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The Conditioning of Womxn to be Appearance Focused

body image Aug 23, 2020
**I want to start this topic off by saying that there is NO judgement towards anyone who takes time to work on their appearance. I get that having rituals that help you focus on yourself and having pretty nails or a clean face can be beneficial. Hey! I focus on clothes and how they can help us connect with ourselves and how we feel.**
So NO judgement from me.
However, it hit me that a lot of womxn's self-care practices revolve around "improving" their appearance. I am sure that there is some biological evolution thingy going on...but I also question whether we have been conditioned to believe that our appearance, as womxn, is something that is always having to be improved or worked on in comparison to men.
I believe 100% yes. It is hard to deny that here has been an exorbitant amount of pressure and conditioning placed on womxn's value around their appearance and their objectification.
I know a lot of women spend a lot of time and money around:
- hiding their grey hair
- having a regimen of 10+ products to reduce wrinkles
- losing weight,
- smoothing skin
- getting nails, eyelashes or eyebrows done on a regular basis
- and ALL the ways we cause ourselves pain to remove hair...
Again, no judgement from me. I have practiced some of the above. But I hit a point in my life that I started to question why I do any of those things. Am I REALLY doing it for myself or have I been conditioned to do these things to feel worthy, accepted or desired by others?
Who really benefits from these "self-care" practices?
When I realized that my time is one of the most valuable things in my life. It helped me get REAL clear in how I spent that time. One of the first things I changed was the hours spent in a salon chair covering my grey. Again, no judgement. This was my personal choice.
I wanted to really pull back the layers of my own motivation and ask myself what is really important to me. And I asked myself what does my version of self-care really look like? And none of the answers led me down the path around my appearance. I am also a kind of a big rebel and once my eyes were opened to the billion dollar industries that benefit from fostering womxn's insecurities around their appearance, it was an easy decision for me to not buy into all of it.
Do I still care about what I look like? Yes.
Do I still wear make-up? Yes.
Do I still wear jeans that show off my butt? Yes.
Do I pluck my chin hairs? Yes.
But I guess what I am trying to say is that I want a world where it can be also normalized to see facial hair or arm pit hair on a womxn. For womxn to wear a spaghetti strap top AND still be taken seriously as a professional. To wear a bikini and show our cellulite without a second thought.
I  want to recognize that my appearance is not something that I can control or at least, I choose not to control it. I want to embrace my changes with grace and acceptance.
I am not here to tell you what to so, stop doing or even how to feel about this...but I am here to prompt you to start questioning WHY so many self care practices that womxn participate in revolve around their appearance. What impactful changes could womxn do with their time of they didn't have to put so much energy and time into working on their appearance?
I don't have the answers, but I think this is a great discussion to starting having with ourselves and others.

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