Perfection (noun) is
the quality of being as good as it is possible for something of a particular kind to be being you.
Perfection is quite a controversial word, and far more of a controversial topic, especially in the beauty industry. It means something different to everyone. What exactly is perfect? And why is it so desirable when it comes to aesthetic? The Collins Dictionary definition states that it’s being as good as possible. So what does that mean in terms of beauty? To me, perfection means being the best version of myself. Being me to my full extent of me-ness, so to say it. So why do we find ourselves, me included, striving to be like others and to fit their interpretation of what perfect means?
It all comes down to comparison. We’re all guilty, at one point or another, of comparing ourselves against someone else. Whether it’s a stranger on Instagram or a friend of ours, we’ve all done it. Lots of us have visible attributes to us that we’d consider an ‘issue’. Whether it’s an extra roll on our belly that we’d really rather wasn’t there, or our skin might be super susceptible to break outs, we see these things as imperfections and immediately try to fix them. We recognise that these people on Instagram who get lots of ‘likes’ and followers don’t always appear to have that food baby, and their no makeup selfies are impeccable. But who’s telling us we should fix our own insecurities? As far as I’m aware, absolutely no one is.
Much of this stems from societies distorted view of celebrities in past decades. Since fashion took the spotlight, catwalks have been filled with nothing but 6ft models who’s natural body shape is incredibly slender. If we’re not trying to slim ourselves down, we’re eagerly sweating it in the gym in order to fulfil our dreams of representing a Victoria’s Secret model with exquisite abs and glute’s of steel. Beauty and skincare campaigns have long portrayed model’s bare faces that are so spotless that it would appear they’re already have makeup on and body hair for women has been virtually unheard of.
In 2019, editing apps are beyond a simple filter. Facetune is currently number 6 in the UK Top Paid Apps on the Apple Store, that beats 185 other applications in that chart alone. Facetune, for those fortunate enough to have never encountered it, is an app that allows you to essentially catfish yourself. The extent that you can edit your face is unbelievable. You can clear your skin, edit the shape of your face and body as well as so many other features that enhance or reduce specific areas. Is it any wonder that, according to the Mental Health Foundation, one in three adults have felt anxious or depressed about their body image?
While editing apps are on the rise, unrealistic idealisations of bodies are rapidly hitting our screens. Whether you’re tuning in every night or not, Love Island has practically been unavoidable through the means of social media. As a country, we’re passively engaging with a group of very attractive, ridiculous slight and toned celebrities to-be on a regular basis for a lengthy amount of time and to some viewers, this can be hugely damaging to their mental health. The ‘Love Island effect‘ has been described as damaging to young people watching the show, and are we surprised? No, we’re not. If you’ve been watching, this year’s line up was supposed to include a ‘plus-size’ model, and I think we can all recognise that Anna Vakili is far from anything of that nature, which is a slight insult to, well, pretty much everyone. Watching the show is not only a huge commitment to your evenings, but also to your self esteem. If you sit and feel miserable about yourself while you watch a villa-full of ‘sexy singles’ walk around in skimpy bikini’s talking to men with stomachs that could have been Photoshopped, then you’re probably not alone; thus, the ‘Love Island effect‘. As some would say, it is what it is, but we don’t have to feel like that.
While influencer’s are on the #BodyPositivity case to beat the likes of the ‘Love Island effect’ and and clothing brands are slowly but surely pursuing inclusivity; some retailers have escalated ahead to the next measure. Earlier this year, razor brand Billie released a new campaign that visibly displayed pubic hair that women have, for so long, been deemed to as a taboo. Diligence towards body size and and skin problems have been in the running for some time, however this advert was the first of it’s kind, concluding an immense statement. Georgina Gooley, co-founder of Billie, told GLAMOUR that “we wanted to normalise pubic hair because it’s exactly that—normal. Body hair grows on people of all genders, and it doesn’t suddenly become ‘gross’ or ‘unhygienic’ when it is on a woman, trans woman, or nonbinary individual. We wanted to show that body hair is a choice; shave it, wax it, grow it, or do a bit of both. All are valid.” Well said.
While the influencer-influence could be part of the reason we feel the need to be so much like others (them, mainly), there are an increasing number of body positive accounts and influencer’s to remind us that we are, in fact, only human. Whether they’re showing off their cystic acne or if they’re plus-size and proudly bouncing around in a bikini, the fact that they do it with an authentic smile on their faces proves that they’re not conforming to societies unrealistic and unfair deception of what perfection is, and are in fact quite happy within themselves just the way they are. They really teach us that whatever ‘imperfections’ we may have, aren’t really imperfections at all. They make us who we are, and it’s important that we realise and believe that we are all quite simply perfect in our own ways.
We all have aspirations and goals. Whether it’s to get those surfer abs or grow your hair, or whatever you fancy doing with your appearance, don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t achieve it as soon as you hoped or if unexpected circumstances hold you back. Cue ultimate cheese, but it’s not about your appearance. In fact, it has nothing to do with your appearance at all. Start making your main goals about what’s on the inside, and definitely make one of those goals to stop comparing yourself to anyone else.
So, going back to that definition of perfect: being as good as possible. Be good at being you. If you’re a good writer, write more. If you love to read, read more. If you want to get better at cooking because you just love food; cook more, experiment more, and eat more. No one will remember the incredible meal you made them from the spot on your chin or the abs under your t-shirt; they’ll remember it from that extra splash of something delicious you added because you just knew it would taste great and the conversation that you had over dinner. So stop forcing unhappiness upon yourself over what you think the beauty industry is telling you; unfollow any accounts on Instagram that make you feel bad about yourself and fill it with positivity. You’re fabulous, just the way you are.
Feature image: i-D