InstaFace & Beauty Standards VS NATURE
Cultural Humanist Commentary
Let’s start from the beginning. ME. The person who’s writing this deeply felt emotional essay on - really - self-love & self-hate. I don’t want to judge. After all, I am a victim of beauty standards.
While I know I am beautiful, I also know I’m not necessarily pretty according to regular beauty standards. If I would analyze my face while comparing it to the overall trend, I’d say it’s too asymmetrical, too wide, eyes could be bigger, and the nose is too wide.
However, if I can call a lot of people with wide noses beautiful. This is where I realize this struggle is fully internalized choose-your-own-adventure-on-this-brainwashed-rollercoaster. 'Cause according to the standard... of euro-centric beauty, everyone has to have a thin nose to be considered attractive aka that's literally anyone existing in the contemporary digital landscape. And then, for a second, we get to the futuristic digital "racially ambiguous" age, where females have to possess fat plump lips, big booties, large breasts, this waists, big eyes & high cheekbones to be qualified as pretty / sexy (what a tiring list) ->>
You see, where this is headed? An "Instagram face" phenomena. The term appeared on the internet already a few years ago, while I was laying under some rock in a dream world, going back & forth between loving how I look & low-key hating it.
IG influencers weren’t losing their precious time.
It all started from filters of Snapchat, IG & Facetune offering us a generous gift of plastic surgery with one easy move. Duh, I look good like that, who doesn’t. The problem, just like with the makeup, is the polarity of what we get when we alter our faces against what we look at before & after the mask is taken off*.
People, mostly young women, go to surgeons, that see the desired alterations as a rather normality & of course the reason of their income. I wonder if any of them even consider the insecurity that their clients are coming from, and that the surgeries can make insecurities grow.
Is it really a normality or is it the death of uniqueness, where a supposed pretty privilege** thrives?
For influencers & celebs good looks equal business. It is as clear a sunny day, that we all wanna have some good business while feeling good about ourselves, even if it means going overboard. And by all means, sometimes it ends up looking spectacular.
Who is looking up to them? Everyone, but most importantly Gen Z+.
If most teenagers could have plastic surgery during developing years, of course they would. Surprisingly, very often they can now. Apparently, in England, some plastic surgeons wouldn’t even ask for an ID. Before their faces complete their predestined journey*****.
It’s interesting, that different alterations give me different supposed sensations - either absolutely attracting me or repelling me. Plastic surgeries, different aggressive body modulations & some piercings give off the feeling of pain. Almost as if we would project that pain from our emotional body to see it being transformed on a physical plane towards some ideal. Unless it can be somehow therapeutic?
That doesn't even make a difference in the end, if the ideal keeps on being pushed further. Maybe that's the question towards human strive for perfectionism inside & outside - where would be, if not that motivation?
I know there are times something’s gotta change for a person to feel more normal, at home with their body, and not to be bullied anymore. So here comes an interesting thing: my perception tells me, that some flaws are okay to be removed, when everything else should be tolerated...
I wanna see the actual studies, reporting ultimate happiness from people, who try to showcase it that hard to the world via their social platforms. In reality, I see lots of despair underneath it all, coming from the disillusion of real life against the carefully build facade of Pretty. Following the desire to be pretty, people again & again go towards changing their appearance. I get it. I’ve been there. I’m kind of a fan of makeup. I think it’s both a fun & a dangerous game. For example, I feel the distance between the face I see as beautiful in my reflection when I leave my house, and the face that meets me once I come back unless there is makeup on, making me look flawless.
Knowing I am a victim of beauty standards, sends me on lots of inquiry journeys. I am so excited about people choosing to exhibit their natural skin without makeup, same with hair, tiny/regular size butts & breasts, more so than the overall conformity to the current world beauty standards. Buying into vanity causes us time wasted. When we could take care of our depths and physical health health, we cover up.
