There I was on a fine Sunday morning perusing my iPad when the title hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. “The Power of Beauty.” Was it an article? A personal story? Nope, it was an ad for Ulta, that supermarket of all things makeup, hair and beyond. At first, I sat there shaking my head and sorta chuckling. And then I caught myself up short. “OBH, you’re looking at a hard truth here. Just look in the mirror!!! You know damn well you like your after-makeup face a lot better than you like the before version. Beauty *does* have power. You prefer what society wants to see.”
That Loving Your Quarantine Self Bit
Remember I wrote about loving your quarantine self? Told you I was working on it. Well, working on it I might be, but I’m failing. Every time I look at my face in the mirror sans makeup, I think I’m looking at me. What I’m actually looking at is the me I want to see. Yes, I see wrinkles and some age spots and such. But to really see me I have to turn the reverse camera on. And then I cry. What is it about those cameras that pick up every imperfection I’ve ever had, have or will have? Or is it that what I’m seeing in the mirror is really the idealized old woman I want to see? Probably a little of both.
The Good Old Days
Back in my teenagerhood, in the days of Cher and Twiggy when we learned to put eyeliner on with a half-inch paintbrush, things were rosy. Of course, we were young so whatever we did to our faces was just peachy. Those young, fresh faces couldn’t be ruined. But time marches on. I am grateful to be alive at my age, very grateful. But my face has taken a hit. People say Cher hasn’t aged. Let me put it nicely. . . Baloney! She just has great makeup artists and soft focus camera lenses that we all wish we had. Good genes DO play a part, no doubt about it. Everyone ages, though. And eventually our faces and bodies fall from the graces of what society wants to see.
So Who Gets The Blame?
I can blame the advertising industry all I want and I frequently do, but I’ve bought into it just like almost every other woman out there. I mean, who wouldn’t like products that make you look younger, prettier, more polished, more. . . more like what society wants to see. And therein lies the rub. It’s what society wants to see. It’s NOT who we really are. Nope, society doesn’t want that. Society wants to see Stepford Wives at any age. It’s just the way things are. Everyone wants youth and no pimples, no wrinkles, no drooping anything. Nice work if you can get it.
To Paint or Not to Paint
So. . . what’s an old woman to do? Paint that face or not? If you do, will you be happy? If you don’t, will you cry? I really wish I had an answer for you. Some days are better than others. There are some days I can face the world proudly with this unadorned face. And then there are days when I run for that drawer chock full of stuff I know I paid too much money for and are not good for my face. But. . . ooops! Those products just jumped on my face. I am NOT responsible. HAH!
The Power of Beauty
So, yes, Ulta was correct when they wrote that word POWER. Beauty, thanks to the ad industry, societal mores or something as yet undetermined, does have power. Lots of it. Just look at Hollyweird. Who are the rich and famous? How many uggos are in that group? Not many and especially not women. Men can still have their gut hanging over their belt, warts and halitosis. We can’t. In a man, it’s character. In a woman, it’s ugly.
Is There an Answer?
So what’s the answer? Not sure. I want to be the natural me, but I don’t like her as much yet as the enhanced me. Gotta keep working at it. I don’t want to be only what society wants to see. Want to see the real me, the unadorned version of myself. But meanwhile, can I borrow some concealer? I can’t get to Ulta right now and I’m fresh out. 😉