My sisters helped me understand the importance of looking after my skin from a young age, and passed on a lot of handy tips and tricks of the trade which has (along with the luck of the gene pool) definitely helped me avoid going through acne or other skin problems through my teenage years. They are also very grounded women, women who I’ve always respected and seen as beautiful with or without a face full of makeup.
Look for women around you who you think of as beautiful, note how they look with and without makeup and think about whether your opinion changes of them either way. Get out of the tabloids and look at some female leaders and thought provokers. Our image of beauty within society is often warped by what we see in movies and in magazines, start looking at the women around you, you might be surprised with what you find.
Being Comfortable Without Makeup
Mum never let me wear makeup to school. This rule, whilst seemingly unfair at the time, helped me realise that no one really noticed, and the people that did were often the ones who were most insecure in themselves. By waiting until I was older before a “makeup routine” became part of my day-to-day life, I learnt to be comfortable in my own skin, and realise that the friends I had liked me the way I was and anyone who did tease, taunt or comment was not worth worrying over.
It’s always hard to be the brunt of other people’s cruelty, however I’ve learnt that the people willing to spend their time with nasty comments, or worrying over other people’s appearances are the ones with the lowest self confidence in themselves. Be kind to others, recognise other’s kindness towards you and try and let slide any negative comments that come your way.
My Beauty Routine
I make a point of wearing very minimal make-up. I won’t lie, often I do feel more confident and “feminine” when wearing a bit of mascara and lippy, but I’ve learnt to let the makeup accentuate my features, rather than alter the way I look.
I wear mineral foundation and bronzer with a tad of eye shadow, kohl pencil and mascara. The whole routine takes me about 5 minutes of a morning and the difference is very slight. What this means is that whilst I feel more confident, others can’t easily tell whether or not I’m wearing makeup which means on make-up free days (of which I make a point of having a couple of days every week) I don’t feel self conscious, even if out and about, at work or at University.
I’ve known a number of women who were very self conscious and felt “naked” without makeup and would never be caught dead without it. If this rings true, I would recommend moving slowly into reducing the amount you wear, a couple of days a week when your social interactions are limited, and then once you are comfortable with this take small steps to taking one or two “makeup free days” a week. These days don’t just help boost confidence, they also help your skin breath and will help clear the skin of any impurities, also helping you feel more comfortable in your own skin.
Am I Beautiful
I’ve never been a head turner, but that’s okay. I’m confident in who I am and how I look and I honestly believe that a genuine smile is the best make-up a girl can wear. My partner of 3 years has never really been one to compliment me on my appearance, but that’s also okay, because instead he compliments my intelligence, and laughs at my jokes. I know he loves me for who I am, rather than for trying to fit in some social mould of “beautiful”, and I also know he does find me beautiful, just doesn’t feel the need to express it because, as he has said himself, “that’s not what matters, who you are is what matters”. It’s so true. Beauty isn’t some untouchable goal, it’s how you perceive it. As one beautiful woman one said:
“For beautiful Eyes, look for the good in others, for beautiful lips speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone”
– Audrey Hepburn
So forgetting other people’s opinions, and creating my own definition, do I think I’m beautiful?
I believe I am a beautiful person, and how I look only makes up a small part of that, as it does for the 3.5 billion, beautiful women out there in the world.
So tell me, how do you define beauty, and can you see yourself as the beautiful person you are?
Photo by Timothy Marsee
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12 thoughts on “Redefining Beauty”
Learning to enjoy your real beauty is the best advice given on how to be beautiful. I am sure that you see a diverse range of beauty in your professional life. Social media has enabled all of us to see more and be more.
Social media can be constructive and deceptive at the the same time. The perception of beauty is often competitive. How can anyone possibly compete against somebody that doesn’t exist?
Models that have been modified by PhotoShop are not real. Their images may be an altered version of reality which is, of course, not real.
You are beautiful, Aisha. Thank you for sharing your beauty.
