Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taste, Vanity or Low Self Esteem?

Where is the line that separates simple vanity from low self esteem? Or is it just a matter of taste? I’m talking about the things we do for beauty or our perception of it at a given moment in time. Cultures before us removed teeth or incrusted jade into them, other blacked their teeth or stretched their lips or “artistically” scarred the skin on their faces.
Today we have Botox, hair dyes, colored contact lenses, liposuction and a variety of tricks that range from açai berry lotions to pigeon poop masks, take your pick because it’s all about what you can tolerate.
I used to have a teacher (a well known TV presenter by the way) that assumed everyone who dyed their hair, straightened it or wore colored contacts was acting on an inferiority complex of some kind and was not happy with who they were…yet she dyed her grays, once I called her on that but “that’s different” she insisted, how so? To me it’s the same to dye your greys or your whole head and I do not find it a sign of low self esteem or an issue of fitting in with the current cannon of beauty but a mere preference.
Like the time a friend of mine competing on a beauty pageant changed her brown hair for red to compliment her freckled skin and green eyes (advised by the organizers) a look she keeps to this day just because it suits her better. Then there’s the style consultant that only wears white, or the hordes of tanning aficionados and I could go on with examples like this when it is not about feeling inferior but trying to highlight what natural assets you already have. Don’t we all want to be the best that we can be? Sure people tend to take things too far (*ahem* Heidi Montag). But isn’t it pretentious to assume that because Beyonce dyes her hair blond she is trying to shed part of her blackness? This is the sort of thing my teacher would say.
True there is that thing about blonds having more fun or whatever but then society also assumes blondes are borderline stupid if not completely, so it is all perspective. If you like sunshine impersonating hair then by all means find a shade and blondify. Because if a change of hair color is a sign of low self esteem then so is using shape wear since it modifies whatever curves you may have providing fake perfection. So you might as well transform from head to toe.
I like facials and the occasional microdermabrasion, what does that say about me? I’m too young to think about Botox (and I’m scared of needles) but if in the future I did some is that me clinging to youth or simply maintaining things where I prefer them to be?
Maybe there is no line at all and we are all a bunch of vanity driven idiots with no love for ourselves because even the simple fact of shaping an eyebrow, wearing lipstick or cutting our hair a certain way is derived from the fact that we know we can look better and won’t accept the “real” us…hence the inferiority complex. Perhaps it is worse to feel this way and do nothing since it won’t do any good anyways and go thru life “embracing” without improvement of any kind.
It’s a tricky subject for sure, what do you think?


Style Porn said...

Vanity is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. But I think it comes more from an attitude than doing or not doing any one thing. Also, I believe everyone has a little bit of vanity in them, even me ;)

CMA said...

love your blog!
come visit COSMICaroline and see the revamped looks and a musician photoshoot i got to style!



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