Beauty– a subject as classic and universal as love, death, and The Beatles. The concepts and philosophies on how to be “beautiful” may not have changed although the means on achieving it has undergone numerous incarnations over the ages.
When I was five, I was told that regular washing with soap and water is the key to a beautifully clean face and body. Now that I’m twenty-four, I was taught of the cleanse-tone-moisturize regime. And on top of that is a once in a while exfoliation, daily application of night/day cream, emulsion, serum/essence, and lotions containing tons of SPF, PA +++, etc. Things get even more complicated since beauty products especially those you put on the face should be non-comedogenic, hypo-allergenic, paraben/ pthalate-free… the list goes on. When I was five, I learned about the appropriate attire on a sunny, rainy, or windy day to look properly preppy. Now, five-year olds are aware of the latest Summer Collection of Yves Saint Laurent, the Fall Collection of Dolce & Gabanna, and other season collection coupled with these difficult to spell and pronounce designer names.
I usually hear some young people (mostly students) talking among themselves about this certain design being so last year and that design being the in thing now.
Wow. I never thought that creativity had an expiration date.
It is also a known-fact that even men are now into this fashion/beauty thing as much as women are. There are now fragrances for men, creams for men, and soaps for men. So even beautification now is gender-stereotyped huh? I just cannot imagine guys talking like “Dude, have you seen the latest set of shirts released by Calvin Klein?”“’Course I did man. How about the new whitening cream by Clinique that’s supposed to target your fine lines for a more refined, supple skin?” “Totally bro. I just can’t wait how our girlfriends would react when they see our cool tops exclusively designed by Ralph Lauren.”
It’s up to you to decide whether the girlfriends referred in this conversation are actual girlfriends or trendy friends who are girls.
Some who read this might roll their eyes immediately and say “Oh I get it. This is all about fashion being equated with shallowness” or “Another lecture on the dangers of being too beautiful, chic, and stylish. Duh.” The truth is I don’t have anything against beauty, fashion, or even vanity for that matter. In defense of the fashion/beauty industry, they say that people want to feel good by looking good and they only give what these people need. Some would argue that this industry ensures that a certain degree of style and elegance must be maintained in the society and they are its vanguard. Whatever their reasons are, these beauty/fashion companies treat this as business like any other. Plain and simple. People buy their products and become beautiful/fashionable; companies become richer and employ more people to be manufacturers, advertisers, and sellers- everybody happy right? TV personalities need to look good on the camera because they need to look good. Period.
A boy/girl who dresses fabulously has a higher chance of attracting a crowd, scoring the dream job, or winning the beauty pageant (Wake up. It’s not about the Q&A). There is no debate regarding inner versus outer beauty since it is the character which matters in the end. But let’s admit it. Looking good is a major, major plus. The regular boy-next-door or the girl-classmate-always-seated-at-the-back-row-unnoticed can be the next it-boy or the prom queen given the right makeover. Those born “unfortunately-looking” can still make up to it by wearing the right clothes, and prosthetics, err… I mean make-up. Those who are already unfairly beautiful and handsome to begin with and still decide to become Apollo and Aphrodite look-alikes with these clothes and beauty products on them are the culprit of envy and insecurity in this world.We mortals should do everything to make them fall from grace. But as the saying goes, too much of anything is bad.
So when does looking good become evil? What is alarming is when people begin to sell their souls for famous brands(and yes, it does happen). The danger with vanity is when people begin to equate confidence with a flawless, radiant skin instead of talent or intelligence, when friendship is based on owning the newest pair of stilettos rather than natural compatibility, and when dignity is synonymous to owning a Louis Vuitton bag.
Vanity according to the dictionary is taking too much pride on things that are lacking of real value or are worthless. Upon reaching this part you may say “I knew it. This is just another anti-fashion sermon.” Well, it’s really tempting to say that it’s an in-your-face yes. But still it’s not. It’s about vanity taking over you. Because the truth that too much vanity breeds envy, insecurity, and hate never becomes outdated, out of style, or out of fashion. We are envious because Amanda’s skin is porcelain-like and when we attain that porcelain-like skin do we realize that Olivia’s skin is more porcelain-like. We secretly abhor Michael because his designer apparel always eclipses your newly purchased get-up care of your or your parents’ hard-earned paycheck.
At the end of the day, it’s not how many scoops of Olay you slap on your face, or coats made of panda fur do you wear, or boots with heaven knows how much it cost do you walk in. It’s the fact that you don’t allow these bags, belts, and shoes determine your and other people’s worth.