I wonder if it is rather from a place of inertial reflection, shallow satisfaction and societal pressures, that I continuously commit to the ritual of makeup, than from a place of genuine belief, that it changes me for the better. I often feel either too done up or not done up enough. My skin is suffering from the foundation, but I am too embarrassed by my pimples (“too old for that”) or facial hair (“too femme- looking for that”) or redness or pores and wrinkles (“I am old now”) to stop using it, even when I see, that my skin, when well-taken care of, looks vibrant & wonderful.
The fact, that some of my apparent physical flaws can be covered up so easily, as well as the subjective thoughts of “I am confident now” or “I look hot now” make it hard to say full-on “goodbye” to makeup routines; however, the more I get to wear it, the more I want to wear it.
It brings me back to the original thought process of humanity from ages ago, that led us here. Wanting our flaws to be invisible. Now realizing the authenticity I want to live in, I want to ask myself: is it really what I want? Or do I want to create a world, where people look at each other with compassion & acceptance, as a whole?
Yes, it is creative & fun, and can also be an art-form.
If I wanna rule my mind & have a more conscious choice on the matters, aiming to feel beautiful 100% of the time, I’d do makeup 80% of the time less. To make my normal face not feel faded without it. Only to create art in form of continuation of me, IRL or URL... while keeping myself in check, not having to blend the lines so drastically. I wish for that for us. Knowing when to stop and take a break from a job of creating a persona.
Then we’re coming to the concept of beauty being a concept. You don’t have to beautiful to be valid, relevant, talented, accepted etc. An example can be the fact, that anyone you’d get close to looks prettier and prettier the more you love them. Real deal. Or have I been dating only babes? What if everyone is a babe, as long as their being resonates with you?
Going back to physical mutilations... I am just me, with my own bias based on a desire to not go under the knife for as long as I can. A few years ago I had to have an actual surgery, having to remove cancer from my neck. Surgeries don’t sound like fun to me. No, thanks. If I would do something, it would have to be after getting convinced I have to. Is it what plastic surgery clients/patients think?!
So they have to look that specific type of pretty? Then, again, I go under the needle to get tattoos and find that normal...
Also, while writing this, I took a long good look at myself, realizing, that people could consider plastic surgery as easily as I consider daily makeup. I’ve realized, that if I had more cash flow & a different upbringing, I’d consider all facial alterations more.
After all, we all are only human...
I’m truly sorry, boos, that this world moulded our minds to have to upkeep with the fake standards. Internalized guilt for flaws aka shame really shouldn’t define, how much time we spend fuelling vain standards, fed to us via mass media.
I just want to wonder & experiment, if it’s possible to treat nature within us as a divine force it’s meant to be, as it's gifted, and how that looks like within the context of beauty.
Ultimately, it’s everyone’s choice of what to do with their bodies. Sometimes it’s shocking, but it’s not my business, or is it? I can only sit here with genuine compassion & worry like some Millenial grandma, writing some cultural commentary with the hopes of contributing to the critical human thought evolution.
* Youtuber Anna’s Analysis talks about it well in her video about why she doesn’t wear make-up
** Another great Youtuber, Khadija Mbowe talks about pretty privilege, that despite bringing things to people, it also doesn’t take away the regular human hardships. + Pierre XO mentions, that if he wasn’t an ugly duckling, he wouldn’t develop other qualities. That pretty people are consistently bombarded by social attention (and expectation - that’s my thinking, probably inspired by like 4 different people I listened to on the topic). He also talks about blurring the lines of digital & real you personas.
*** I also want to mention Tee Noir (also YouTuber, you see the trend here), which majorly inspired me on the topic. I think it was her, who mentioned that beauty is a concept.
**** I also LOVE love this experiment of doing an Instagram face with make-up, looking at the effect it had on the author https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/5c237a34-7a47-4deb-a5b4-a23e77cc88f7
***** Yeah, if there should be any belief in destiny, I think our physical development might give us some serious reasons to put that in motion, genes and whatnot.