I have been wanting to write a blog piece on this for some time now, and it comes at a point where I feel it’s even more important than ever to stress the issues that I am about to write about...
We live in a world that is consumed by image. I grew up in the 90's where size 0 was the desired look and magazines and TV were a young girl’s inspiration. I have to say I escaped my teenage years pretty unscathed, I didn't have an eating problem like many of my friends did and I lived a relatively healthy life. However, I can't help thinking that my experience whilst growing up has made me the way that I am today.
In a world where selfies are littered everywhere, quite literally everywhere and anywhere... (people have no shame!) It has become a world of online anonymity and false friendships based on 'likes' and 'love-hearts'. I literally saw someone taking a selfie in the gym last week... in the pool. I mean, I had to laugh, Im not sure why I was so shocked by the fact they had their phone out in the pool. They can't have been older than 20 but they are the primary users of social media and obviously have a constant requirement to share what they are doing every minute and second of the day. That was probably what got to me was the fact that, you can’t enjoy a moment of peace in a pool without posting what you’re doing. When did it become an aspiration to get over 100 likes on a photo by people you barely even know? Young girls DESPERATE to be famous... and why? ...because their idols are. It’s all about trying to uphold an image, letting people see what you want them to see rather than the truth.
I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. I love it because it’s an amazing platform for people who are in business, people who want to share pictures with loved ones, friends and family and those that are using it for research, sharing a message etc. However, there is a side to Instagram and other social media platforms which I hate, a big part that I hate in fact. The side that requires people to filter, edit and change the pictures they post so that they don't even look remotely like the original. The false sense of perfect- people making themselves thinner, more tanned, bigger eyes, skin so flawless it could be printed in vogue. The list of things you can do, rival that of a photographer, and this is where my issue lies. This constant pressure to look great has gone too far.
It's no different to the days of aspiring to being size 0 apart from instead of being twig thin, the trend now is to have a big ass, big boobs, tiny waist, big lips, short hair. nope...long hair, which can be died from dark to blonde overnight then back to dark and pink just 24 hours later. To have the most perfect skin, contoured and highlighted within an inch of its life, so that the sun reflects back to a satellite off your cheekbones and you're so contoured that your face looks like its 3x smaller than it should be. To have the latest trainers, outfits, cars, watches and material things, because they make you happy. And don't even get me started on the muscly bodies of men that litter my screen... And not in a good way either! Workouts which totally contradict each other...Vegans are taking over the world one meat eater at a time and well
F*ck it. I'm exhausted.
Seriously everywhere I look on Instagram are the same pictures of girls and guys looking IDENTICAL. I swear I can't tell the difference anymore. You all know the look I'm talking about too and either that's you or someone you know. It’s totally un-achievable. Its influencing young girls and boys, making them feel inferior like they are not good enough and self-conscious. What happened to everyone being their own person. What happened to people being unique and owning a personality?
As a make-up artist I would say my style is natural yet beautiful. 'Instagram make-up’ doesn't suit everyone, I don't stamp the same look on each person, they are individuals and should be treated as such.. Everyone deserves to be made to feel beautiful and I do that with makeup by enhancing their best features. If I had a £1 for every time someone sat in my chair and complained about not just one thing but literally a list of things they didn’t like about their face- I’d be rich! Instead I don’t ask what they dislike, but only about their best features, giving compliments so that they leave feeling the best they have ever felt.
I am not yet a mum but I have got little people around me and have been told that I am a role model for many young girls (and boys) but mainly girls because of my job. I don't think I could cope with bringing up a child in this world, everyone being so image conscious. I generally worry about the influences that they are under in school and life. There is no escape anymore. Nowadays kids have Ipads, TVs and access to all sorts of online material. Its worrying that its everywhere and inescapable. Whilst they can be wonderful pieces of information, I can’t help feeling like the masses abuse what they're actually for. It’s the same with social media, without intention, it has morphed into a platform to influence the majority and it's no wonder there is such a huge rise in people having plastic surgery, problems with body image, crazy diets, body dis-morphia and so on.
Without going too much into detail, I was 17 when my godmother passed away from a brain tumour, apart from my own mum, she was the best role model I had and was a huge influence on me in the fact that she was a successful business woman, beautiful, strong and independent. Everything she did I looked up to and to this day I still remember things she said and did.
(how has this got anything to do with social media you ask? stay with me...)
It doesn't, not really. It's to do with my influences. A few years later my own Mum got cancer and fought it for 2 years, finally and successfully beating it. I say this rather loosely because although the cancer is out of her body, every day is a constant reminder of the trauma she had to overcome, her body scarred from many operations, chemo and radiotherapy. Every day I think of my mum and others who have had to endure a similar experience, or in many cases far worse. Every day it angers me to think about these young people who are constantly worried about their appearance, how if they change all these things about them will they be happier? All I'll say is that some people don't get that choice. Like my mum, her body has been ruined by something out of her control. (Don't get me wrong she's still beautiful) but these people take their bodies and faces for granted. The influence this has had on me, made me think long and hard about how I feel about the way that I look.
From that point onward, I've not ever taken for granted what I have been born with, whilst we are being TRUTHFUL there are things that sometimes I look at and don't like, I have 'fat days' like everyone else. I have photos where it looks like my arm has eaten the rest of my body. But I quickly get over it. I do exercise but only to keep sane and have fun. I've tried dieting and honestly- it’s not for me. It makes me miserable and I prefer to work on being happy from the interior of my body instead of the exterior. And, after many years of trying to fit into the crowd I've decided that being different is much much better.
I may have rambled on through this whole blog, and yes it has very little to do with make-up but I wanted to say to all those suffering with feeling unhappy or not good enough...
You are beautiful no matter what anyone else says or does. Beauty really does come from within (sorry cringe alert!) it comes from having confidence, it shows through the love of something that you do, whether that be a hobby or from your work. If someone is generally happy on the inside it shows on the outside. I want young girls and boys to know that growing up and being different is far better than being the same as everyone else. It makes you more interesting and stand out in a crowd. Life really is too short. So f*ck it, eat a cake if it makes you happy, remember there are people dying out there. And if you are one of those 'Instagram people' I spoke about earlier, and you're happy that way then carry on! Don't let me stop you!