I’m sure if you’ve gone on any social media platform, you’ve come across pictures and/or videos of people showing off the side profile of their face. The ones that usually have the most likes and comments are the posts of models or influencers, in which their job is based on using their looks to attract consumers to buy whatever product they’re selling. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people showing off their beauty and being proud of what they look like. Especially if you’ve struggled with confidence in the past, posting a picture of yourself can be a way for you to take your confidence back and help yourself feel good. However, what rubs me the wrong way is when I see comments under posts that go “Wish I looked like that” or “I didn’t even know this was something to be insecure about.” The latter one hurts the most because in reality, none of us should have to feel insecure about our natural face/body features.
Social media is a blessing and curse in that it allows us to connect with one another in ways that previous generations were never able to. But, it also paves way for unhealthy comparisons and unattainable standards to be established, cultivating a toxic space for all. Especially for those who are still growing and going through puberty. As someone who first joined Instagram when I was in middle school, I’ve been around long enough to go through all the phases. Whether it was reposting scary chain posts threatening monsters to show up if I didn’t send it to ten or more of my friends, or using gritty filters to make myself look cool—I’ve had my share of insecure moments. As I’m older now, I see the repetitious cycle of younger people falling into the trap of insecurity because they feel like they don’t fit within the parameters of what’s considered conventional beauty. It’s a shame, especially for people of color—who are already underrepresented within the media—to see more reminders that their beauty isn’t considered attractive enough for society’s standards.
As a woman of color myself, I’ve gone through my own phase of thinking about how I’d look if I got rhinoplasty surgery to get a longer, straighter nose, in contrast with the wide button nose I have today. After I wasted hours looking on social media, I began trying to find patterns between the people I found attractive and pretty. Then, I started to notice that these people I considered conventionally attractive all had one thing in common: eurocentric features. Eurocentric features are usually anglicized features which include, but are not limited to: straight, smooth hair, fair skin, blue eyes, and more. Take the makeover of the character from Princess Diaries, Mia Thermopolis, as an example. Before she’s transformed into a glamorous princess with shiny straight hair and thin eyebrows, she’s a gangly teenager with frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows, and a mustache. Young audience viewers like me, were taught that the way Mia looked before was ugly and her makeover after is what true beauty is. Unfortunately, it took me too long to realize that despite the myth beauty standards like to promote, hair is not gross and it’s natural. And so are bumpy, crooked noses, chubby cheeks, and unruly hair.
As my Nana tells me all the time: “Beauty is as beauty does.” Beauty comes from the way you care for others and most importantly, the way you care for yourself. It can be difficult trying not to rely on the validation received by others, especially on social media. But, it is possible and each one of us is capable of showing off our best selves, imperfect side profiles and all. It’s ok to look unconventional; you’re your own special self, worthy of presenting however you want to present yourself.
The orange sunrise differs from the orange glow of a marigold flower, but they’re both beautiful, and so are you.