BIG, POUTY LIPS.
That was about the sum of how my big brother, as well as most people come to know me for when I was young.
With today’s obsession over lip fillers, plump lips and all those sort of stuff, you would not have imagined how unhinged I get back then whenever people commented on my puckers.
Because back then, it wasn’t a thing.
You see, growing up in a multi-cultural, but predominantly Asian country, as with other states, people had a standard of what beauty should look like. Or rather, they had a standard of how you should do it and more importantly, who you are doing it for.
Back in the nineties, pretty would look like thin lips, a small mouth, fluttery eyelashes, fair skin and long dark hair. As for the body, you would have to be stick-thin (at least in most people’s perspective).
Thankfully, I was always one to deviate from the norm. It’s like, you tell me I’m not doing it like everybody is, and I’ll go farther away from your yard stick. I didn’t really take kindly to things or people that would try to pry me away from what I perceived was my personal and honest identity.
Zoom back to 2020, I give myself a light pat on the back and think ‘Ha! no expensive Kylie Jenner fillers for this one’.
It’s been a jurassic pursuit of endless hoards of men and women — BEAUTY.
But I’ve often mused about the fact that more often than not, we don’t really know how we define beauty in and of itself. We are always, whether consciously or subconsciously, picking up that proverbial measuring stick and putting it in between us and another person or (God help us) a celebrity whom we think is the epitome of charm.
We don’t take our looks or figure lightly, not because we have defined for ourselves how we’d love to look as, but rather, we’ve listened and accepted other people’s opinion as to how we should present ourselves.
That’s why in the cosmetic surgery world, I was quite surprised a few years ago when I found out that in LA, before a person can undergo plastic surgery, he or she had to undergo counselling first and get a recommendation or a clearance from a clinical psychologist.
They say it’s because there’s this tendency of a person to be addicted to plastic surgery.
In order to prevent that, the person should be found to be possessed of a clear level of thinking, and that he or she is well-aware as to the repercussions of going under the knife.
Can you imagine a law wherein whenever you would decide to buy clothing, accessories or makeup, you’d have to stop by at a designated psychology clinic or kiosk at the mall and be cleared first before you can even head on over to the counter?
And I’m pretty sure, people would have a hard time explaining away how they need 3 different shades of contouring stick just to have Lady Gaga or J. Lo cheekbones.
It’s silly to think about it, and it’s one of the most unlikely laws to be ever passed, but at the same time, such unlikelihood should be chalked up to the fact that we ideally should not need it.
It should be in the avenue of common sense that when we buy or acquire something, that we do it for ourselves, and ourselves alone. We may want to improve or bring out a new vibe, but the idea should be organic in our system of thoughts.
That’s hardly unheard of today though.
With social media and the television blabbering us away into all sorts of standards of beauty, it can hardly be said that how we look at ourselves comes from our own personal notion of what beauty is.
After all, how many wives had had to change up their looks just to get back or keep their husbands? How many kids had to give up eating their favourite food just because some other kid called them ‘fat’? How many of us had undergone surgery, just because social media told us this is what perfect looks like.
At the back of my mind, I know that most of the motivation behind these are good and almost noble. To save a marriage. To stop the abuse. To feel better about one’s self.
But how many of us really achieved the good goal after going through transformations and adaptations?
How many more lost our way, forgetting why we actually started this journey to what we call BEAUTY?