She may be Pretty… but She’s not Beautiful

Have you ever got your hands on a photo of a young girl and another one of the same girl… but in her teen years? If yes, then surely you must have noticed how more beautiful she looks in the former than in the latter. Why? Because when she was young make-up would not touch her face, but when she became a teenager, then all beauty became buried under an artificial mask. This is a reality for most girls nowadays.

Riding the bus everyday, like myself, will suffice for one to do some observation of those around him. One can clearly see many girls wearing excessive amounts of make-up just to go for a lecture at university. Red lipstick, mascara, foundation, eye shadow and plenty of other artificial products whose technical jargon is certainly not in my limited cosmetic vocabulary. Aren’t all these products too much just to sit for a lecture on a Monday morning? Apart from thinking about the great lack of moderation, I cannot help imagining the time it takes to perform that cosmetic ceremony every morning. However, even more frightening is the thought that some of these people are unable to go beyond the front doorstep looking, simply, as they really look.

Do these girls actually see themselves that ugly that they need to splash such excessive amounts of make-up on their faces? And who decides whose ugly and whose beautiful? Is there any aesthetic government now too? Well, honestly, there may be one … and it’s called ‘the media’. The media feeds us with the clichés of how a ‘pretty’ girl might be but not really what female beauty consists of. Beauty is something natural, a gift of nature, in which I truly believe the hand of God works to create unique masterpieces. And as Plato would say ‘Being is more beautiful than imitating.’

True beauty needs no cosmetic intervention to enhance it. It is just there and another person can appreciate it. Mind you, it takes the right person since beauty is still a subjective concept and not everyone will agree on what is beautiful or not. Yet I do hold that every human being, every girl has her specific beauty and within the right social interaction, that beauty will be appreciated. There is no need for artificial products to alter that appearance so that it matches some other presented as an ideal by the media and expected to be consumed without question. The concept of individuality based on natural differences is lost when all the girls you meet in one day apparently look within the same style of that model whose edited image appears on a magazine.

As always, make-up and cosmetics are not the true problem. The problem are the class of people [mostly women, and I’m targeting teenage girls in particular in this article] who make ridiculously excessive use of them and simply reverse the whole reason why cosmetics were invented. Putting on a limited amount of make-up for a dinner or an outing may enhance a girl’s natural beauty. Tormenting the skin daily with chemicals and ending up with abominable results needs to be the true subject of concern.

Having a parent dictating to  a sixteen or eighteen year old how much make-up she puts is next to futile. An effective and better solution would be to educate these girls [even by their parents] to simply think and clearly reason out  their actions. Coming to terms with one’s appearance helps build up confidence in oneself and better appreciation for the natural gifts God provided every person with.

6 thoughts on “She may be Pretty… but She’s not Beautiful

  • Reply Jennifer Colombo 16th November 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I think women should be left alone, whether they put on make-up or not. I find that you are overgeneralising (bordering offensive) that you think all women ‘plaster’ on make-up due to their insecurity and lack of confidence. I use make-up almost everyday, I take good care of my skin and I don’t care if some man (or woman for that matter) doesn’t like my bright red lipstick or think that it’s inappropriate. For me make-up means self-expression, I adapt it to my outfit and to what I feel like looking. As a woman I feel that I am lucky (yes, LUCKY) that I have the CHOICE to put on make-up, colour my hair and change whatever I like. Nowadays men and women have the option of safe cosmetic surgery too. For me, as long as they are doing it for the right reasons and not out of pressure, it shouldn’t bother anyone. Oh and by the way, I feel confident to go out without make-up too, and have nothing against people who opt to not use it at all. Live and let live…

  • Reply Ludwig Camilleri 17th November 2013 at 8:33 am

    Well, firstly why should ‘women’ be left alone? That’s “bordering” feminism I guess. Women are humans too and thus not exempt from criticism. Your argument to “Live and let live” is tantamount to a very boring lifestyle. In life one needs to “Question everything” and see if there is any logical argument behind a person’s action. That’s what I want to do, help these females THINK and not just feel lucky. What do you want to express with artificial chemicals? Isn’t individuality inherent in every human? From a non-critical viewpoint, you are not seeing the full you and many others are caught in. Personally, you think you have choices to wear whatever make-up you like and you think that nothing affects you. Yet you probably still buy certain ‘brands’ of cosmetics, the ones advertised on the media. I have never seen a girl that looks extremely different from the ‘trend’ at any moment. We are all under the control of the media but when, a person like you, thinks s/he is the leader of himself, then s/he has been fully trapped. Then your argument of self-expression falls because with that style of cosmetics you will be expressing a once swallowed image in your mind from those who set the trend; the media. But then you shun off social control [you don’t care if your loud make-up is inappropriate], you don’t take notice of people looking grimly at you. So the control of the community over its members in order to keep certain values has been lost to an institution like the media.

