The other day, as I was doing serious corporate work in a pantsuit/reblogging dank memes on Tumblr, a post came on my dash that had almost half a million notes. It was about how the things on your nose aren’t blackheads and how everybody has a stomach and that we should all get over it. Most of the people who reblogged were all “wow so inspirational” and, I get it, I do. It’s good to say things that will make someone feel better about themselves. To convince someone that they don’t need to worry about their acne or excess fat. In an ideal world, none of us would worry about any of that. The problem is, we obviously live in no such world – if we did, I’d have free wifi and be the Queen of the Internet.
More than just finding the post a little silly, it actively irritated me, though. There seems to be a plethora of “motivational” content similar to that one all over the internet and when I read it, I never feel good about myself, I mainly roll my eyes and scroll past, or feel worse that I’m unable to just stop caring and flaunt my imperfections. I’m not inspired by posts encouraging me to wear my cellulite proudly at all. Quite frankly, I’m sick of being told how to feel good about myself by well-meaning strangers. Because if these people want me to change the way I feel about my blackheads and cellulite, perhaps changing the societal oppressions placed on women everywhere would be a better place to start, so that I don’t have to feel pressured to constantly “fight the media” to feel worthy. I am worthy. Whether I stress over night cream for my eye bags or not.
I, and every other person who ever watched an episode of Oprah, understand that the problem is with society. We shouldn’t feel shitty about the way we look, if we don’t happen to look like supermodels. We should try our hardest to change society as a whole, starting with ourselves. The problem is, society is the way it is and, as a result, so am I. When I look at my blackheads, I don’t feel good about it, and I can’t force myself to feel good, either. I can’t go from hiding my imperfections under a face of makeup to flaunting them in order to change not only the way I view myself, but the world at large.
Every step towards change has to start somewhere, I know, but a good jumping off point probably isn’t someone telling me to accept the things I hate about myself. That’s pressure and sounds like it would take a lot of therapy time, which I unfortunately don’t have, due to all the time I spend on memes.
Society aside, maybe obsessively trying to get rid of my blackheads is something I enjoy doing. Maybe the ritual of dry brushing in the impossible hope that it will make my cellulite disappear is genuinely not a big deal to me. Beauty shouldn’t just be seen as something we do to hide things we shouldn’t be hiding, or an inconvenience that’s being forced upon women as a whole. For example, contouring can be seen in two ways: trying to hide the natural shape of your face to gain a more societally applauded shape orrr just having fun changing the way you look, putting on a costume so to speak. If the latter is me kidding myself, then so be it. I clearly already have ingrained pressure to look perfect; I don’t need pressure added on that to fight the pressure.
And believe me, this isn’t me trying to come at anyone who makes these “encouraging” posts. Maybe they genuinely help people. Maybe that exact post inspired someone to never wear Spanx again, to accept their stomach the way it is. Possibly it’s infectious, and it will spread and women everywhere will be like, “remember that post saying I shouldn’t care about my stomach? I’m going to actively endorse that by wearing a crop top even when I don’t feel confident in doing so and maybe the confidence will follow!” I mean, that sounds like a great outcome. As for me? I’ll be here, trying on Spanx of all sizes, waiting for the day that the media itself changes, Oprah is the president of the world and nobody has to feel bad about feeling bad about themselves.