How much time do you spend in front of the mirror? Unless you are the witch in Snow White, do you really need more than a few minutes in the morning? You know, to make sure that you don’t have crusted drool. But once you have established that there is no embarrassing residue, isn’t time to do something else? Yet according to this article, the average woman spends an hour a day in front of the mirror!! That adds up to 2-weeks per year, and 5-months every decade of your life!! That is so much time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“The survey found that women worry about their looks more than anything else — more than money, health, relationships, and their professional success, and that mothers were more likely than non-mothers to feel anxious about their looks (73% of mothers reported appearance anxiety versus 65% of childless women).
Eight in ten women reported that they’d complained to someone about being fat in the last month; 77% say they worried aloud about being old.”
When I read this I was blown the fuck away. This inbreed insecurity about beauty is a pandemic, and there is no way I want to raise my daughter to waste this much time agonizing about her appearance. So what is the solution?
One of the catalysts to excessive mirror time is make up. When you are in the habit of wearing lady-paint every day, you have to watch yourself decorate your face – otherwise things could get kind of funky. So if you are going to be putting on make up, you are going to be looking at yourself doing it. And you know what? There is nothing more depressing than studying your face in the mirror. The human eye is trained to notice details, and any close study of any face will reveal imperfections. Because we are all humans and we all have slight flaws. Even models rip themselves apart – well they try, but it is hard with such nimble arms.
So solution number 1… don’t wear make up! Sure if you are going out for a special occasion maybe, but why is there an expectation that we should wear this shit every day of our lives? If we all collectively took a break from doing that, then there would be a new standard of what beauty is. Not one that is smeared with dyes, but one that is just like, “hey, this is my face.”
But we wear make up to look better, and we feel the need to look better because we look too closely at ourselves in the mirror putting on make up. Do you see how this is a toxic feedback loop?
I am 34 years old right now, and I don’t wear make up. Maybe this is because I am lazy, or maybe because I don’t like to wash my face. But according to my friends I make too many facial expressions, which is giving me wrinkles. If I were to look in the mirror and make faces at myself I would probably feel insecure because I would notice what they are noticing. But because I don’t wear make up or make faces at myself in the mirror (because that would be insane), I don’t see that shit. And I think I am happier for it. It is not my goddamn problem what people see when they look at me. In my head I look fine! And here comes solution number 2.
STOP WORRYING AND STRESSING!
Stress and worry ages you. Stress and worry releases stress hormones in the body. This taxes your organs and damages their ability to function properly. You want to do shots from the fountain of youth? Be happier! Release joyful oxytocin hormones in your brain. Everything will work better inside your body making the outside of your body look better.
My question is how do I raise my daughter to care more about the impending doom of our environmental destruction than her attractiveness, or how big her thighs are? Even though I know she is an appealing creature and doesn’t need to feel insecure, there are plenty of pretty people who still have anxiety about their looks.
Some believe you are never supposed to tell little girls they are beautiful because that makes them identify as that. But if you never say they are lovely wouldn’t that potentially create a complex as well? In trying to find a balance I still want to have the freedom to complement The Munch right?
Toni: Munch, you are such a pretty girl.
Munch: I know.
What an interesting answer right? I know. She knows she is a pretty girl. Cool. So my challenge is to maintain this acknowledgement with the same level of value as any of the other complements I give her. Like being a brave girl. Or being a smart girl. Or a kind girl. We should be able to acknowledge attributes about ourselves without ranking them to any specific hierarchy. But as we exist right now, culture dictates that if you are a woman, being attractive is more valuable than anything else. Which is why we worry about it more than anything else. Yet the only way we are going to stop this is to stop believing it, and to not let our daughters believe it either.
Even though we can never deny the impact of societal pressures, that doesn’t mean we are helpless in this equation. That is the thing about socialization and cultural influences… We are culture! And we are socializing our children! We are part of the problem! And even if we have our own hang ups, we don’t have to hang onto them. We can choose to be different. We can choose to be happy, we can choose to love ourselves, and we can choose to spend less time in front of the mirror.
(Maybe I would like in the mirror more if my mirror wasn’t so dirty!)