We interrupt your usual programming of lipstick swatches and makeup tutorials to bring you this PSA on self-esteem.
So yeah, this isn’t my usual and I feel pretty vulnerable posting this. And I definitely didn’t post it because I found a selfie of me looking pretty pensive (lame attempt at humor). This is probably the most personal post you’ll see on here and it’s an issue close to my heart. I peruse a lot of blogs, and self-esteem is an issue I see come up again and again. So where to begin?
Bad Self-Esteem Can Happen To Anyone. This is something a lot of people don’t understand. A lot of people that don’t suffer from low self-esteem assume that the only people with low self-esteem are girls that look least like the ones in the films. Guess what? No one looks like that. Even beyond the normal confines of fat/thin, “womanly”/”boyish,” there are a lot of things women can find wrong with themselves, even things the media doesn’t explicitly portray as bad. For example:
- Too pale
- Too dark
- Curly hair (i.e. frizzy, messy hair)
- Straight hair (i.e. flat, dull hair)
- Flat butt
- Big butt
I could go on with the list, but you get my point. It’s not like the media lacks people with straight hair, but I know a lot of straight haired girls who desperately wish their hair was different. Ditto for the curly and wavy haired girls. And while the J.Lo epidemic during my tween years put emphasis on larger backsides, there were no shortage of less curvy girls on the runway or TV.
Developing Good Self-Esteem: I’m happy to say that my self-esteem vastly improved when I transitioned from my tween to teenage and college years. How did it happen? In one sense, I just decided I was pretty. I took all the things I thought were wrong with me (wavy hair, pale skin, rounded belly) and decided either A) the trait was something unique about me that enhanced my beauty, or failing to do that B) the trait was a small part of the larger puzzle that shouldn’t be fixated on.
The other thing I did was focus on the person I was outside of just my looks. Not all self-esteem issues are related to beauty, of course, but many of them are, hence the focus of this article. The more I focused my intelligence and personality, the less important physical beauty became. Funny that the less I focused on achieving this impossible standard of perfection, the more beautiful I became.
Can The Media Help? Yes and no. I was a thin tween looking at photos of thin models and I still invented new things to feel bad about. I think introducing a variety of body types will help the problem but not entirely eradicate it. To some extent, self-esteem is internal, something people are prone to have high or low amounts of without the media’s influence. What the media can and really should do? Stop inventing new standards of beauty for women to live up to! Thigh gaps, hip dips? I think we are all capable of over-analyzing the smallest details of our body on our own. Thigh gaps aren’t a sign of physical fitness nor are they a sign that a woman looks like a prepubescent boy (like I’ve heard some lovely commenters say). Thigh gaps are just there. Or not. But their presence shouldn’t be on the forefront of every woman’s brain.
Finally, Does Makeup = Low Self-Esteem? Well this is important for me to throw in since I mainly write about makeup. Emphatically no! It takes a confident woman to wear red lipstick. As my self-esteem increased so did my boldness with makeup. To me it’s not about covering up or hiding, it’s about having fun and self-expression. I’m sure there are women who need makeup to feel attractive, but this doesn’t mean it’s the majority.
So what do you all think? I know this article is a bit lengthy for a Monday morning, but how do you all feel? Agree, disagree? What have been your own experiences with self-esteem?