There’s “Perfection,” which is a Load of Bull Poop… And then There’s Perfection, which is You!

20 Nov
My favorite selfies are those when I first wake up with no makeup. MY perfection at its best!

My favorite selfies are those when I first wake up with no makeup. MY perfection at its best!

Hey there, you Perfect one!

I hear the words “perfect” and “imperfect” a lot in this industry, but in the back of my head I always question, “What’s ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ though and who determines that?” So far, “perfect” by mainstream standards is a bit rigid and repetitious if you ask me. It’s usually no larger than a size 6; not too dark or too pale (unless it’s like a porcelain pale); straight, stark white teeth; just enough curve without being too voluptuous; and overall, it’s really safe–nothing too far from ordinary. It aligns with dominant society’s “pretty” template. I’ve been in meetings with editors discussing celebrities for different beauty stories and I’ve heard them say, “Ummm, she’d look so much better if she got a nose job.” and “I don’t know about her. Her complexion is a little too ‘intense.'” I’ve always wanted to blurt out, “But who are you and who made you the authority on beauty?” followed by other expressions unfit for the professional setting. But because I wasn’t in a position to shout obscenities without having to pay severe consequences, I had to exercise a little wisdom and creatively find other ways to stand up for beauty’s vastness.

I was brought back to the question of “perfection” around 12:30 this morning as I perused the fabulous Necole Bitchie’s IAMNECOLE blog. In one of her posts, “A Perfect Smile: Is It Everything?”, she bravely revealed past insecurities regarding her teeth. She shared a particular instance in which a high school bully joked on her teeth, and another time where even her mom’s boyfriend called her a “buck toothed bitch.” Long story short, those traumatic experiences followed her into adulthood and she eventually got porcelain veneers so she wouldn’t have to hide behind an “imperfect” smile.

Necole went on to write, “I can’t imagine how many kids today, with the rise of social media, are getting taunted and bullied, because of something on their body that may not be perfect.” Again I asked, “but what is ‘not perfect’?” Is it crooked teeth? A gap? Big nose? Butt chin? Little eyes? Thin lips? Full lips? Uneven complexion? Albinism? Paralysis? Special needs? I really want to challenge you to think to yourself why these features and others are considered imperfect, and who said so and what qualified them to say so. Our ideas of “perfection” come from somewhere and that somewhere is usually society around us. We subconsciously create these definitions of “perfect” and “imperfect” beauty from magazine covers, music videos, commercials and billboards. It starts as early as when we’re little girls watching our favorite Disney princess on TV. If the princess, one who’s revered as the “prettiest in all the land,” is usually fair skinned and thin with evenly sized teeth, a tiny nose and long flowing hair, then of course we consume that and digest it as “beauty.” In everyday life, those who most closely resemble this month’s magazine cover or that cartoon Disney princess are “perfect” or “pretty,” and those whose image veers from that are “just average” or “unattractive.”

It’s my hope that you start correlating how the imagery around you shapes your thoughts about and definitions of “beauty” and “perfection,” and that you start recognizing such rigidness for the bull poop its worth. When you’re reading magazines or watching TV and certain beauty is favored over others, remind yourself that imperfect minds–such as beauty editors, fashion experts and casting directors–cannot determine the definition of perfect beauty. These are the same minds that once only allowed blacks to enter nightclubs and college institutions if their complexion was the shade of or lighter than a brown paper bag. These are the same minds that once killed off countless Jews but spared those with blond hair and blue eyes. These are the same minds that once labeled redheads as “witches” and punished them by death. Now, I’m not at all saying that magazine editors and commercial producers are one in the same with psycho historic bigots, but I do want you to really grasp the nonsense that our human brain is capable of when it comes to determining what beauty is and who’s worthy. Do such minds sound the least bit qualified to define physical perfection? Not at all!

Regardless of what you see or hear or any traumatizing experiences you go through, know that you’re perfect and beautiful in your own way–not Cindy Crawford’s way or Naomi Campbell’s way or Lucy Liu’s way or J.Lo’s way. Perfection has nothing to do with hair texture or face symmetry or resemblance to a plastic Barbie, but it has all to do with uniqueness, prideful ownership of that uniqueness, and healthy perception of self. Just as a straight smile is perfect, so is a crooked one. Own it, love it and YOUR perfection will shine through!

Love you lots,

Essy

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