by: Kara Lynch
Not long ago, I posted a selfie on Instagram, wearing barely any makeup and showing my armpit hair. This was, to no surprise, met with love and hate. What was shocking, was that the same boys who were leaving negative comments on my natural, armpit pic were leaving flirty comments on my other “normal” photos. Normal I mean of course by today’s standards which equals entirely filtered. This made me wonder, “Are they attracted to me or only the “normal” me?” Their comments made me feel like I was naturally disgusting, but with makeup and a filter, desirable. This got me thinking…
I began to recall all the times I heard someone say, “He’d be cute if,” and “she’d be way hotter with.” I realized that perhaps those boys think I’d be more attractive if I shaved. Their flirty comments proved that they found me attractive, but not all of me, only certain parts of me in certain photos.
We can tweak our photos to make us thinner and tanner and the beauty industry encourages us to do so. But has the photo shop, filter age made us want to filter each other? Have we taken the unrealistic, filtered beauty expectations so far that we desire to customize one another to match our standards of beauty? And at that point are they even our standards or society’s? And who’s really to blame for this hot mess?
I’m not upset with those boys, for the record, but I am disappointed in the beauty industry for advertising unrealistic beauty standards for so long. For years, shaving commercials never showed women’s body hair. We know women grow body hair, but watching commercials like that long enough desensitized us from common sense about our mammal features. Why wouldn’t people find women’s body hair appalling after being shown for so long that it doesn’t and shouldn’t exist? And in the world of photo shop, why wouldn’t people become confused if you don’t meet the standard of perfection that is only attainable with filters?
Getting upset with others for trying to customize you to fit a beauty standard is not attacking the issue at the source. I believe the source of people wanting to customize one another is the beauty industry. In this industry, there’s a fix for everything, and everything about you naturally should be fixed. For example, if you have naturally curly hair, you can and should buy a product to straighten it. There are products to make your skin lighter and darker, color contacts to change your natural eye color and the list goes on.
I’m not attacking anyone’s desire to indulge in beauty products or filters. I believe how you decide to present yourself to the world is a personal choice. But I am attacking the beauty industry for making us believe that we must change and filter our natural selves. That is not beautiful. That is a marketing scheme to persuade consumers to buy more products. The beauty industry is trading our insecurities for profit and I’m tired of it. I grow hair and I’m not afraid to show it. I hope the next IG follower of mine I meet in person is not surprised by my freckles and pores when they discover I’m not filtered in real life. I’m just imperfect, fabulous me and so is everyone else.