The awards season is over, and I’m exhausted. It’s not like I was at the BAFTAs, or the Oscars…not sure they hand out awards for ‘best supporting paella maker’ or ‘leading panic attack mentalist’. But I’m exhausted from scrutinising every picture of every actress; including the American ones I’ve never heard of who turned up to the Grammys in see-through body stockings. I have spent several years in university and yet I have a huge amount of space in my brain being taken up by hundreds of tiny noses, perfect stomachs and the wardrobe choices made by Destiny’s Child in 2002. I know ‘who’ everyone wore, even though I live in a tiny city in the North of England and I don’t think I’ve ever even seen any Chanel in real life; the closest I’ve ever come to owning a designer label is when my Grandma bought me a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag off the market. But when it comes to awards season, I feel like my brain is drowning in articles about crash diets, pages and pages of frocks, hairstyles, bronzers. It’s basically all I care about for 3 weeks. There could be some sort of huge economic disaster and I’d be like ‘WHATEVER! Jesus, can’t you see I’m reading about Keira Knightley’s pregnancy wardrobe? Her ear cuff is outstanding!’
There is nothing wrong with admiring beauty. I like makeup. I used to be a bit snotty about the scouse-brow brigade, but then I thought…who the fuck am I to judge them? OK, so I maybe wear a little less makeup than them, but I can still trowel it on when need be. We all do it to make ourselves feel better, so what if a girl looks like she’s run headfirst into a MAC counter via Ann Summers’ push up bra section? Maybe that girl has been picked on about her small boobs or her thin eyebrows. I was never that bothered about makeup, but now I’m getting wrinkles, and eczema, and rosacea, and so a large part of my paltry wage packet goes on Vichy, Clarins, Nars, YSL. I’ve bought into the beauty industry, and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a shit. It makes me feel more confident, and sometimes sexy…but always less red and wrinkly. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Oh, and yes, you can be a feminist and like makeup. I mean, COME ON. You don’t suddenly have an invalid argument against the wage gap because you’ve shoved on some lippy.
However. HOWEVER. I think my relationship with beauty may be going a bit too far. I’ve started to look at my face and think ‘if only that my nose was a bit less like that of a pig…my eyes a little less like a hungry witch from Macbeth…my teeth less goofy. My top lip more defined. My head a little less like the shape of those Alien toys, the ones where you pressed their tummies together to try and get them pregnant. And my hair: that’s a whole other article, which has already been written, but suffice to say I’ve wanted it straight, blonde, and glossy since I can remember. I used to put pairs of tights on my head so that it would fall down my back like a princess, instead of sticking up like a poodle’s bum.
I don’t blame the beauty industry for this obsession with perfection. I don’t blame the celebrities. This is not a modern phenomenon, even though some people like to say it is. Hundreds of years ago women put arsenic on their faces to look beautiful. They had wigs so high that mice lived inside them. Women’s waists and feet were bound, causing disfigurement and even death. Now, we get boob jobs and Botox and inject our faces full of sheep placenta, and we should bloody well be allowed to if we want to. It’s human nature to want to feel good about yourself. But the question is, where does it stop? And, the question we always ask: are men doing it too?
I’ll go out without makeup, to walk the dog, or to nip into town on a Sunday. But any sort of meeting with friends, a day out, a family gathering: I need my slap on. My boyfriend can saunter out with just a splash of water on his face, and it makes me jealous. I know men get insecure, but (generalising here) do they have this utter obsession with perfection that so many women do? Do they look in the mirror and think ‘if I could tweak this, and this, then maybe I’d get admitted into the beautiful people club. Not the attractive, cute, pretty, club…I WANNA BE A SHOWSTOPPER!’ (Said in a Liza Minelli voice, obv).
I don’t know the best way to break this cycle. Maybe when I’m older and have popped out a few kids, I’ll become obsessed with their beauty instead, and forget about my own. God knows by the time I’m 35 I’ll be fully grey-haired and with my jowls creeping down my neck. Maybe I should stop looking at 18 year old models on Instagram (OK, yes, I should definitely stop doing that). Instagram is the absolute worst because not only is everything fed through a sun-dappled filter, but the rise of apps like ‘FaceTune’ means that half the girls I see have smoothed their faces out until they’re almost unrecognisable. And each one of these weird blurred selfies is usually followed by a bikini one saying ‘I feel so fat today’, so that a slew of ‘YOU’RE NOT FAT HUN YOU’RE GORGE!’ comments get left underneath. And again, I don’t blame these girls, because we are all insecure and we all do weird, embarrassing shit to try to cover it up. I personally have taken about 100 pictures before I’ve found one that I’ve deemed acceptable enough for the internet. I don’t know why though, as I’m posting it to my friends and family, who KNOW WHAT I LOOK LIKE. They have seen me literally millions of times, when I’ve been crying, hungover, recovering from Norovirus. I’m not fooling anyone.
I just need to learn to be OK with my face. Most of us mere mortals are not going to ever look like celebrities, or models; and jealousy is not an attractive trait (and as a crazy jealous bitch over here, I speak from experience). My face is not J-Laws’, or Beyonce’s, but it’s done alright so far. It is animated and even occasionally smiles. My mouth is in the middle of it and it can talk like nobody’s business. My eyes are like two massive sad puddles but they work. It’s the face my family love, so maybe I should too.