2 April 2013

Beauty, do you have it?

So today, whilst I should have been doing some of my final pieces of work before the Uni year is through, I have instead found myself deep in thought. I saw a lovely young girl on Twitter today talking about receiving hate (we'll get into that one later) and it made me very sad to see. And so I have spent the afternoon deep in thought, contemplation, confusion. I wanted to share those thoughts with you. I hope these come out in some sort of easy reading, understandable words, opposed to a mass of jumbled thoughts. We shall see.


What is beauty?

According to the ever handy Internet...

"The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern, or something else entirely.

Pretty boring definition, isn't it? To be honest I find most 'dictionary' definitions of words to be really over-rated. 

Beauty can mean so many things. Yet it is one of the things we, both women and men alike, beat ourselves up over throughout our lives. Even from the moment we are born, the word beauty is thrown upon us. But why is it so important?

To me, in school, I learnt that beauty was for the popular girls and the lusted after boys. I spent years in various schools seeing girls who had what I thought I needed, and what I thought I wanted. Beautiful long hair, pale English rose skin, slim and petite figures. With beauty comes friends. Sure, even those ugly ducklings in us have friends, but let's be honest here - the beautiful people in school always had the more friends, they were more popular. Fast forward to my late teens where I start going out 'clubbing' (I actually detest that word) and it was still evident there. The beautiful girls got the attention, the drinks bought for them, that gorgeous boy who you spent all night drooling over? They got his number. The beautiful girls have it all...

Or so I used to think. I used to have an exceptionally distorted opinion on what beauty meant, what traits constituted a beautiful appearance. I have spent far too many years of my life wondering what other people think of my beauty. If I wore this outfit, would people think it suited me? If I wore my hair like that, would I be as beautiful as her? If I spent months dieting, making myself, let's be honest, utterly miserable because all I honestly want to do is eat a full English everyday, would I eventually become beautiful like that slim girl?

I even came to hate those who are blessed to be beautiful on the outside. I would resent people who had what I didn't, who looked a certain way which I couldn't achieve, who could pull of the trends I would never dream of even trying on in a shop dressing room. I wear makeup, because I don't think I have a beautiful face and I don't want to show my face bare to the World. I straighten my hair most days, because I grew up believing that curly hair wasn't the desired style of hair, but instead, smooth, sleek, long locks. I try and wear clothes that I feel myself in, but won't make me be laughed at and mocked by the crowds for - because trust me, if I felt I could, I'd happily spend every day in my pj's or my makeshift DIY Jack Daniels dress made from an XL men's t-shirt. But I don't. I don't brave the World bare faced, I don't always wear exactly what I would like and I spend far too much time worrying myself over 'putting my face on' and 'sorting out my hair' than I actually think is healthy. 

Beauty is an easy word to throw at someone to define who they are or what they are worth. But are we really doing any of us any favours by deciding who is and isn't beautiful? 

To me, when I meet someone new, I no longer look at them and think 'Oh my God this person is beautiful, they must be such a nice person, why can't I be like them!' Instead when I meet people I get to know them, I ask them about their interests, I see what I have in common with them. If we all spent forever making friends or associating with people based on beauty, well, the World and our lives would be pretty darn dull. And of course I know beauty isn't something that everyone holds in high regard. But it is so, so prominent in our society, in our everyday lives, in our thoughts and opinions, that no one can say beauty does not in some way or another, impact on their life.

We shouldn't be in a position where people think they have the right to decide someone else's beauty, and tied to that, their self worth. When I see hate spread around I often wonder whether the people doing it really even consider for a moment the affect a few words on the Internet can really do to someone. I doubt they do. So let's have a little honesty here. 

Not everyone will like everyone. I know that from first hand experience. There are people who strongly dislike me and for whatever reason, I, as a person, leave a sour taste in their mouth. There are people who find it right to spend their days either trying to find dirt on me or creating gossip about me, because that is what satisfies them and makes their day a little bit more worthwhile. There are people who will make up lies, come to assumptions and have a good little giggle among themselves about what a horrible person I must be. And that's fine - It really is. Everyday people say to me "I can't believe you don't say anything" and it leaves me wondering, shouldn't I care more? But I don't. I am happy to sit here and distinguish between real life and and trolls on the Internet. Trust me, I've had worse. I'm not the one making a fool out of myself. I'm not the one laughing and bitching and not realising how instead of making me look bad, you're actually showing people what you are really like. And I'm more than cool with that. But until you know someone, until you can say "I've sat down with this person, had a cup of tea and we spoke for hours about this that and the other", until then, you can make your assumptions, throw your accusations, but you don't know me. And that is the missing key. That is why bitter filled words will not affect me.

But there are people who words do affect. There are people who will see something said about them, be sent a message, read something, and it will emotionally and mentally break them. Some will shed a tear, others will find themselves in uncontrollable hysterics. Everyone deals with things differently. Everything has a reaction. Everything. The Internet was invented, among many things, to be a way for us to explore a World we could not reach, to connect with people no matter where they are. To learn. Why chose to use something so big and powerful to cause nothing but upset and destruction?

I don't care whether you are a size 8 or a size 28. I don't care if you're a pale beauty or woman of colour. I don't care if you are a bacon addict like me, or vegetarian or vegan. I don't care if you're blonde, brunette, ginger... You get the drift. One person's taste will never be the same as the next person's. We are all individual and unique human beings who deserve to be treated with respect, love, compassion. Be nicer to one another. Compliment friends. Encourage people. Give people the hope and confidence they might be lacking. Be a friend, not an enemy. 

You are beautiful.
YOU are beautiful.
We are ALL beautiful. 
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