Recently, I needed some make-up so I went to our local department store to buy what I needed. I was lot of money to look our best. It got me to thinking just how much money we spend and how many products we use to look presentable. shocked at how high the prices were! We women sure pay a lot of money to look our best. It got me to thinking just how much money we spend and how many products we use to look presentable.
Let’s start with our faces… First we need special face washes to make sure that our face is super clean. We may also use a face mask (either mud or peel) to get deep into those pores and clean them out! Follow that with a toner, though I’m not sure what the toner does because my face doesn’t look any more toned than before I used it. After that, we use a facial lotion to smooth over our face and neck. But that won’t do for the eyes, so we need a specialized eye cream. Of course, these lotions and creams must be anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, lifts and tightens, and have an SPF to keep us safe from the sun.
To add color to our faces, we use a foundation to smooth out the blotches and uneven areas, and we can use different shades so that we can contour and shape our face. Add to this, we need cover-up to hide any dark circles, zits, or freckles. A good blush can make our faces look slimmer and our cheekbones more pronounced. We move on to the eyes. There are hundreds of colors to choose from and we can use several different colors at the same time to get the desired effect. We also apply mascara, but it can’t be any ordinary mascara; it’s the extend the lashes five to eight times the length, separate, and look fuller mascara. If we need to make our eyes stand out a little more, we can add eyeliner or even fake eye lashes.
After we have all this applied, we dab our face with powder to set everything in place that we have already put on. We also carry a compact with us so we can keep the shine off our faces and do those little touch-ups when needed.
At the end of the day, we need to be able to take off the make-up so we use eye make-up remover and regular make-up removers. After we take our day face off, and before we go to bed, we need the night creams and eye creams to work on our faces while we are sleeping, again to remove wrinkles and to keep us from aging!
This is just the face. Now on to the hair and we collect bottles of shampoos, conditioners, gels, mousses, spritzes, sprays, volume lifters, and the list goes on. If our hair isn’t the color we want, there are hundreds of hair dye products to choose from and then we have to buy the products to keep our hair color from fading!
We also need body lotions that are anti-aging, anti-wrinkling, SPF, and in different fragrances to keep the rest of our skin smooth and youthful looking. Don’t forget just the right deodorant, too! These even come in countless fragrances!
What woman doesn’t shave her legs? There are all kinds of razors to choose from in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Add to that the shaving gels in an assortment of scents that we use to keep from nicking ourselves, as well as to keep our legs silky and smooth.
Of course, we also need to keep our nails looking good. There are creams and lotions for the nails, the nail primer, nail color, topcoat, files, buffers, fake nails, and now little stickers to put on the nails. Obviously, we can’t just do our hand nails; our toe nails need to look good, too. And then we need to be able to take all this off, so there are nail polish removers. Once that’s done, we need hand lotions to keep our hands looking youthful, and of course, there are countless lotions to choose from in a variety of fragrances.
Who can leave out the perfumes? We love our perfumes! We can smell like flowers, fruit, wood, and thousands of other heavenly or earthly scents because we women must smell good!
Now that we have our make-up, hair, and bodies done, we can now move on to our undergarments. They come in every color and pattern imaginable, as well as every shape and size. Add to this, we must keep our fat in place, so we have girdles, Spanx, and other torture items that we squeeze and stuff ourselves into. Who cares that we can’t breathe! We look an eighth of an inch thinner!
We then have the outer clothes we wear, and what a variety of styles we have to choose from! Our closets are stuffed with clothes! We keep the clothes that are too big so we can wear them on those bloated days or if we gain our weight back. We have the clothes that just fit. And then we have the clothes that are too small because we just know that one day we’ll get back into them. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t worn them since grade school; we will get back into them!
Who can forget the shoes? The pointier the toes and the taller the heels, the better we’re told our legs and feet look! So we squeeze all ten toes into shoes that not even a bed bug can get into. Women are out there walking on stilts just to make our legs look a little slimmer! And you know that we have to have shoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors to match every outfit that is hanging in our closet
After we’re all dressed, we need to accessorize! Earrings, rings, watches, bracelets, necklaces, toe rings, ankle bracelets, hair ornaments, hair bands… Need I say more?