  • Reply Jennifer Colombo 17th November 2013 at 9:16 am

    Feminism – what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with believing that females are EQUAL to men? I’m proud of it actually 🙂 I believe in constructive criticism and one based on LOGICAL arguments – when I say women should be left alone, it means that criticism such as ‘oh you might be pretty, but not beautiful, sorry’ does not qualify at that.
    Live and let live – boring lifestyle? How so? I still do ‘question everything’ like you said, and also give the benefit of the doubt. For instance, I do not believe that I have figured out a person just by reading a comment on a website. You, however, have no trouble in putting me into a stereotype – oh, perhaps that’s the media’s effect on you? 🙂 You don’t even know me – and instead of debating and clarifying your points while questioning yourself, you tell me that I am ‘fully trapped’ at the media’s mercy.
    Returning to my previous point – yes I do not care what people with illogical arguments think, for example those who think that lack of make-up has something to do with values. I do not feel that society should ‘control’ me just on the basis of some colours on my face. If something such as make-up makes them sad and ‘grim’, I think it’s obvious who’s the most superficial amongst us.

    • Reply Ludwig Camilleri 17th November 2013 at 11:54 am

      I call that Equality not feminism in case I get meddled with someone like Shulamith Firestone [take a look at her theory]. My argument was not judging you per se, but we are all under the claws of the media that supports consumer culture. Without those brands of make-up, you’re not pretty. That’s the message. I want people to oppose that. Oppose the brands and diminish their profits. [You know more than me what brands I mean, Nivea, La Roche-Posay, l’Oreal, etc] We are under their grip. [In fact when Dove want us to believe that they think every woman is beautiful, it’s a marketing campaign so I don’t buy into it]. I was arguing that they want you to think that you make free choices; we don’t because we have owners. They don’t want us to admit that we have owners because if so we would try to oppose them. They want us thinking that we are free citizens. If you don’t buy into their ideas, then good luck for your fervor 🙂 My logic is simple: Why do you put on make-up? To feel pretty? Then before you didn’t felt pretty? Why? If you tell me: in order to enhance my beauty then I agree with LIMITED amounts [by this I mean barely visible] of cosmetic. I would like to know why 18-year old girls need so much make-up everyday. They’re still young, their beauty should not be buried under chemicals but appreciated. I agree that society should control us with standard norms in order to avoid excesses and not let corporations mold us according to their wishes.

      • Reply Ludwig Camilleri 17th November 2013 at 12:00 pm

        You may accuse me of being superficial but first impressions do matter. If you have the skills of observation and deduction, a good look at a person can tell you a lot about the person’s character. The ideas of a person do leave traces on the body. In fact there is nothing more contagious than an idea. For example, the idea of having owners is powerful enough to haunt the person and alter all his thoughts. The person’s body will slowly start showing the revolutionary fervor slowly building up
        Moreover, a person’s make-up, dress, posture, language, food, hairstyle and people s/he interacts with will be a clear indicator of that person’s class. [look for the theory of Pierre Bourdieu]

  • Reply Jennifer Colombo 18th November 2013 at 8:41 am

    Of course I agree regarding the strength of the media to push and actually create a desire to buy, because people ‘need’ it. But the way you put it in the article it was not generic enough and it sounded offensive to people for whom make-up is a hobby and an art (yes, these people do exist!).
    I do feel pretty without make-up – but when I put it on it’s like for me something has come to life. I can experiment with colours to match with my outfit and mood, try something completely new every time. And also for me, whenever I feel like putting on make-up, it’s relaxing not a chore. Of course I take notice of adverts however I read reviews before buying – I take note of the chemicals in the product and try to buy something natural when I can afford it. For me the product has to be functional (does what it promises) and the least harmful. Also please note I take good care of my skin, and make sure all make-up is removed when I clean my face. Men have it much worse in my opinion, because they have to shave and trim their face everyday – for me THAT is a chore for sure. And I know many of my friends who can agree to that. Oh, poor them, they succumb to the idea of how male beauty should be 😛
    Of course first impressions do matter – I agree with you completely there. However I choose not to mind people who mind my make-up (well, never came across these so to my knowledge these people don’t exist, but if they did, their loss not mine :D)

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