Sluggishly, I drag my limp and cumbersome body out of bed, I know it is time to begin my daily routine, my toilette. I sit up to the background screeching of my alarm clock, I ask myself why the sound cannot be a soothing lull instead of the odious one blurting out now. I finally coerce my eyes into submission and open them. I see my world in my room and am ready to welcome another day, but this cannot be done before I repeat my monotonous and highly mechanical daily routine.
I stand in front of the mirror and gaze at the imperfect features Nature has, supposedly, blessed me with. The incessant drone of adverts oppressively showered onto women everywhere by the beauty industry have indoctrinated us to believe that what we were born with – the features Nature has adorned us with – are never bold enough, never emphasised enough, never aesthetically pleasing enough, never enough. Despite knowing the influence that ceaseless television shows and the surge of posters and leaflets has had on my mind, I cannot move away from the need for artifice. Artifice covers the flaws I have been taught to believe I possess, and anything that exposes them is an inferior product and must be replaced. No speck of natural skin, be it an eyelash, an eyebrow, part of the eyelid, can shine through for the scrutinising judging eyes of onlookers. I, as we all, will be condemned if we let our true faces be seen.
With this sinister mantra in mind, I apply my rose-beige foundation to my uneven skin (this breathing living organ that protects my being from harm I cover up), next comes the eyeliner – it shapes my eyes and allows me to be able to stare at myself in the mirror. ‘I’m less ugly now,’ the voice in my head reassures me. It does so not to be cruel, it just alleviates the angst I feel at the crude reflection of my own face. Next, the mascara to define the crooked strands of hair that otherwise appear invisible. Then comes the contouring, used to give my visage the artificial illusion of definition and shape in all the desired crevices – like the pronounced cheek bones we’re all supposed to have – but that were, sadly, omitted from my face. Finally, to conceal the uncouth form of my lips I apply the tyrant’s brand – MAC – to complete the illusion of aesthetic appeal, to fill the void of crumbling self-confidence, to soothe Mother Nature since I betray her daily with this application of artifice, to calm my soul, to cage everything pure, and be less demure.
The need to be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, to make an effort for those around is a daily pressure on the modern-day woman. There is a constant need to strive for perfection, and a flawless face is no exception.
In the piece above, the protagonist’s relationship with her body is grotesque. She loathes everything natural and hails everything artificial. This fractured relationship with beauty may appear extreme, but for some people it is the reality. They cannot see the natural beauty they possess.
The piece is a reminder to women that bullying yourself about your looks is never the answer. They say: ‘If you wont love yourself then no one will,’ and not to sound cliche, but that may well be true. Have the confidence to know you don’t need artifice in your life, but also know yourself – if make up makes you feel sexy embrace it – just make sure its for the right reasons.