For myself, and I think for many women – especially those of us who consider ourselves to be modern, intelligent, feminists, educated or whatever – there is a disconnect between what I think about my body intellectually and what I feel or believe deep down about it. Intellectually, I say to myself that I am naturally beautiful and I don’t need to conform to any social standards, particularly those that devalue and degrade women, in order to be beautiful.
However, all the while that I am telling myself this, I am hating my flabby tummy, hating my big nose, hating the pubic hair that defiantly grows all over my pubic area – in short, believing whole-heartedly that I am not beautiful, because I do not conform to the current definition of beauty.
And then, I hate myself for hating myself – I’m a smart, modern woman; I shouldn’t be hating my body! You can’t win, can you?
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Through this project, I want to explore the construction and creation of beauty, not to mention the acceptance – the possibility of acceptance – of the natural beauty inherent in myself and others. Of course, through these explorations, I will come up against, and question, the unrealistic expectations placed on women; the unrealistic standards, the inhuman standards of beauty demanded of women, when most or all of us are naturally beautiful.
That being said, I don’t think it’s a crime to take care of ourselves, to use lotions and potions on our bodies, to groom ourselves. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to doll ourselves up, to put on make-up in order to look fancy or professional or sexy. Instead of saying all this is wrong, I just want to document and examine things – from my daily beauty rituals to larger issues connected with beauty, bodies, self-acceptance, image, etc.
Perhaps a distinction can be made between being beautiful and getting fancy, getting all dolled up. Perhaps make-up makes us fancy, but we are all naturally beautiful – and we do not need all the make-up and waxing and colouring and shaving to make ourselves beautiful.