May 22, 2011

Trust me, that's the price of beauty

Disclaimer: ladies, this is for you, but gents, you should read too. It'll make you think the next time you decide to criticize a woman about what she wears or how her hair looks.


I wanted to do this women's survey to see if I could retrieve any findings that would be eye-opening. I'm not a doctor, a psychologist or qualified to report findings of any kind, but I am a woman, and I figure that's a good qualification if any.

Let's cut to the chase. I've been feeling really unattractive as of late. I'm not posting this for a pity party, for a compliment -- none of the above. But there have been several instances the past few weeks where I'm in situations and I feel "blah" compared to everyone else. I mean, I have a healthy dose of confidence in my life, but I don't know. I'm not feeling like the glowing, bubbly person I perceived myself to be a few months ago.

Actually, I think part of the problem is that I perceive myself in one light, but then I get involved in situations where I'm constantly compared to the women around me. It's the worst. It's not something I really think about until after the fact, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't get to me sometimes.

Of course this is natural, it's a normal part of life to look in a crowd and seek the one you find most attractive. And all women have good and bad days. But I got to thinking... maybe this isn't a "me" thing. Maybe this is something that happens at this stage in life to women such as myself. Like honestly, I feel haggard some days. I'm 24. Haggard should not be in my vocabulary. As much as I take care of myself, I'm not feeling it. I'm not feeling like, "Girlfriend, you look pretty today." I haven't felt that way in a good while. (Update: I wrote this on Saturday before I got my hair done, and let me tell you, getting your hair did makes all the difference. I feel fresh! I even tried on a cute outfit tonight that I'm pretty stoked about. Really, that's all it takes I guess!)

Also, another thing that raised my interest in this topic was the "Born This Way" episode of Glee. They do a beautiful mash-up of "I Feel Pretty" from Westside Story and TLC's "Unpretty."

"But if you can't look inside you, find out who am I to be in the position to make me feel so damn unpretty/I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty, and witty and bright, and I pity any girl who isn't me tonight."

Nail on the head there, Glee. When I was in 5th grade, there was a group of guys (who, funny enough, became my good friends in high school) who called me Moose Lady. Laugh it up. I had no idea why, and figured they must have thought my nose was big. It was embarrassing and I felt so ugly. Turns out, it was because I put my hands to the side of my head one day to do the "nanny nanny boo boo" gesture and they said it looked like moose antlers. And then we kissed and made up and all was fine. But still, there are times I look in the mirror and I'm like, "When I get the money, I will get a nose job... and veneers." And then other days I deem myself a hormonal mess and have no idea why I'd need a nose job or veneers -- I'm happy with both. And at least I have them. Some days, I'm like, "Yeah mama, you look great."

And then the cycle repeats itself. Or I'll think about how I should be taller or need to tone up my legs more or whatever. It always seems like there is something to improve upon.

Commence the survey. There were a lot of things some of you women said that I think you were just saying because you're straight up in denial.  There were some things that made me cry. And there were other things that contradicted themselves -- some would choose the answer that they "want to look good for themselves," but then would elaborate and say they enjoy it when someone else (mainly a boy) notices. 

Basically I can deduce that if we weren't all trying to keep up with the Jones', a lot of our problems would be solved. Just stop comparing yourself to other women, because the fact is there will always someone skinnier, smarter, taller, and better looking than you. Stop looking from the outside for validation and look up and within. You with me?


Here are the highlights of the survey:
  • Most girls feel prettiest when they're with someone they love (31%). Subsequently, if someone they love criticizes an aspect of their looks, they take it more seriously and feel more inclined to fix it. Next up is when someone compliments them (25%), and then when they have makeup on (19%). Makeup is a crutch for most of us!  19% also chose other option, which mostly consisted of things like getting their hair did, getting dolled up or wearing a cute outfit. Only 6% said they felt prettiest without makeup! Which is interesting because I find that most guys actually love it when their girlfriends don't wear it. 
  • Not surprisingly, the most amount of women felt the worst about themselves when they were around women they felt were better looking than them. 
  • 42% of the participants do not feel they are at their goal weight and worry about this aspect of their appearance the most. Other popular answers: not toned enough and cellulite. Nobody feels they are too thin/don't have enough curves. 27% of women felt their facial features weren't up to par: mostly their teeth, then their noses and lastly, lips.
  • 52% of women would not get plastic surgery. However, few said it was because they accept what God gave them -- it's mostly because they are scared they'd look "worse" or that something would go wrong. For the women who would, they almost all talk about lipo to lose inches in the hard to get places or getting a breast lift/implants after having children.
  • 81% want to improve them appearance for themselves -- but most everyone included another aspect of life they feel would benefit from the improvement: their husband or boyfriend, their career, their family. Seems we have some ulterior motives, even though we feel good when we look good. More importantly, we don't feel good the way we are. We always strive for improvement.
  • They feel unattractive usually around "that time of the month" or if they haven't worked out in awhile. (42%)
  • Here's where I cried -- when the women described times they felt uncomfortable with their looks:
"When I go shopping and certain clothes don't fit when you feel gross about yourself. Or when guys judge you when you are an average weight and you feel like you still need to lose alot more."

"Literally the past 2 years... Pool... When I'm with my beautiful friends!"

"I always feel very uncomfortable with my looks when I get my hair cut. You're sitting in front of a big mirror for an hour or so and I'm always hoping the stylist can perform some miracle to transform me into a celebrity with my look and I'm always disappointed."

"When I was younger and my mom would talk to me about my weight. I felt all she could see was my weight. But I was/am more than that. As I've gotten older, I've become more confident with who I am and have voiced my opinion about weight. It needs to be my decision, not hers or my desire to please her."

"When other people bring it up about themselves it makes me think more about my flaws." (There were an overwhelming amount of responses that said this in one way or another.)
  • As far as when they feel their best, it's no surprise: mostly when they've lost weight or someone compliments them. 
Nothing real eye opening here, except that all women have insecurities and that all of us are concerned about how we look. It makes me to feel better knowing this, but it also makes me sad that all of us aren't content with where we are looks-wise. That we have this societal pressure to look a certain way for one reason or another, whether it's the media or a man... or our own mothers.

But we all go through times where we have a bad hair day or our clothes aren't fitting right or we have a blemish. That's life. It's how we think internally about ourselves that matters. I highly encourage all of you to do something once a day that makes you happy -- whether it's drinking that chai latte or going for a run or even putting on false eyelashes.  

And of course, pray and get to know God. I always encourage that because the peace God can give will surpass any compliment you can receive from a man or any hairdo you can get from the salon.

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