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Saturday, 19 April 2014

On Journal Day #09

"How would you say your upbringing or background has shaped your idea of beauty? Were you taught to apply makeup or do you hair by your mother or friends? If not, where did you observe what is now your norm as far as beauty practices? And although most of us have been inundated by different cultural beauty "norms" via the media, would you say that television and magazines have had a strong impact on shaping what you think of as beautiful? This week, write about your idea of beauty- how your background has shaped it and what that means for you today."

Before a party last year

Beauty is a concept that I feel is so incorporated into our society today. And yet it seems a little odd to me, because it's so subjective. Of course, it's incredible to have those moments where you stop and think 'wow, that truly is beautiful' and I personally think no compliment matches the one of someone telling you you're beautiful. Because, for me, beauty is about more than the physical, it's about being beautiful to someone, both in looks and spirit. And I don't think there's a greater compliment than that.

When I was little I was never really aware of make up. My Mum's never really been a big fan, and only ever worn blusher and lipstick here and there, not even mascara. So I was never categorically aware of it, even if I used to read girly magazines for kids I never thought anything of make up. I remember my primary school started having discos and I think that was probably one of the first times I wore make up, but only ever a tiny bit of eye shadow and lip gloss. Last time I was at my sister's, my niece was doing the exact same thing for the first time for a party and it brought back fond memories of how exciting that was. 

I suppose I first started wearing make up in secondary school. I got there and suddenly loads of girls my age were wearing it, some more than others, but, having never really thought about it before, I was a bit taken aback. I found it exciting though, for a time. I started wearing mascara and eyeliner on my waterline, which I think looks absolutely awful on me now! I think I go through phases; sometimes I love make up and will wear it almost every day but at others I just can't be bothered at all. There was a six month or so period when I wore a full face of make up to school, every single day. Honestly, I'm not sure why. I didn't really notice how it had become more a part of my concept of beauty that girls wear make up. But then, again, I toned it down and have spent the last few years of my life almost always wearing no make up to school whatsoever. And I love that. Because I personally just can't be bothered on a school day, when I have to get up early, to put on make up. I just don't care, I feel like I'm going there to learn and I don't want to wear make up for that. I get that some people do and don't have anything against it. But that's not to say that I don't love putting on make up, because I do. I'm a typical girl when it comes to that, whenever there's a party, or dinner or just going out at the weekend, I can't wait to get all dressed up and do my make up.

I save it for special occasions, and that makes it more fun for me and the novelty of getting ready for parties never wears off. A lot of people say that getting ready for parties is more fun than the actual parties themselves. And I agree sometimes. It's that ritual of all the girls getting together, playing and singing along to something like Taylor Swift and doing our make up and hair. I've been lucky enough not to really be affected by the media's perception of beauty. I guess it's just gone straight over my head. And sure, I feel insecure at times. But I also don't feel like I have to look like that model in whatever magazine. The way I see it, I can't change my looks (as much as I sometimes think I'd like to) so I try not to get caught up on them. There's better things I could be doing. That's much easier said than done, I know. But I think we need to remember that beauty is completely subjective and that it's not just about the physical. I don't want my niece to get to her teens and feel like she has to wear make up to be beautiful, because she doesn't and there's so much more to it than that. So I sincerely hope that our society doesn't have too much influence, and that we don't feel the need to go on diets, exercise non-stop and cover our faces in make up to be beautiful, because that just wouldn't be it.

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