What Is Beautiful?

On my way back from London the other day, I was flicking through Stylist magazine and there was an article called “What Is Beautiful?” about how beauty is different across the world. This got me thinking about what beauty actually is in this day and age. I am in no way perfect – my legs are a bit short for the rest of my body, my left eyebrow seems to extend further over my eye than my right, I have an odd mole/freckle/scar on the left side of my nose (I have no idea how it got there since judging from old photos it only seemed to appear when I was 10), I bruise/scar/mark like a peach, oh and just to round it all off I have eczema too which has made me quite self conscious at times, especially when it is on my face.

I am Chinese but have been brought up in the UK, so I guess my view of beauty differs from if I was raised in Hong Kong. Here in the UK, having a tan is seen as good; people always come back from holiday and comment on how nice their tans look and how envious they are of other peoples’ tans, etc. Not going to lie, I do like having a tan as I think it makes me look a bit better and covers up my eczema slightly more, even though I know it’s bad for you with all the UVA rays, etc, etc.  But in Hong Kong, having pale skin is much preferred and there are even skin lightening creams which I found quite shocking! It reminded me of the film Skin, which I watched the other week, where the main character is initially so upset with having darker skin that she tries to bleach it off! Now that is extreme… We have been going back to Hong Kong in the summer for the past few years and every time I go back, the colour of my skin is always commented on. I remember one of the first comments a few years ago was “have you been swimming?”. This really confused me until it was explained that people only really got a tan if they went swimming outside as there is no way to cover up (unless you wear those swimming costumes from back in the day that covers everything…) The frequency with which my tan was mentioned with such disdain made me feel almost ashamed for having gone outside without an umbrella to cover myself! But then I remember that people do view things differently in different parts of the world and it is just what you have grown up with and come to know.

I do find it rather mad how we all try to change ourselves to be ‘beautiful’ based on people in other countries. In the Stylist article it mentioned how Brazilian people think Heidi Klum (who comes from Germany) is the epitome of ‘beautiful’. Many Brazilian women have resorted to dying their naturally dark, wavy hair to blonde instead, and have had it chemically straightened. I also found it crazy how cosmetic surgery is tax deductible and free for many lower income women in Brazil as it is seen as a legal right to boost self esteem!! If that was the case here in the UK, then I’m sure we would probably see many Katie Price clones walking around with massive boobs, all in the name of raising self esteem of course…

Asian people like to have bigger eyes and I remember reading something online about how women often resort to surgery to achieve double eyelids, which I thought was crazy. What is even crazier is that women in South Korea are having surgery to have their jawbones shaved into a narrower V-shape…ouch! I don’t think I could ever have cosmetic surgery. For one, I hate pain, needles, knives, oh and did I say pain?! And the thought of waking up, looking in the mirror and seeing ‘someone else’ sounds a bit scary and freaky to me, but each to their own I guess!

In the past month or so, Facebook has been filled with no make-up selfies from girls (and in some cases guys too…) to raise awareness and money for Cancer Research. I think it has been a great way to promote the cause but in all cases everyone looks so much better without the make-up! I’m not sure the reasons why people choose to slap on all that stuff; I guess it’s either for their own self confidence or because everyone in the media does so too, but I wish people would realise that they don’t need all that to look beautiful and should just be happy with how they look underneath. Personally, I don’t wear make up, not because I think I’m naturally stunning and too good for it but because:

  1. I have no idea how to put it on and would look like a clown if I did (so I think it is in everyone’s interests if I don’t…)
  2. I’m always touching my face or rubbing my eyes so it would all end up on my hands anyway
  3. Rain. Yes I know there are waterproof mascaras and what not, but seriously?! Effort
  4. The time it takes to put on and take off it just too much for me!
  5. It costs so much and I would rather spend it on something useful, like chocolate for instance… You know most mascaras cost around £7 or more and the cost of a big box of Lindt balls costs that at full price – I know which one I’d rather have!

I guess the point of this post/mini rant was to show how silly it is for people to always want to become something different than what they are naturally. Sure, I’ve had my share of body hold ups and been unhappy with how I look, but I guess so has everyone. I have just learnt to accept who I am and love what I look like as the people who judge you on your exterior appearance are not the ones worth having in your life. The sooner everyone realises that the outside is just superficial and that it is what is inside that counts, the better 🙂 I guess one of my favourite adverts is from Dove which shows that people always perceive themselves in a different way to what others actually see.


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