Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How to become a beautiful person (because you're not already?)

While I was standing in front of the mirror today straightening my hair I started to think about the fact that the only time I look at myself is when I'm trying to look better for other people. I spend quite a bit of time primping and prodding my body, my face, my hair and for who? For you I guess. Are you worth it? Do you deserve to always see me at my best? And why is my "best" an alteration of my natural state?

I mean obviously there needs to be some sort of maintenance. Later today I saw an old white woman on the train, her hair was so nasty it had turned into one giant dreadlock, it just sort of clumped together in the shape of a rectangle all the way down her back, all the way to her butt. Her hair was clumped and full of dirt and fuzz balls, and probably the home to multiple species of insects. She smelled like a rotten fish.

But what about those women who smell like they've been swimming in a bottle of perfume? What about the women who cake on makeup, get plastic surgery, buy that mascara that grows your lashes, get tattooed eyeliner, cut their feet so they fit in weird-shaped shoes, wear spanx, eat only cottage cheese and grapefruits, spend hours and too much money changing their hair, their face, their image. Just so other people will enjoy looking at them more.

Fuck that.

There are a plenitude of ways to spend ones time and energy. And as many feminists have learned, beauty rituals are designed to keep people from thinking about other more important issues. We read magazines and watch television shows that help us figure out how to better improve our look instead of reading magazines and television shows that actually change our state of consciousness (such shows rarely exist).

Don't think I haven't played into this, I have, but I think from now on I am going to make sure that for every minute I spend grooming myself physically I'll spend another minute growing myself mentally and spiritually. I don't want to smell like a rotting fish, but I don't want to be told I'm not beautiful because I choose not to conform to some made-up, material standards.

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