01 Feb Beautiful On The Inside (And Why We’re Revolting)
Beautiful on the inside?
My friend, beauty is dead.
Beauty is out of date.
In fact, beauty doesn’t even exist anymore. Not really when you think about it.
In today’s world you have to be young, tall, skinny, not just slim, tanned, but not too tanned apparently, curvy but watch out you’ve still got to be skinny, preferably blonde apparently, and you generally have to defy gravity, time and logic in order to be considered beautiful. WTF? Nobody actually looks like that. Not in real life. (Note to the entertainment industry: A woman’s boobs and bum can not both face forward at the same time. We have kidneys!)
You think those standards are tough enough - but according to the beauty industry, even the world's most beautiful people are in fact so very ugly they have to be photoshopped to within an inch of their lives before they can do anything as radical as appear in a magazine. For normal people to see. Supermodels. They literally have one job. To. Be. Beautiful. But, silly us, we didn't realise they're not actually beautiful enough. Oh gawd yes, you've got to stretch, snip, downsize and colour those beasts in before the public can bear to lay their eyes on them. Disgusting supermodels!
Talk about unrealistic expectations - I don't even want to think about the amount of work they’d have to do to get me up to scratch for the cover of Vogue (or the back page of Farmers Weekly for that matter. “We’re gonna need a bigger airbrush”)
So for us mere, unphotoshopped mortals, it seems we’ve invented a booby prize. Huzzah! Cheer up fabulous ones, you’re not a six foot, lightly tanned blonde bombshell with an impossibly tiny waist and a gravity/logic defying boob-bum-bikini-body, but if you try hard enough, you might just become...
'BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE'
Gasp. Sigh. More gasping. Bea-ut-iful on the inside, ladies and gentlemen. On the inside. You know those Beauty (on the Inside) Pageants - those are for you friend. Pop on a frock made of generosity and a sense of humour and stomp that catwalk for the crown (Which will also be beautiful... on the inside. Yeay.)
Look, my insides are kind of gross. Bloody and goopy. Weird stringy bits (I'm assuming we’re much like chickens in that sense). Far from beautiful to be honest. And I'm fine with that. That’s what we’re supposed to be like on the inside.
That’s not the point you say? I’m taking it too literally? Fair enough. Let’s talk metaphorically then. On the inside what I am is kind. What I am is funny. What I am is generous. What I am is intelligent. What I am is strong. For starters. And that’s damn fabulous enough for me. Any one of those attributes shines on their own. Grouped together they’re nothing short of wonderous.
We need to stop insulting these attributes and ourselves, by defining them in terms of where they fall on a scale of beauty. The beauty industry has shown us that no one is ever beautiful enough.
When you think about it, being beautiful is just another characteristic - no more or less valuable than say loyalty, friendliness or tenacity. But when we package up all those wonderful characteristics and rate them in terms of beauty, we continue to elevate being beautiful over all other characteristics. And that’s just… we'll it's bloody exhausting is what it is.
AN ALTERNATIVE TO 'BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE?
So, what if wasn't being beautiful we were all obsessed with. Imagine it was kindness, for example. You wake up in the morning, at your basic level of kindness. Yesterday you helped a friend move house and volunteered at a local soup kitchen. You look in the mirror and examine yourself. You’re kind, right? Aren't you? Are you? But are you kind enough?
You’ve read about movie stars who donate all their money to starving children (Even though it's probably not true. Everyone knows the magazines kindoshop the stories). Maybe, maybe not but it sure looks like they are kind. Like really kind. You’re just pathetic. Oh sure, you’re loyal, clever, beautiful great at puzzles and have a massive thigh gap, but who freakin’ cares about that when you’re just not as damn kind as all the celebrities and influencers on Instagram.
Maybe you could have some very dangerous and expensive surgery, kindness implants, to make you seem kinder. Everyone will know it's fake but you won't care. You might finally be happy. You’ve been using those instagram filters that surround you with orphans and puppies and people really seem to think you’re quite kind. But deep down you know you’re not kind enough so you hate your pathetic self.
No Time To Be Beautiful. Let's Just Be Swell Instead
OK, that got a bit odd. I’m not entirely sure where I was going with it, but what I’m trying to do is highlight is the stupidity of obsessing over one characteristic, to the detriment of all others. It’s daft, and weird and it’s counterproductive to be honest.
Physical beauty is one of the characteristics we have the least control over (Once they invent photoshop for real life it’s all over, bitches!). Yet it’s the one we spend the most time working on. Imagine all the time, energy, headspace and money you spend on dieting, criticising yourself, checking in the mirror to see if your Tum-Tum has magically shrunk after that one session in the gym. (It hasn’t).
If we could knock beauty down a peg or two so all the other great characteristics could get a moment up there on the pedestal, just think of all flippin free time you’d have!! No more time spent putting on makeup (If you'd prefer not to). No more time spent shopping for makeup. No more time spent at your local weight watchers weighing yourself in and cursing yourself for enjoying that delicious doughnut the other day. No more time worrying if your ‘bum looks big in this’ or if you can ‘get away’ with that swimsuit, because no one would flippin’ care anymore. As long as you were kind, tenacious, hard working, clever, honest, brave, etc. etc. people would just think “well, ain’t she swell” and they’d be right. And that, my friends would be that.
THE END OF BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE? OH YES DO PLEASE!
So I hereby call for an end of the dictatorship of Beauty. (Bit dramatic? Meh!) And a rise of the reign of... eh, basically any other human characteristic out there.
Look, I used to be kind of pretty, in my own way, years ago, at a certain angle, when the wind blew from the east. But I’m not getting any younger. My face shows all the wear and tear of having two year old twins and I have a hole in my abdominal muscles that makes my Tum-Tum hang over the cliff edge of all my trousers no matter what I do.
But get this - I also used to be much more of an idiot than I am now. I’m wiser, make better choices (Sometimes) (Especially if it doesn’t involve crisps), I’m more thoughtful, better educated, stronger, more responsible, more compassionate and braver than I was when my thighs were toned and I couldn’t hold pencils up with my under-boob. I’m also happier. Much happier.
That should count for something though, right? Wait, no my friend, that should be everything. Everything. For too long, beauty has reigned with an iron fist over all our self-esteem and it’s time we told that bitch she’s not the boss of us. Not no more.
Why are We Revolting Though?
Look, I'm revolting. If you'd like, you can be revolting too. Worry not, we're still gorgeous. I'm just talking about a revolt against beauty. (Hilarious pun. I know.) But seriously, next time you want to say something nice about a person, please consider abandoning the booby prize of Beautiful on the Inside. Give kindness a mention. Give creativity a good review. Give fifteen minutes of fame to resourcefulness, persistence, being good with animals, courageousness, optimism, a good eye for details and all the other weird and wonderful characteristics that make a human being so outrageously, unyieldingly fabulous.
Beauty is dead. All hail good manners, for example.
Achhh, It’s a work in process.