For the longest time I felt plagued by the incessant need to cover up what is believed to be outward flaws in my appearance. My olive skin never quite light enough, my textured curls could never pass as straight, my discolouration around my joints pointed towards my ‘ethnic’ heritage and my prominent dark circles led me down a spiral of consumerism and blinded belief that they needed to be fixed, cured by the beauty industry’s superfluous amount of products that cannot cover your heredity ‘flaws’. The ongoing cycle of masking your face in makeup to hide something that is naturally there and then to also be questioned on why you’re wearing quite so much makeup. The cycle is all too familiar. It reminds me of a former president who addressed the public in English, a language that is not his home language or mother tongue and then gets mocked for his accent.
This consistent hound of noise from our environments, both online and in real life, which tell us we could be beautiful if we looked a certain way or we could be smart if we sounded a certain way, for me this has come in many forms starting from my childhood and continue to battle with til this day. And the confidence of age has brought me to this point where I feel personally & passionately about the fact that a social consensus of what beauty is, reads incredibly untrue, this idea that the media throws at us jarring images of what we should strive to be and will also never be.
It’s kinda funny how beauty trends in the wake of capitalist goals tell us, now you can be beautiful, when the boy beat makeup look surfaced, now your dark circles are accentuated as beautiful, when the world told you to hate your freckles, your dark skin, your kinky curls, where you came from, the way you sound, all to create a buyers market of goods to be packed on shelves. And in it we’ve discovered that this is not a mere seasonal release of fresh faces but a permanent feature in the lot of us who had no voice growing up, who had no self assurance, who had no confidence that we were born beautiful, all of us, all very differently.
And finally, with the world far more open and our eyes fall upon media that is far more diverse than a mere decade ago, with the ongoing push for representation, and the need to call the media out for what it has shoved on us, a white-washing of beauty standards filtered down generation to generation and this blank conformity that we no longer stand to accept, the aged old ideal is dying in front of those who continue to enforce it. We are now at an age when being different is the new normal and we are embracing our own unique features. And call it a consumerist tool in order for us to buy products that enhance our curl pattern, or colour palettes that match our brown skin and olive undertones, and you can even call it a trend but let’s not forget who demanded this market in the first place.
For we demanded this first from within ourselves, we accepted our own and stood for who we were born naturally and remain grounded in our defiance so that change is indeed possible. And we bow to our ancestors for through their struggle and resilience we discover within ourselves that our unruly, undisciplined and rebellious curls stand to be seen as an outward reflection of our own inner strength. And that is what makes us quite strikingly beautiful.