Defying Vanity

I have an issue with our issues with vanity. Vanity, as seen above, implies excessive pride or admiration in your appearance but our society has made self-confidence synonymous with vanity, making it virtually impossible to like yourself without facing criticism.

Not to get political but capitalism feeds on us disliking ourselves so of course they are going to shame any self-confident statements we put out. If we all liked ourselves and didn’t feel the need to change how we look to meet society’s standards the diet industry, makeup industry, plastic surgery industry, Spanx, orthodontics, and all other industries seeking to help people alter their appearance would be put out of business. They thrive on our insecurities.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek to be healthier and make decisions that will improve your mental and physical well-being, whatever that means for you, it just means you shouldn’t feel like that is something you have to do to be accepted into society.

So many kids grow up feeling like they are ugly or something is wrong with them because they don’t look like the people they see in the media but what those kids don’t realize is many of those stars and people they look up to felt like them at one point, and still likely feel the pressures to conform to a certain image. Any things they may like about themselves become overshadowed by the insecurities of needing to fit into a mold.

Time and again, we are told how insecure girls especially are, One Direction even said that not knowing you’re beautiful is what makes you beautiful, and what does that mean for us? When you realize you’re beautiful you’re no longer beautiful because you now know? So we need to seek external validation, but only if it’s in an unassuming way, we can’t purposely share a cute picture in the hopes of getting validation from friends?

That doesn’t really support the creation of self-confidence, rather it tells us that we need to be insecure so that other people can feel good about themselves for paying you a compliment because maybe it will boost your self esteem, but remember, you can’t actually let that happen because it leads to the “are you beautiful?” paradox One Direction created.

I have too often seen someone post a picture they feel confident in, only for people to tear them down for “trying to get likes”, “being slutty”, “thinking they’re cuter than they are”, and all sorts of negative comments about their true intent. Why can’t someone just share a picture of themselves that they like? What is wrong with liking yourself?

And the answer is nothing, absolutely nothing is wrong with liking yourself for who you are, in fact we need more of that. We need to see more love directed at ourselves so that future generations don’t grow up feeling like shit for how they look and wanting to like how they look.

I have struggled with issues of self-confidence for most of my life and any time that I did feel good about myself and wanted to share a picture that exemplified that confidence, I hesitated to share it (and often didn’t) because I didn’t want to be accused of looking for attention or being obsessed with myself. I WISH I had seen more love directed at one’s self when I was going through my formative years (aka ~ p u b e r t y ~) so that I wouldn’t have picked apart the way I looked and just accepted myself.

I didn’t even think it was okay to like how you looked, we were always shown messages that you should criticize how you look because not only will you portray yourself as humble, but people will tell you all kinds of good things about yourself to make you feel better, but make sure not to believe them!

I was going to say we shouldn’t be obsessed with ourselves but honestly? Fuck that. BE obsessed with yourself, look forward to looking in the mirror and loving what you see, take a shit ton of selfies because you can’t get enough of how good you look, just love yourself.

Because if you don’t, who will?

2 thoughts on “Defying Vanity

  1. Even though I enjoyed reading your article, I must (most respectfully) disagree. I am so tired of people obsessing over their looks while at the same time completely ignoring the task of improving their minds. They get tattoos all over their body, yet never read a book. They pierce their faces, color their hair, and exercise, but they wouldn’t watch a documentary on science or history if they were paid to do so. The person sitting in a car is more important than the car. The car is just the vehicle we use to take us from one location to the next. It is the same with our mind and body. The body is just the vehicle we use to take our mind from one experience to the next. Please, remind people that looking good doesn’t make one interesting. Interesting comes from the mind, not the body.

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    1. Thank you for reading! I would say that this post aligns with body positivity: being body positive and celebrating your appearance, I also agree with body neutrality: focusing on what your body does for you, it’s purpose. Which, sounds more in line with your opinions. Of course people are more than their physical appearance. This post is more so saying that it’s okay to like looking good, in addition to the other things you like. Appreciating your beauty and engaging your mind are not mutually exclusive.

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