Fashion notes: 'Perfection' doesn't always equal beauty

Beauty; probably the most poorly defined word in the dictionary. A bizarre merry-go-round of unnecessary perimeters, set mostly by ourselves, riddled with nothing more than neurosis and uncertainty.

Beauty; probably the most poorly defined word in the dictionary. A bizarre merry-go-round of unnecessary perimeters, set mostly by ourselves, riddled with nothing more than neurosis and uncertainty.

Look around; greasy unguents that boast sensational claims line our cupboards, brows are arched, lashes dyed, hair is pumped with keratin, skin is lasered and laughter lines are eradicated by poison. And for what? Is all of this meant to make us feel better?

It’s a tough one, because we live in a society, somewhat unfairly I may add, in which perfection is rewarded. Beautiful people, it seems, achieve more, get higher-paid jobs, earn more respect and live altogether more rewarding lives.

Which, when broken down, sounds ludicrous. Comfort should certainly trump the desperate need to be identically flawless. Yet we seem to struggle in finding a balance. Even those few who feel above such notions will find themselves walking through a series of contradictions. Perhaps blending in is simply easier.

The thing is, insecurities are easily fuelled. Everyone has something to say about what others look like. Those with a stage of any kind seem to offer up opinion that no longer generates thought, just more opinion, often delivered with such assertion that it ends up encouraging the polar opposite of what we set out to do in the first place: reward self-expression. The media certainly doesn’t help – sponsorship and advertising only endorsing the somewhat conservative ideals of beauty further.

Most of us, as experimental as we might think that we are, simply follow an innate attraction to cues learnt as a baby. In short, we like what we know or what we’re told that we should like.

We have to be very careful of that. We criticise those who care too much – as much as we do those who don’t at all. Where we once saw quirkiness, we now see an eyebrow that could do with filling in; where we once saw beautiful rosy cheeks, we see a complexion that needs correcting. When did we become so afraid of looking like ourselves?

I’m not qualified to comment or dissect anybody’s wants or needs. That decision is entirely up to you. But this deep-seated fear of flaws and our inability to accept differences is only confusing beauty with idealism and “dollification”. When we all smooth out, fill in and lift, who is going to stand out in the sea of characterless faces?

It all seems rather unnecessary when there are ways to improve things without going down a path of no return – invasive treatments or procedures that can’t be undone. We’re constantly searching for the magic cure. Let me tell you: it doesn’t exist. What most of us tend to forget is that looking good is all in the preparation; in looking after the basics and finding a beauty regime that works for you. It doesn’t have to be the extreme solution that some of us think. Nothing, as mundane as it sounds (and is) trumps a consistently good diet and regular exercise.

The question is, what happened to individuals? For in an increasingly monetised society, we seem hardened by the battle to achieve the elusive beauty myth.

I can’t speak for everyone, but all I know is that perfect isn’t real. It exists nowhere except in a figment of imagination. Like the constant search for eternal youth, it’s nothing but an aspiration, and one that will only ever lead to disappointment. Self-confidence is gold. So refine your basic ideals and delivery. A confident, considered delivery is always better than trying to scramble together to be something that you’re not: ordinary.

ktrotter@thenational.ae

Published: July 24, 2014 04:00 AM

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