The ugly side of beauty

During my years as a model, I’ve met so many people who are even more beautiful on the inside than the outside. Laura Boegborn is one of those people. She works as a makeup artist and a sales rep, selling makeup to women. She’s in the profession of making women “more beautiful”. But herein also lies a painful truth. A couple of days ago, Laura wrote something about the difficult side of working in the beauty industry, specifically her experience there as a saleswoman, and I have asked her if I could share it on my blog.

laura

natural beauty Laura

People ask me what I do and respond to my answer with a gasp. ‘’Wow, you have a dream job, so creative!’’. I nod and smile and say I’m so happy.

I’m not happy. I am not fucking happy. I am part of the machine that grinds you up. I am part of the business that makes a profit of your self-loathing. I am part of the multi-million, billion dollar industry that tells you that you are not good enough. I am part of the problem. I am part of you telling yourself to hate yourself.

It’s seeing mothers with their daughters coming in for a make-up session, where I teach them, and hearing them say that their daughters look so much better with make-up on. I see them smile, nodding and agreeing with sad eyes.

It’s seeing women sitting in front of the mirror and saying ‘’gosh, I really look awful’’, waiting for me to reply in a non-verbal way, with some product to slap on their faces. A ‘’actually, you look great’’ isn’t sufficient. Your self-hate is too deep, too old. It found its way into you, like a seed. It grows with you and it’s intertwined with your spine. Ripping it out like a weed would hurt you and leave you broken.

Your self-hate started when your mother said you look better with make-up on. You smile, you nod. You don’t wanna make a scene. They congratulate you for losing weight. You look better now that you lost the weight. It’s your grandmother squeezing your thighs and telling you not to eat that.

It started when you saw the airbrushed ads, wondering why you aren’t like that. You don’t wonder the first second you see those ads, it just creeps up on you. You’re not being swallowed whole, you’re a 6 course meal.

I have to make sure they buy something. I have to make them believe that you will be a better person when you buy that eyeshadow. I have to press on that pain. I don’t throw salt in the wounds, I use sugar. But that hurts just as much.

I don’t wanna be part of that business where you just buy, buy and buy. Where I have to tell you that you are not good enough, that you are inadequate.  But if you buy that eyeshadow, you will be adequate.

I don’t wanna be part of you hating yourself.

I want you to love yourself.

I just sat there and read it again and again. My “About Me” here on the blog says “We live in a society where billion dollar industries are driven on the insecurities of women, and I do not want to play that game anymore. I play my own game now: my body, my rules.” so I felt a wave of emotion for Laura’s post. In this era where everyone is obsessed with perfection, I think we need more brave women like Laura to question everything we always thought was right.

I have hated the pores on my nose for years. Hated. Bought tons of products, creams and pads to reduce them or fill them up. Do you think that if I hadn’t been blasted with images of perfect, smooth, poreless women for 2 decades I would even think of paying so much attention to nosepores?

How would you feel about your body if no one told you how you should feel about it?

Women are not genetically wired with insecurities and body issues. Those are societal pressures, creeping up on you pretty much from the second you were born. It’s the dozens of industries that benefit from keeping you unhappy with yourself, from offering you a solution to perfection that is always -just – out of reach. It’s watching every woman you’ve ever been around growing up as a kid being insecure about herself and voicing those insecurities right in front of you, making you believe that insecurities are “a normal part of being a woman”. It’s the subtle sabotage of someone complimenting you by saying you are beautiful only to have it undermined by the thought that your nose  would look “better” with a bit of bronzer (“it’s not always salt thrown in the wound, sometimes it’s sugar. But that hurts just as much“).

I’m not saying makeup is evil (judging from how many lipsticks I own, that would make me a hypocrite). If you enjoy wearing lots and lots of makeup, that is totally okay, you go girl. I’m not saying the beauty- and fashion industry is evil (although working in it and remaining bodypositive at the same time can be extremely challenging). But if it comes to a point where you are afraid not to wear makeup, or where you hate your face without makeup, or where you find it hard to name 5 things about your face that you find beautiful, then we as a society have failed. We are failing.

Time for change. To put it in Laura’s words “I want you to love yourself”. So dear nakedface, I love you.

nakedface

What do you think about Laura’s post?