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Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Updated on November 24, 2015

Or is it only skin deep?

What is your definition of beauty? If something wasn't asthetically pleasing would it stop you from appreciating it, or would you look beneath the surface to see if it might just be a hidden gem?

Do you think the media focuses far too much on celebrities and perfectionism and is leading a lot of the younger generation into a false sense of security? I'm asking these questions because of some television programmes I saw on the subject and they got me curious!

The programmes were about disfigurement and surgery. Some people were born disfigured, others became disfigured by accident. The programmes focused on how society viewed them and how they in turn viewed our celebrity obsessed society. They had teamed them up with seemingly 'normal' people who were contemplating surgery because they were unhappy with an aspect of themselves. It was good to see both sides of the coin and I noticed the person with the disfigurement was often the strongest character, more accepting of themselves.

Nobody is Perfect

I get really annoyed when I see someone being given a hard time because of how they look. This stems from being bullied as a youngster. In my early teens I used to pull my at my hair and ended up looking an absolute mess with bald patches everywhere. I know now that it was a condition:- Trichotillomania, but then I had to live with it and go to school looking like a freak; it was the worst time of my life, the taunting was unbearable.

I'm not going into the details here because there's a lot more to it, but am merely highlighting how verbal abuse is just as serious as physical abuse, or any form of abuse. People may say, 'sticks and stones' regarding words and name-calling but they can have a devastating effect on the recipient, often never leaving them - the mental scars are permanent. It's hard to be happy with who you are if society doesn't seem to accept you. If your difference is physical you will have a lot to overcome. Real beauty, in my opinion, lies beneath the surface and perfection doesn't exist; nobody is perfect.

What Price Vanity?

I've never had any form of plastic/cosmetic surgery. No boob job, nose job, skin peel, botox, trout pouts. At the very most my hair colour comes from out of a bottle, as does my fake tan in summer and once I had my nails done (which was a gift) and I hated them - I couldn't scratch my bum, tie my shoelaces or do the gardening - highly impractical!

I can't understand women who have surgery when it's not really necessary and is for vanity alone. What is the appeal in having needles in your face to stop wrinkles, or around your mouth to give you kissy lips? I don't get it, and I wouldn't trust the stuff that's pumped into the skin either, is it really safe - what will you look like in years to come, apart from a pin-cushion? As you can see, I'm not vain. I think I look at myself once in the mirror in a morning when I've done my hair (which re-grew eventually) and very basic make-up, and that's about it.

Never judge a book by its cover

I admit there are some cases where cosmetic surgery is necessary, such as something causing pain and distress. But for things that only cause emotional suffering, should that person not be having their mind treated rather than a nip and tuck here and there? I'm meaning those people who have low self-esteem who think surgery will give them a new lease of life. I'm meaning those people who think the only way to be accepted is to emulate a particular pop-star/actor/writer etc by copying their appearance. Beyond the false eyelashes, hair extensions, fake tan and war-paint, who is the real person underneath and will bigger boobs really change your life?

People with disfigurement have to deal with real issues, both mental and physical. They have to either accept who they are or have surgery if it's available. I doubt they would urge a person who is not disfigured to rush into surgery, they would probably want to give them a good shaking instead and tell them to get real.

Never judge a book by its cover, always take a look inside - you might learn something. I've learned that people with real disfigurements who have no choice but to live with them, are quite amazing. They grow a thick skin and have no time for the negativity and ignorance of others. They have huge strength of character, they climb mountains where the rest of us complain about the most trivial things.

Don't abuse those who look 'different'

If years ago I had been offered a hair transplant I might have taken it. If I'd been offered a wig I might have had that too. Instead I went into a dark place and cried, my dignity had been taken from me - a girl's hair is her crowning glory is it not? I knew with time my hair would come back, it took a couple of years or so to look something like normal and not like a moth had been at my head. When it came back, I was in a different place mentally - not only had I matured, I had grown into a young woman and off I went into the world, nobody was going to push me around again.

That's not entirely true though, it didn't stop there, various forms of abuse were still going to come into my life. At least I had my hair. At least I had strength of character. At least I always had a smile no matter what was going on beneath the surface.

So yes, it makes my blood boil when I see or hear anyone being abused because of how they look - any form of abuse makes my blood boil. But it makes me hopping mad when I see perfectly 'normal' looking people who are convinced there's something wrong with them because they don't look a particular way. Looks are what make us individual. Imagine a world where we all looked the same, how very boring! Stay unique, unique is interesting.

Who is it all for anyway?

I do care about my appearance, particularly my hair, but I'm not obsessed with it. I don't worry about lines and wrinkles, I'm happy to grow old gracefully. I've been carrying this body for forty-three years and it is testement to how I've treated it, it sags a bit here and there but I expect it to, the law of gravity can't keep my breasts pointing North forever! I do believe you are what you eat and that your lifestyle shows in your face and body.

So I don't do excesses - everything in moderation, although I'm no angel and sometimes my halo slips. The best beauty treatments you could give yourself are the ones you eat and drink, oh and exercise too. I don't fall prey to the beauty industry, you can't buy confidence/self-esteem/youthfullness in a jar, which is what most women really expect a pot of cream to give them. That's why I cringe when I see people going to extremes to look good, who is it all for? Is it really for them or society?

If we could turn back time we could re-live yesterday...

Don't line the pockets of the beauty industry and the media by buying into their products. We all use them, but nothing can turn back time or perform miracles. Take them at face value (excuse the pun) and don't spend a fortune, spend only what you need or can afford - be proud to be imperfect, because everybody is.

Celebrities and wrinkles have a lot in common, because for every one of them there is, there is always another just around the corner...

What's your view?

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