Hi! Hope you had a beautiful spring weekend. Monday came a little quick for my liking, but it couldn't be a prettier one. My sleepy self will just have to do a lot of sunshine-sitting with my little Lamb. Some geniuses decided 5am was the right time to come cut some tree stumps out of the sidewalk and it seriously sounded like the end of the world. I'm still like, low-key furious about it.
Anyways, I mentioned last week that I've been thinking about beauty standards and the whole anti-aging scene. I'm sure you've seen this article going around on Facebook, and it really put me into a funk when I read it. This is SO NOT what the conversation about beauty should be like, the way this went down was bullshit, and that woman had every right to put that man in his place. The thousands of likes and shares only further show how many women identified with and supported this woman. But it bummed me out. I think my initial feelings of defensiveness came from knowing that I have play a part in this industry, and the last thing I want is to ever make a person feel like they need to look a certain way. That's horrifying to me.
To me, beauty has always been coupled with self-care and self-esteem. Are there societal pressures that are ingrained deep within me and everyone else in the world that are toxic and wrong? Of course, I've been waxing my 'stache since I was 11 for a reason! But that doesn't mean that I haven't evolved as a woman and as a feminist, and can see that you can appreciate beauty, angi-aging products, and not be practicing self-hatred. I could go into all the ways that it doesn't make me a bad feminist to want to look pretty and young. But I know those reasons and I am pretty sure you do too, I won't insult your intelligence by assuming that you don't know that. That's old news by now.
But what I do really want to emphasize, is that beauty should first and foremost be a way for you to take care of yourself in the same was as eating healthy and exercising. I'm not particularly worried about my wrinkles, but I do love the ritual of putting all my creams on my face in the evening. It's five minutes where I'm not picking dog hair up off the floor, or cooking, or writing, or cleaning baby butts, or drowning in anxiety. The act of doing it makes me feel good in the moment, as well as when I wake up and my skin feels refreshed and perky. I love knowing that I'm keeping my skin healthy, and as a result, youthful. To say nothing of the fact that something like wearing SPF could actually save your life! I take that aspect of skincare super seriously!
I think what I'm trying to say is, however bungled and uneloquently, that you just need to do you. We are all fed these ideas of what women's bodies are supposed to look like from the day we are born. I can't remember a time in my life where I wasn't listening to the adult women around me discuss their diets and body fat and wrinkles, and my previous work in the acting world only further cemented that if you don't look like a teen well into your thirties then you are not gonna work that much. It sucks. And it's reinforced everywhere, constantly. (If I have to see another one of my male peers date a 23 year old I'm gonna barf.) But that's certainly not changing anytime soon. Youth and beauty will always be comodified and worshipped. I think what we can do is look at ourselves and see how we are complicit in this system. Do we talk about our bodies negatively around children? Why are we REALLY waxing every inch of our bodies? Are we really doing it because "I prefer it that way?" Does wanting to look a certain way come from a place of self-love and self-care, or because we are afraid of falling behind the status quo? How can we use beauty and self-acceptance as a means of dismantling the patriarchy?
For my part, I just want to keep learning to love myself, and to not make anyone feel that any of this beauty stuff is a NEED. It should always be a WANT. And you should want it because it makes you happy and feel good. I love that makeup makes me feel more confident and more like myself. But truthfully, I wear makeup maybe three days a week. I go months without threading my eyebrows, I can take or leave shaving my armpits, and I will wear sunscreen every day until I die. Hopefully not of skin cancer. But hopefully very old and very wrinkly.