It’s normal to hear girls say, “I wish I looked like…” ‘somebody’ whose looks are accomplished with a team of make-up artists, stylists, hairdressers and airbrushing. It’s an even stronger wish when the person’s looks they covet are naturally beautiful. That just puts salt in the wound, ‘the wound’ being how you feel about your reflection. Believing you’re not pretty enough for whoever or whatever is common.
The strange thing about feeling as though you want to look like someone else, is that you realise that if you exchange your eyebrows for hers then a piece of you would disappear. Not just the physical eyebrow but a little piece of your identity. As much as you dislike aspects of your face – and oh how I understand the utter despair of being genetically cursed – the thing is that those aspects make up you, they’ve been with you for your whole life in various sizes and they’re what you recognize as being yourself. Am I my mind? Am I this face? Or is it a combination of both that gives me my identity?
I have never really found supermodels attractive; this baffles most people. It’s just that they’re supposed to be the pinnacle of beauty, objects of prettiness sexiness and desire, long-legged coat-hangers… As such, you begin to view their made-up image in an objectified way. When viewing people this way, it is easy to become hyper-critical. It’s easy to not want anything less-than perfect when something ‘perfect’ is in front of you. It’s also easy to say, “well it’s not even perfect because look at her ghastly so-and-so…”
Contrastingly, when it comes to those I know in real life (and even the characters in television shows that I love, because they love me back I swear) this hyper-critical viewing of people’s looks disappears. I don’t notice, or I don’t care, or I actually find attractive your lopsided facial structure, or your crooked bottom teeth. Those things are just parts of the thing I like looking at: your face. Especially when you smile, or do that look when you think, or lean your cheek on your hand. Perhaps to you, friend or favourite character, these facial habits make you cringe when you catch site of them in a mirror, but I see them as being you how you are, and since I like you for who you are I also like and treasure that face of yours. Having a beautiful heart honestly does make your appearance more lovely.
An excellent Ted talk video by model Cameron Russell where she shows pictures of herself as a model, and pictures just of herself highlights some interesting inside info on what it’s like to model. Strangely, I found I’d rather steal the features of the ‘regular’ girl over the model girl, despite them being the exact same person. It’s not that the model image is ugly, it’s not that I’m taking some kind of noble, goodie-goodie high-road by saying that I prefer the natural, it’s just that it is very rare for me to see beauty I desire in an advertisement or fashion shoot. That kind of beauty is otherworldly and something I couldn’t handle if it magically popped onto my frame. She also talks about how models are probably some of the most insecure women out there, and judging just from the way I regard their images, it’s no wonder. Video links to youtube in new tab.
I always think that if I’m going to attain perfection, then I’m going to need to have perfect skin, blue eyes, blonde hair, high cheek bones, soft lips… basically, the Aryan dream, (side-note: finding these combination of features lovely does not make you a racist or a Neo-Nazi, I also find darker hair and features attractive, cheers) but then when I come across images of blonde women, none of them are good enough. What is wrong with my perception? Why aren’t these girls, with looks 10x those of mine, not elligible for my dream looks? Am I an awful human being or is there just no such thing as a ‘perfect dream face’?
Now, if these blondies were my friends then I would probably actually find them incredible looking. If they were my favourite television actors I’d find them incredible. As nameless blonde-haired faces on my screen or in my magazine who I don’t have a connection to – nope. not pretty enough. Also, see I can’t take the looks of somebody who I like because then they would cease to exist. (Point in this post where I realised I sound mentally ill).
I’ve never been fully able to wish that I looked like anyone different, I’ve always been held back by thinking that if I’m going to look different then I will be different. This isn’t so bad in dreamland where you can have extra personality, but I tend to think about how I just couldn’t pull off someone else’s looks. I wouldn’t be good enough for their looks. They wouldn’t suit me. I couldn’t be me with them. This is puzzling because though I am often angry at myself just for being me I don’t know how I would give up my whole being to become someone else permanently. Man, I sure am taking this “I wish I looked like…” thing seriously, aren’t I?
Maybe there is some weight to the sentiment “love the skin you’re in”. It’s hard to love the skin you’re in if it isn’t what you deem beautiful, but since there will never be a chance for me to inhabit young Jennifer Aniston’s body, I may as well get used to my own head. I also may as well relax about the wishing you looked different thing; it can’t ever actually happen, so maybe I should just enjoy the fantasy of being attractive. Mmm, just pretending my legs are long and my teeth are perfect. Feels good for now.
Captions about models being ugly are sarcastic.