When I was growing up, you were either pretty or you weren’t. It was a fact of life but it almost didn’t seem to matter. If you weren’t classically beautiful, there was no need to worry as you would still make a wonderful wife and mother, and you could always do your hair nicely or wear flattering clothing. I was not a classically beautiful girl, in fact I wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the bow. But I was confident and happy, though not without my hang ups. As I look around today, I see young girls so focused on their image it makes me feel unwell. I see young girls, no older than 12, sashaying around the shops in high heels and shirts that expose their stomachs, hoping that they will attract attention and look great…when it really does the opposite.
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That’s not really the point I’m making, the point I want to make is that I feel like natural beauty and acceptance of self has been lost. I can’t count the amount of ads that advertised products that clear, get rid of, smooth, brighten, lighten, whiten your face. It’s almost irrelevant that your skin doesn’t know the different between all these creams, or, as nasty as it sounds, that a mutton should not dress as lamb. I love seeing fresh looking girls without the slathering of makeup – it reminds me of what we used to value. Our appearance was important – we were immaculate – but we didn’t want to look like everyone else. We didn’t want to ‘overline’ our lips (apparently that’s a trend, says my granddaughter) or draw cat-winged eyeliner on or contour every bone.
So natural beauty is dead in my eyes. At least for the younger generation. They’ve never been told that wearing little or no makeup is attractive, in fact it’s quite the contrary if you turn on the TV. If you don’t wear makeup, you’re unattractive and unkempt. You have no care for your appearance and you won’t get a boyfriend or husband. No man will look at you with those freckles! But in all my years, I’ve never heard a man say, “oh I wish that girl had more makeup on”! No, they much prefer a clean girl with nice clothing and a smile. Beauty comes from within but I really worry that it’s what’s on the outside that counts to our dear granddaughters. Our material world has turned them into airbrushed versions of themselves and I just wish they knew that natural beauty stands out a lot more than makeup ever will. And don’t get me started on plastic surgery – it’s just ballooned out from where it used to be as women my age, younger and even younger than that book in for injections and fillers and implants. They can’t accept their image for what it is and it is terribly sad. My advice for my granddaughter has been to love yourself, and I always told her mother to show her child that she loves her body…promotion of good body image by a natural-looking role model is all we need!
What do you think? Do you think natural beauty has been lost? Do you think younger generations have stopped liking their natural selves? Tell us below.