So obviously I watch Love Island… and on last night’s show one of the contestants had a mini break down about her lack of confidence and how she can’t help but compare herself to the other women on the show. This hit home with many of the program’s female viewers, including myself.
My boyfriend didn’t get it, “What is she on about?! Grow up!” but I knew exactly how she felt. Gabby is one of the more natural looking females on the show. She doesn’t appear to have plumped up lips or fake boobs. She has hair extensions but her hair is at a chic, blunt lob (long bob, duh). She’s a personal trainer so her body is phenomenal and she has gorgeous blue eyes and a lovely smile. She also seems to be one of the more mature, “down to earth” characters, not as interested in drama or game playing. But she was in tears saying she felt like as soon as she got out she wanted to book herself a boob job and get hair extensions down to her bum.
It may seem ridiculous but almost all women do this. It’s impossible not to! We compare ourselves to women on TV, on Instagram, at work, on the bus! I’ve been unhappy about various parts of myself for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been “the pretty one” in any of my friendship groups. WHO CARES? WHY DOES IT MATTER?! I don’t know but for some reason it does and for most of my life it made me feel like shit.
Ok, when I was at school I had a lot going against me (braces, acne, the lack of decent hair straighteners on the market…) and sadly I had a group of skinny, straight-haired, perfect skinned friends to contend with. At Uni however I’d come out the other side of all that, I’d medicated my skin into looking better than ever and GHD’s had been invented (praise be)! I was more confident than I’d been at school as I felt like I was coming into my own, looks wise. But two of my closest friends (and flatmates) at Uni were tiny, blonde haired, blue-eyed pixies so really I paled in comparison. In my mind this was the best I’d ever looked… but it still wasn’t good enough. I still wasn’t the pretty one when I was standing next to them, watching them get chatted up by many a passer by. Now don’t get me wrong, I did alright! But I was constantly comparing myself to them because we looked so different. Now I was a bit (gag) “alternative” in those days and my Uni really wasn’t. Who’s to say in a different school or city or group of friends I wouldn’t have been the pretty one? But in that place, at that time, I was not many people’s cup of tea. Or at least that’s how I felt.
Even today, even though I know its wrong, I still do it. If you know me you’ll know I HATE HATE HATE my nose, my upper (ham) arms and my entire, middle. I have tried to lose weight, I’ve had personal trainers, I’ve joined gyms, I’ve tried spin, swimming, yoga and am always going on and off diets. None of the girls in any of my friendship groups has a body even similar to mine. It makes me feel like a freak, many of them appear to be able to eat want they want and don’t seem to ever gain weight where as I have steadily been gaining weight every year since I was about 19.
Sometimes I look at my face in the mirror and I catch myself thinking its OK. Then I’ll see a picture of my massive fucking snoz taking centre stage and I’ll all but run to grab the kitchen scissors and try to lop it off! (Your nose NEVER stops growing people, it’s not looking good for me but damn, nose jobs are esspensive! Plus they look hella painful…)
I can’t even get a hair cut without over thinking it! My hair has been long and layered for years and I felt like it looked stale and boring. So I did my classic move of cutting in a fringe and then instantly regretting it. I kept seeing pics of girls with these stylish, choppy haircuts that they were curling to look tousled and effortless and I thought, “I want dat”. So I got it cut and I loved it for 24 whole hours and then I thought, shit, did I look better with long hair? Does this length age me?! Should I grow it back out?! But wait, does long hair look as edgy? Am I too old for hair that long?! These are the thoughts that now go through my head about once a day.
Now it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve always been pretty happy with my legs. My calves are skinny, my thighs are thick but in an OK way and now that they’ve been lasered to within an inch of their life, I look forward to getting them out in the summer. Something my boyfriend has previously commented on is that fact that I don’t have cellulite. Welp, at the ripe old age of 32 guess what I got now… you guessed it- cellulite baby! On my thighs. I know he was trying to compliment me and meant well but now I don’t feel so great. Now I feel like the one good part of myself has been tainted. But everyone has cellulite! Skinny people have cellulite! Doesn’t matter. I didn’t have it and now I do and I hate my thighs. (Calves- you still good, I know you got my back.)
It really hit home when it came to my lips. I have NEVER had a problem with them. I love their shape I’m very happy with their fullness, they look great with a bright lippy. HOW-EV-ER, as someone with an interest in beauty, I follow a lot of “influencers” on Instagram and YouTube and there is a big trend in that scene at the moment of getting lip fillers. Some of them are huge and obvious some of them are more natural but a lot of them do look good and for the first time in my life I found myself questioning whether my lips looked their best.
It’s been said a thousand times before but I’m gonna say it again for the people at the back; there is a huge amount of pressure on women to look good all the time. But good by whose standards? The ones we’re surrounded by. If big lips are in but your aren’t big enough you better do something about it! Straighten you’re hair because curly hair isn’t fashionable. 10-20 years ago skinny eyebrows were the thing, so we invested in Tweezermans and plucked the shit out of them. Well sorry, that’s considered gross now you moron! Grow that shit back out if you don’t want to look like a weirdo! People might not like it if you wear “too much” makeup up but then they ask if there’s something wrong or tell you that you look tired when you don’t wear any. It’s simple really just wear the CORRECT amount, jeeze! Crop tops are in I’m afraid so if you haven’t got the body for them then you must dress like a middle aged art teacher because there’s no in between. It kind of feels like a lose lose stich.
Last night I was comparing myself to a Swedish YouTuber. She’s tall, athletic, has long, icy blonde hair and equally icy blue eyes with a cute little nose to match. I AM NEVER GOING TO LOOK LIKE THIS WOMAN. EVER. But I wish I did because she’s beautiful. But I also wish I looked like Lourdes and Dua Lipa (have you SEEN her stomach?!) and they look totally different! So it never ends really. I’ll probably never be happy with the way I look. But hey, maybe in my own way I’m also beautiful? Maybe I have nice eyes and good skin and ok hair and straight teeth- but I didn’t always! I fucking suffered through a lot of shit to have that stuff and a lot of money was spent! If I hadn’t done that I’d look completely different and maybe be even more unhappy.
What I’m saying is, the cycle never ends so maybe just let us off for not wanting to wear makeup everyday or wash our hair because chances are we’re giving ourselves a much harder time for it.