“Just because I often look at my reflection though doesn’t mean I like what I see.”

Feels quite strange to sit down and type up how I feel about my body. I think it is on the whole it being seen as narcissistic or vain to talk about one’s appearance.

I can’t really remember how I felt about myself as a child so any issues I do have is clearly something that came later in life. I do remember however being told off for looking at myself in the mirror, something (even as a 23-year-old women) my mum still calls me on. She has often commented that I have an ‘obsession with my appearance’. I always seemed to think it was natural to know what you looked like at any point of the day.

Just because I often look at my reflection though doesn’t mean I like what I see. I often change my hair colour as it’s the only thing about myself I can change instantly. I wear make-up nearly every day to cover up what I don’t like. I think I have more body hair than what’s normal for a woman but it can be removed instantly or covered up. What I can’t change instantly or cover up is my weight or my in-step.

I’ve always been a bit heavier than the other women around me. But when you have near enough bow-legs exercising causes me a fair bit of pain and it’s getting worse the more weight I pile on.

Losing weight though scares me. I’m scared that if I lost weight and had a lot of men suddenly interested in me that the only thing they wanted was my body and not that I’m a good person to be around.

I start physio soon for my legs; hopefully the pain becomes less and I can exercise more and maybe get the body I want.

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“I want to leave the house in the morning with nothing on my face but a smile and still feel as confident as if I had spent that 45mins on make-up when I was 15.”

I have been trying to think of how I feel about my naked body and I can come up with nothing new or interesting. I haven’t always had body confidence but this isn’t something I struggle with. But there is one part of my body I still can’t bring myself to strip off completely – my face.

At 12 years old my friend and I were absolutely fascinated with our French teacher. She was gorgeous and had perfected the art of liquid liner with a lash like flick to accentuate her eyes. She said it just took a steady hand, and after years of practice this is something I have become expert at. I am now something of an amateur make-up artist. I know the best ways to apply mascara, tricks with illuminator, and the smokey eye look. All this knowledge I have acquired by wearing make-up every day since I first tried to copy my French teacher with the only exceptions being bed-ridden sick days. But it has only been recently that I have discovered an art it will take another few years to perfect – the art of feeling good bare-faced.

Each morning I had a routine; shower, shave, wash hair, dry hair, straighten hair, get dressed, clean skin, put on foundation, put on powder, put on blush, apply eye-shadow, mascara, pencil eye-liner, liquid eye-liner, apply more mascara. I used to envy those who could get away with minimal make-up and still look flawless (although now I suspect they were actually wearing even more make-up – I didn’t much like wearing glasses). I would try to just put on my eye make-up, trying to convince myself I looked ok without foundation. But then the light would change and I saw the massive dark circles under my eyes and caved in. I once went to a counter at Boots and asked one of the assistants what I could do about those dark circles (at the age of 20). The woman just looked at me and told me there was nothing I could do about them, I had them because the skin under your eyes is thinner than the rest of your face – it is not some flaw of your complexion, it’s how your face is meant to look!

It wasn’t until fairly recently that I started to question why I thought I couldn’t leave the house without make-up on. What was I so scared of? So I gave it a try. I spent the day trying to fend off comments about how “tired” I was looking. So, of course, I shovelled the stuff back on the next day. The sad fact is your night’s sleep isn’t all that is questioned; women who choose to go bare-faced have their sexuality questioned – she must be a prude or a lesbian. We are led to believe that our ability to form relationships with men will be hindered because they won’t find us attractive. Female MPs feel they can’t be accepted within their profession until they look more “feminine” and a woman’s mental health is even questioned when her appearance starts to slip. It isn’t just a “pressure” that we experience when we get ready in the morning, it is a lack of reasonable alternatives.

Some women claim that make-up can make them feel empowered but where does this empowerment come from? Empowerment from a successful attempt at trying to conform to a narrow and impossible beauty ideal is not empowerment. I want to leave the house in the morning with nothing on my face but a smile and still feel as confident as if I had spent that 45mins on make-up when I was 15. And, slowly but surely, bit by bit, I am. I am starting to believe I am beautiful in the nude.

by fatalfemmenism

“You could be a model!”

Thanks to kirstyskears for this post.

My Nan came round this morning. She was reminiscing about last weekend’s family party and suggested that I wear make-up more often as I ‘look quite pretty with make-up’. I sarcastically replied, ‘thanks Nan’ to which she suggested that my mum ‘could do with some lipstick too’. She then went on to tell me that I could be a model if I wore make-up more often. I generally only wear make-up when I am going somewhere nice, like to a party. Whereas, I rarely even brush my hair before leaving the house for everyday adventures. I told my Nan that even if I was pretty enough I am far too shy to model. In which she argued that ‘to make it with my photos I have to get over all of that silly nonsense anyway’. To be fair, I realise that there is truth in this matter, I am going to find selling my work very difficult while I find talking to strangers excruciating. But what intrigued me was that my Nan was hinting that it would be better to get over my shyness to be a model, rather than getting over my shyness to be an artist/photographer. Does anyone know a Model who is a positive female role model? What’s so great about being a model? Why does she think it’s a better idea than my chosen career? Why, oh why does she want me to be a model? Does she think that the stereotypical narcissistic, anorexic models that she has seen in the media are really something for a young woman to aspire to? Does she think that I could make better use out of my ‘looks’ than my brains? I am really not sure where she was going with this! The comment about my mum intrigued me too. Why does my mum NEED to wear some lipstick? Why will this benefit her? Will it get her promoted? Are there health benefits that I didn’t know about? Is she secretly planning on meeting someone new and ‘needs’ to attract them with shiny colourful lips? No, I don’t think that any of these Ideas apply. My Nan’s opinions of her family’s appearance come from the expectations that our current culture enforces. Women must be beautiful at all times. Beauty is all we have. It is our only power. The only way to become rich is to look perfect at all times. Using our brains to gain power and wealth is out of the question, the best thing we can do is stay pretty and passive so that a ‘Prince’ can whisk us away off into the sunset.

HAHAHA how ridiculous! Get lost celebrity culture. I couldn’t care less if my hair is not perfect every minute of every single bloody day. I am happy. Not because my Nan thinks I’m ‘pretty’, but because I am alive, and know what it feels like to be alive, and it’s so damn good! Be a model? Pull grumpy faces and be rude all of the time? I’d rather be covered in mud, growing vegetables in my allotment or playing tag with my little sister, thanks all the same. A smile is all I need to have on my face.