What is Happiness?
Subjectively, it seems as though society's perception of beauty is taking a step in the right direction to become more attainable, leading to a (slow and steady) increase in self-acceptance amongst females.
In a world where women are expected to look like models direct from a Victoria's Secrets runway, consciously choosing to reject the unobtainable expectations of 'beauty' that are placed upon us can be difficult to achieve; and accepting one's appearance for what it is - natural and imperfect - can be even harder.
However, in raising awareness among our children and students regarding the western world's constructed nature, the less susceptible future generations are likely to become when faced with dangerously persuasive advertising and media designed to threaten independent thought. 'Propaganda' in this form (also highly present on social media sites of which young people access with ease) is particularly damaging to a young person's self-esteem and appreciation of their own identity.
My focus today is young girls. It is my hope that one day fewer females will feel the need to alter their appearance for the sake of others: makeup, eating disorders and cosmetic surgery presenting potential dangers to their psyche. Instead, our girls of tomorrow should focus on their inner beauty, their health, and embrace the face they were born with. If western culture were to adopt and instil this attitude now, future generations may very well reap the benefits of an emotionally stable society, producing sophisticated and self-confident women in abundance.
Practising what I preach: an unfiltered selfie without makeup, wet hair in an embarrassing turban, and a happy smile to boot.
Before you wail, "Au naturel?! You're crazy, woman!", take a moment to assess your own appearance and the measures you take to conceal your physical identity:
Does a dash of mascara highlight your almond eyes? Ok, cool.
Does a tapered pair of slacks elongate your legs and complement your heels, providing you with a little extra confidence before you take on the boardroom? Totally plausible!
Do you wear tight, revealing clothing to seek the attention of some guy you barely know?
Are you forking out excessive amounts of money on regular spray tans, hair extensions, waxing, and eating well-below your daily calorie intake so as to imitate the unfair, contemporary ideals forced upon us in magazines such as Playboy and Ralph?
If your motivator is to gain the acceptance of an individual or group, it's probably time to take a step back.
Happiness comes from within; it is acknowledging all your flaws and embracing them as well as you do your own strengths.
The sooner we come to practise beauty in its most natural and simplistic form, the greater our chances of self-acceptance - and ladies, that is a step in the right direction.
By Belinda Pearce