I was having a scroll through Facebook earlier and clicked into an article I saw on a beauty blog about how bardot (off the shoulder) tops are going to be popular this summer. There were then some helpful hints on how to get your shoulders into shape so that you can be ‘proud to show them off’ in the latest trend. I felt so silly. There I was, sitting in a bardot top, and I hadn’t given a second thought to whether or not my shoulders were up to standard.
I scrolled on a little further and found another article. This one helpfully suggested ways to ‘get away with’ not wearing make up. I am wearing make up today, and I do most days, but on the days when I’m not wearing make up I don’t think that I’m doing something that I should be embarrassed about.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy beauty blogs as much as the next person. I like watching tutorials or reading about new styles and looking at pictures of clothes I can’t afford. What I don’t like is the amount of articles focused on finding yet another insecurity for people to get caught up about, either based on appearance or on any aspect of your life. I used to read magazines much more often than I do now. The reason I stopped is because one day I read a single magazine which told me about the importance of finding a work/life balance AND to always be thinking about the next step in my career; it gave me a recipe for home-made muffins to treat AND and some new workout tips to burn calories; I was taught why it’s good to be single AND how to flirt so I don’t have to be single anymore. It’s exhausting. I can’t keep up. This isn’t only about fashion trends but about the way in which we live every part of our lives. The messages are confusing and contradictory, but they all tell you that what you are and what you are doing right now isn’t quite right… you should work on that.
Back to the article I was reading this morning, there I was scrolling through Facebook when suddenly I was being told that I should have been paranoid about a part of myself really I’ve never thought all that much about before. Apparently they’re supposed to be strong and shapely, I don’t really know what mine are but they’re not that. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging people to get into shape, it’s good for our health and I know that. So many exercise tips and guides are really beneficial and useful and I completely understand why they are so popular. That said, shouldn’t getting into shape be so that we can be healthier, fitter and stronger and not so that we can ‘dare’ to ‘show off’ our shoulders? As for being ‘brave’ enough not to wear make-up, is it really so shocking that someone would leave the house with their face as it is? I know myself that people will ask if I’m sick, upset or shell-shocked when I’m bare faced and often mistaken for someone half my age, but I still don’t think this is a good enough reason to act as though not wearing make up is something which is controversial or breaking a rule.
Maybe I’m a hypocrite. There are plenty of beauty blogs that I follow and love, and there are some magazine articles that I really get a lot out of. I’m in no way writing them off. They’re a great way to get new tips on things you are interested in, to think about something in a different way or to learn something new. There are many bloggers and magazines out there making a point of empowering people with what they do, celebrating individuality and encouraging others to find what works for them. Some magazines are great at highlighting issues which disproportionately affect women and start debates, something which is always good. Sometimes the clothes just look amazing. Like I say, I love fashion, enjoy make-up, and believe that we should all strive to be fit and healthy… but my shoulders are fine just as they are.