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The Power of Appearance by Tejae Bailey

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

The power given to appearance amongst women in society.

Do we give too much power to our appearance? I feel like that question is like asking, “ is the sky blue?”. Whilst I realise not everyone is the same, in a generation of fillers and BBLs, I think its safe to say that at least during one point in time we’ve all probably felt a little low. However, like I said I cannot categorise every person, so let me speak on me.

I am not an ugly girl (whilst I appreciate beauty is subjective lol!) and I have never considered myself – still not sure I do – insecure. However, I do struggle with trying to “keep” up with the latest beauty trends and this ideal in my head of how I “should” look. I used to be the type of girl to go out in my bonnet and feel no way, attend a party without a full face on and still feel great; as I began to get older I was constantly being told “this isn’t it” and I need to “grow up” , being out in a bonnet is “ugly” ( bare in mind I would only wear it out on errands/ if I was going to and from London, back to uni etc).

It’s so hard to explain because from the outside looking in everything I’m about to say may come across as contradictory but when Ebony sent me this and I read over the brief I knew it would be good to speak about this because surely, I am not the only girl who feels like this. The group of girls I associate with both my immediate friendship group and my other close friends all fit the “pretty” girl stereotype, my friends are all beautiful and its been such an amazing thing to see everyone grow into the wonderful ladies they’re becoming. During this transition (if that’s what we should call it), I have seen everyone “tap” into their own unique style, whether it be a particular way they do their makeup or their dress sense or even down to smaller things like how they carry themselves. Me on the other hand, I only learnt how to do makeup “properly” a few months ago, I think I bought all the products I needed end of April and had a specific routine on lock by June ( I am still learning though as I haven’t perfected how I want it just yet). During this time , I also started to do my hair my often this was because previously I wouldn’t glue my wigs down properly, or whenever I tried and it didn’t look how I wanted, I would wear a headband not really thinking too much into it, However, my friend would always point this out, “ you’re so pretty, why do you do things like this”, so I had said to myself after I turned 21, I would change my appearance and just take a little more time with it.

I think this year really opened my eyes to the amount of power given to appearance; around February/March I started putting on a lot of weight, noticeable weight and whilst compliments were being given it made me upset for a long time but why? Because the me in my head isn’t the me, I’m seeing. In the more recent months, the power I had given to my appearance was crazy, little comments here and there from friends whether it was made in a jokey way or in a caring way I would ignore them but at the same time take it on board. One day one really hit, and I found myself falling into an overwhelming amount of sadness – I remember this was during one of many of my friends birthday months which meant we was actively going out, as previously mentioned, my friends are growing into themselves and I feel/felt stagnant , from my hair to makeup to how I dress. It’s a feeling In the sense of everyone around me is growing, why aren’t I? I remember becoming very overwhelmed one night and taking some time out, away from social media, away from my friends to just focus on me, speak and listen to what I need not what is being told to me, like I had time to reflect and what not and whilst I still do not feel great, I know what needs to be done. Appearance is not everything – it is a big thing but not something that should be allowed to consume you to the point you don’t like yourself.

As women in a generation where beauty is something that has become a necessity almost? I think it is important to know yourself, love yourself and choose YOU, always. It is easy to get wrap into Insta Babes and what not, little comments here and there and what boys are deeming as beauty standards.

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