Now on to the men….
If you go down any isle of any department store, the sections for men are few and far between. There’s a small selection of razors usually in just a couple of manly colors, as well as some electric shavers and a selection of shaving creams and aftershaves. Do you ever see the creams and lotions with the anti-aging, anti-wrinkling, and SPF directed toward men? I think not!
There are very few shampoos and conditioners marketed towards men. Men will choose what they need and one bottle will usually do him until it runs out. There is a selection of deodorants with some masculine fragrances, but not as many as there are for women. Men might use a body lotion if they have dry skin, but give them a basic lotion and they’re happy! Men will wear cologne, and who doesn’t love a nice smelling man, but you don’t see the large selections like you do women’s fragrances.
Clothes? Men just put something on to get out the door. Most wear suits and a tie or jeans and a shirt. How many men do you know who will change clothes a half dozen times trying to find that one outfit that will make them look just a little thinner? And when was the last time you saw a man try something on and ask, “Does this make me look fat?” Basic shoes, tennis shoes, and socks in a couple colors round out his attire.
Other than that, men do not have nearly the upkeep we women have!
Women and young girls feel a lot of pressure to conform to the way others think they should look, and most of it is dictated by society and the media. Look at any magazine that is directed towards females. They’re full of articles and ads that make women feel that in order to be accepted they have to look like the women in the pictures, which means buying the products that are being advertized. What they don’t realize is that the pictures of these women and girls have been extremely photo-shopped so if you saw the real person, you wouldn’t know they were one and the same. No one can live up to the ideals that these medias propagate!
We have to remember that the people who make these products are in it to make money…period. And if they can play on women’s insecurities and feelings of low self-worth in order to increase their profits, they will do so. Unfortunately, we females buy into it and end up spending thousands of dollars on their products hoping they will somehow magically transform us into the perfectly photo-shopped women we see in the magazines.
Our health also takes a hit because most all the women in these pictures look like they haven’t eaten in months. Inches are trimmed off their bodies in the photos. Therefore, we also buy countless diet products thinking we’ll find that one magic formula that will do all the work for us. Many women end up having eating disorders and we’re finding this in young girls as well.
What’s sad is that we let society (through the media) dictate to us how we should look rather than being happy and content with who we are as we are. Their commercials and print-ads imply that if we use their products, our lives will suddenly transform and we will be happy and healthy by use of their products alone. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use the products. The question is why are we using them?
There will always be people and industries telling us how to dress, how to wear our hair and make-up, and that we have to be super skinny to be acceptable. The fashion industries tell us what’s ‘in’ and if we don’t do as they say, then we’re out of style.
What can we do? We need to teach women (and men) to love and accept ourselves as we are, and not be brainwashed into thinking we’re anything less than magnificent if we don’t conform to those ideals that don’t serve our highest good. It really is true that beauty is an inside job. No matter what we look like on the outside, if we feel beautiful and are happy within, it will show as beauty on the outside.
We came to earth in the bodies that we were given to us and the Universe/God doesn’t make mistakes. We are beautiful and magnificent just as we are! If we want to use some of these products to “enhance” a particular feature, then it is our freedom to do so. I use many of the products, but I also know that these products are not who I am. I’ve learned that my identity isn’t out there, but it is who I am within, and that is true for each and every one of us.
Let’s stop allowing others to dictate how we should look! Let’s stop buying into the hype that we have to spend money and buy and use certain products in order to look or feel a certain way! We need to be comfortable in our own skin and to love and appreciate ourselves as we are. As women (and men), let us take back our power from these industries and know that we are powerful, beautiful, and magnificent! We were made to be unique, so let’s bless our uniqueness and embrace our inner awesomeness! We are perfect just the way we are!
Published in the April 2014 issue of the Putnam County Visions Magazine.