Beauty standards aren’t realistic

I think that people are beautiful because of their imperfections, and not inspite of them.

I came to this conclusion as I was scrolling through Instagram, and saw a video of an acquaintance beaming, working as she usually always is, on a photoshoot. She was staring earnestly into her camera, directing her subject with a wide smile on her face. The person filming her, called out her name, and she turned to them, smiling even more. And I thought, this is real beauty, this passion that she shows, this smile, not posed or muted down for an image, but authentic.

The video confronted a feeling that I had been having for a while. I had been growing increasingly critical of the way that my body and face photographed. I wanted it to mimic the images I saw online daily. I wanted no strand of hair to be out of place, no roll when I popped my hip, no smile that made my face look wider or bloated. I was demanding perfection of my physical self.

But this video reminded me that the beauty I saw online, the beauty that I so often compared myself to, was not the same beauty that I could easily identify in my offline life. I know this is true because I have never seen a person in real life and thought of them as ugly. But in the online space, there are rules. So many of them. Like what clothes are popular and what clothes aren’t. What poses look good and what hairstyles one should wear. Makeup? Always, yes. If not, the image must be accompanied by a lengthy caption about self love and an encouragement to your followers that they should engage in makeup-free days occasionally.

And so, this video changed my perspective. Although, I still have a long way to go in terms of loving myself and treating my physical self with respect, it showed me that these standards I had put on myself were not just unrealistic but completely unnecessary.

This want for more, for perfection, may never leave me, but I will continue to challenge it.

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