Feeling fat? Longing after a big derriere, incredibly small waist and supple breast? Remember when a few years ago, your concern was that maybe your butt was too big… at least in white culture? Or what about your hair? You have decided to accept yourself by doing the big chop and embracing your natural curls. Curls? Well, that is what you were expecting when you went natural but your hair seems to have a mind of its own. So lately, you have been trying every technique to “define your curls.”
What is the cause of all this discontentment that we seem to face in every aspect of our lives? At one point, I remember it was the media that was to be blamed. By media, I mean the mainstream media that people believed were responsible for pushing only one idea of beauty. However, in recent times, there has been an explosion in the amount of persons establishing their own platforms. New media is the thing. I remember watching YouTube videos that had not so good lighting and just appearing to be more “normal.” I have officially moved very far away from looking at the television for anything whether news or entertainment related. Print media is definitely on the decline and people are getting their news from people that they think they can trust more and those who they think do not have the agendas of those dominating mainstream media. But with the shift towards new media, citizen journalism and the like is a shift in blame for the low self-esteem and discontentment that seems to cripple us. Instead of blaming magazines and commercials on t.v., people are now blaming Instagram. How is this so? Certainly, we didn’t start following insert favorite YouTuber name here for their perfect lighting, Instagram baddie looks and for a tour of their high-rise apartment but that is what a lot of beauty YouTubers have come to and what we expect to see. The reason for this is because we are the problem. We can blame society- a term that we oftentimes use as if we are excluded from what comprises it. Society, you and me, we like shiny, fancy stuff. We like notions of grandeur and perfection even if our lives are light years away from these ideals. We want to be able to live vicariously through others and express disappointment when people do not seem to have it all together. I mean, our personal lives are in shambles but hey, this isn’t about us. Our idols (as we have elevated many persons to this position) must by all means live out the lives that we deem to be ideal to make us feel better even if at the end of watching a string of YouTube travel vlogs, we feel worse.
Sometimes when we think we are making progress in owning who we are, we regress before we make progress. As mentioned before, we see persons going natural and instead of embracing their natural hair, they embrace someone else’s natural hair. We do not know how a loving, fruitful relationship looks like in real life, so we hashtag every pic of our favorite online couple that we have never met in real life #relationshipgoals. I think that sometimes, we do not know what we want in life. We don’t know the meaning of beautiful, so we embrace other people’s idea of beauty to the point where we are all looking the same with thick brows done with Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, our face is contoured and highlighted to the point that it could make Rupaul jealous, we are wearing a faux septum ring, clear heels, a body-con dress from Fashion Nova and we pose for the ‘Gram in the same pose done by every other woman. I’m not saying that being in this world we will not get inspired by others and we will not come across new things that we’ll genuinely fall in love with (for example, I didn’t think I would become a Fashion Nova customer but now I am😀😀😀) but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to feel pressured into doing things. We should not feel that we should have to accept another person’s ideals, not only when it comes to appearance but when it comes to anything- whether you date, marry, have children, travel the world, go to university or anything else. Take into account who you truly are and if you don’t know who that is just yet, take the time to find yourself. I am on that journey and I know it will be a life- long one. Do not view another person’s life as “ideal” and what everyone should aspire to. We shouldn’t put pressure on people to be things that we ourselves are not simply because of our own insecurities and expectations of what we should be. Take time to breathe and find yourself.
We are society. We can be the change we want to see.