Friday, 31 July 2015

confidence relativity and the #dontjudgechallenge

This post has been brewing for a few weeks but I wanted to make sure I was in a relaxed state of mind, just so this didn't turn into a crazy rant. It all started when I started seeing these videos on facebook and twitter, which soon began to accompany the hashtag #DontJudgeChallenge. For anyone who has been absent online the past month (firstly lucky you) here is a delightful video montage.

The videos all begin in a similar manner - we are introduced to a teenager with a drawn on monobrow, some artfully placed acne spots, or even cotton buds sticking out the ears in some of the more 'outgoing' clips. BUT WAIT! Then they pretend to dab some lotion on their faces, cover the camera to reveal - THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL ALL ALONG!!!
Is my sarcasm obvious?

I can't even begin to explain how messed up I find this craze. Why shouldn't I judge you? If someone who happened to have naturally thick eyebrows or suffered from acne posted a selfie showing their bare face, I would respect them. I would equally respect any of these people who decided to pluck their eyebrows, or someone who loves to experiment with makeup. Really, it makes me happy when practically anyone posts a picture of themselves online. Go do you - I am so glad you're feeling confident today!! But if you made one of these videos, I am sure as hell going to judge you. Who made you President and said you could decide what was attractive and what wasn't? 

From before our calendar existed, monobrows have been depicted in art, often as a sign of beauty. The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo famously emphasised her own in her prolific self-portraits, which have become iconic and influential in the art of self-expression. In fact, it is only Western society who has frowned upon and scoffed at connected brows - and of course this opinion is the one that has prevailed. 

frida rocking the single brow
As for acne, any sane person should know that YOU CAN'T HELP HAVING IT. Although those who are uncomfortable with their copious eyebrow hairs can simply pluck them out, unfortunately the same cannot be said for misbehaving skin. Sometimes no matter how much you wash your face or how many different products you try, you're always going to get spots. Many are uncomfortable or ashamed of their acne and decide to wear makeup, which leads to the other side of the issue.

The problem I have here is that once all these traditionally beautiful kids rub off their fake spots for their 'Dont Judge Challenge' they will be swooned over, even if for their 'After' shot they've spent an hour so they can look their best. Of course there's nothing wrong with that, but it's the fact that if someone has bad skin and they decide to wear makeup, they will get called fake for doing so. This is something I will never understand as nobody looks the same without makeup on - so why should there be rules governing who should be allowed to wear it without being accused of 'tricking people'? A youtuber I watch made a really emotional and thought-provoking video about this topic which you can watch here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that confidence and beauty shouldn't be relative. There is no one true definition. As cliché as it sounds, it is ultimately true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. First and foremost, the eyes you should care about are your own. Decide what makes you feel comfortable and confident - do you want to contour your face? Cut your hair short? Grow a beard? Wear nothing but black? If it makes you feel good, do it. But if you notice someone that does not fit your idea of beautiful, don't scorn or mock them because of that. Don't judge them. Being comfortable with yourself is one of the most important parts of growing up, but if the only way you can do that is by putting other people beneath you, you're not learning to love yourself the right way. 

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