“Take her swimming on the first date”
The amount of times I’ve seen this meme and heard people say this line – I mean, you just have to laugh.
The world of contour and highlight means we have a new breed of female decepticons right?
It’s a no from me.
Do I think that expressing yourself through make up and wanting to feel like you’re looking your best for that big night out or getting excited when you get your liner ON POINT is wrong? Definitely not.
Best believe, when I’m heading out if you can’t see my highlight from outer space then I’m gonna dip my brush straight back in my Mary-loumanizer until it’s poppin! I like glitter. I love that glow. And I’m not sorry.
Although, it definitely starts to become a problem when women and young girls feel that they cannot leave their house and be out in public without makeup.
It really bothers me…
We have collectively helped to create a world whereby we’ve set such unrealistic standards of what ‘beauty’ and ‘perfection’ is, that we have lost sight of the fact that beauty is not measurable. We’ve helped to feed and perpetuate insecurities of not being ‘pretty’ or ‘sexy’ if you’re seen in public without your ‘brows on fleek’ and your ‘liner sharp af’. We have to take responsibility for these ideals that we have all collectively created (even if it is unknowingly) and actively work to deconstruct this ideology.
It is so important to be comfortable in your own skin, to be proud of yourself and to love yourself unconditionally. To let your skin breathe. To be empowered – to not let society dictate the way you feel beautiful.
Don’t get me wrong – there was a time (picture an eighteen year old Jasmine) when I categorically would not leave the house with my face completely bare. I wouldn’t have even dreamt of going to work without makeup on. But there came a time when I had to sit down and ask myself why? Why do I feel the need to wear it everyday? Am I any less intelligent, funny (trust me, I’m hilarious) or beautiful without it? The answer is no.
When I actually realised this simple truth, a truth which I’d ignored for years – I felt so incredibly powerful. Powerful, because the beauty industry, society and people no longer had any hold on the way I saw myself, the way I felt beautiful and the way I loved myself. Ultimately, if I feel sexy and beautiful – then that is what I am. I felt so empowered that I could have literally burst, I was free. I was no longer stuck in the trap of these ideals that are continuously shoved down our throats. Ideals that tell us that as long as our eyeshadow is perfectly blended and our lips perfectly lined, we’re good. Ideals that place superficial beauty over intellect. It’s time that we take control of the way our beauty and sexuality is defined because, ladies, we got so much more to offer than just a perfectly beat face!
Years after I’ve left the 18 year old insecure Jasmine behind – 90% of the time my skin is bare. Like I’ve said before, every once in a while, I love getting dressed up and doing my makeup as much as the next woman. But the difference now is, that I don’t allow it to define who I am as a person or the way that I view myself. I’ve left behind the white standards of beauty that were sold to me as a little girl, the ones that told me that my dark curly hair was unruly and my skin wasn’t light enough (yes, I wore foundation 3 shades lighter – who was I trying to kid!) I bleached my hair and religiously straightened it every single day throughout the whole of university. The damage it did was no joke – only now, is it healthy, long and luscious! It wasn’t easy to get to where I am, I was blessed enough to have strong females around me (shoutout my momma, Sindy) who continuously reaffirmed my sense of self and my identity and allowed me to see that my power lies in my relationship with self. I consciously made it my mission to fall in love with myself – flaws and all.
Now, I’m not perfect by any means. At times, I still have insecurities, I still struggle to be vulnerable and I am a continuous work in progress. But, I love myself regardless of anyone else’s opinion of me, my character is strong enough for me to know that I’m a pretty dope person – and to me, that’s all that matters. I’ve learnt to laugh at myself, live in the moment and not take life too seriously…
I know that a lot of women may read this, and tell me that I’m disempowering women by exemplifying the way in which we are constantly under scrutiny – too much makeup, too little makeup. But, I have a lot of young girls around me that look up to me, who I love and care for unconditionally – and I need them to know that loving yourself for who you are is first and foremost the most important thing.
Strive to be better than the person you were yesterday.
Jasmine Reinah xo