First off, let me tell you that I love your name! I knew a great woman in college with the same name and have fallen in love with it ever since I first heard it pronounced.
What beautiful sentiments–really! I have always believed that every single person has a beauty in them regardless of their outside appearance.
I am well acquainted with a man who has craniofacial disfigurement, as does his daughter and his son. People often stare at them and throughout their lives, people have made disparaging remarks to cut them down. They have always (as far as I have known) taken the high road and refused to let it make them hateful of the whole human race.
Why do we so often judge people by the way they look? Can’t we instead see their good qualities and let their personalities be what they were meant to be? Why do we so often see the negative instead of the positive?
I truly think that beauty lies within each one of us. We need to see the beauty of not just the women in the world but of the men and children as well.
I have also never been a head-turner and I prefer to wear as little make-up as possible. I know my husband, children, siblings and friends love me for who I am and not what I look like. We should scream it out to the whole world: Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder!
Thanks for a great reminder to all of us that we matter and that what the “world” tries to make us believe about ourselves is often false. The media’s perception of beauty is so off the mark that we would all do well to ignore it. I often felt the same way about the clothing we as women were always tried to have shoved in our faces. The world’s idea of fashion (or morals or anything for that matter) is so off target that I just ignore the media as much as possible these days.
Thankyou Christie! You’ve made me smile :)
I originally was writing the article aimed at both men and women, but my personal examples were so streamlined towards female perceptions of beauty I decided to focus on that and hope men could read between the lines and apply the same principles to themselves.
As for children, I believe they’re who we really need to be teaching. I love Audrey’s quote at the bottom of the article, and I think sentiments like that one really need to be used to help children understand, as you say, that it’s not what you look like, but how you act, and who you are.
Glad you enjoyed the article!
Take care and keep smiling :)
Majority of societies enforced ‘rules’ require redefining. It’s been imprinted in our DNA that we are our bodies, yet when we die, our bodies decay and our souls transition. Translation? We aren’t our bodies. It’s a mere vessel of communication and interaction with other vessels. Yes we should care for our bodies well – but not to the extreme of believing we are the container.
I believe we’re all beautiful, both our souls and bodies, and I disagree, beauty is not something to become if we could embrace it – it’s an ever existing fact that we have to accept – regardless of how the barbie mould of society screams it differently.
Thank you for the article. It was beautiful :)
Absolutely! And as you say we aren’t our bodies. We are our personalities, and how we treat others, that’s what makes us beautiful (at least in my opinion).
I love your point about beauty being an ever existing fact, that’s very well put!
Glad you enjoyed the article!
From a man’s point of view…
You understand that when we get to a certain age (maturity, not necessarily chronological) our definition of beauty changes drastically. The most attractive feature I find in a woman is CONFIDENCE. It can literally transform the appearance of a woman.
Glad you’re discovering this at a young age, Aisha. :)
Completely agree Larry!
It’s just a shame so many young women only see beauty as what is dictated by the media. We need more people expressing that beauty comes from within, a cliche, but it’s so true.
You are beautiful, indeed very beautiful and i could feel it in your words. No doubts..look at your words and you would feel it better than me.
You are beautiful in every aspect. We are all unique and beautiful individuals. And I agree, it is one’s self CONFIDENCE that makes one even more beautiful.
You’re spot on :)
Your post is SO inspiring. I think I may bookmark it. Being a teenager can be really difficult when it comes to self image. I’m constantly wondering if my make-up, hair, and clothes look alright. It’s completely ridiculous; I shouldn’t waste so much time worrying about that. I’ve slowly changed to a less stressed and worried person, I mean I do have a daily make-up routine but I do that for me and no one else (which I’m proud of considering how much I used to focus on other’s opinions). I am a much happier person and can be myself around others when I’m not stressing which is much more beautiful than some mascara. I wish more people my age would read your post!
Thanks so much Gaby,
I’m glad you could take something from it. Being a teenager can be hard, but trust me – there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel and when you reach it, you’ll look back and smile at how seriously you took everything.