Friday, December 28, 2012

Thoughts on self customization

The title of this blog is a bit misleading. I am in no way a "normal" person. While I like to think about how octopi would look as hats (in a cruelty free sort of way, of course - perhaps there would be Sculpey and felt and hat forms involved?), I also subscribe to a personal credo of modesty about my appearance, regardless of what I am wearing or how I look. I suppose you could call this simply "not giving a fuck". My goal for starting this blog was to create an online space where physical normalcy (in terms of appearance) is acceptable, fun and celebrated.

I do LOVE to dress up, particularly in costume. I think that's what drew me to nail art. I have little to no talent as a painter though I have always loved the process, so having 10 tiny canvases on my hands has not only been an artistic challenge but an expression of themes that I can't otherwise easily express through my appearance.

I consider this drive to make myself into a canvas to be "self-customization" which I have mentioned before. I use the term to describe decorating ones' self without the intent to offer personal image as a product for public consumption. I am pleased to see that this philosophy is becoming more in vogue for women. I stopped wearing makeup and got rid of clothes that were not comfortable or were ill-fitting when I gave up on being concerned about how my appearance was externally interpreted by others. I still like to wear pretty things when I want to. I am under no illusions that painting my nails will somehow make me more attractive and it's something I do exclusively for my own personal enjoyment and creative expression.

I just wanted the above to stand as a preface for what I am about to say:

I miss wearing makeup! And I am a little uncomfortable with that! 

If you are involved in any beauty supply blogs or watch any tutorials (as I do - specifically for nail polish related content) then you will inevitably run into make up tutorials and product reviews for cosmetics. And that just makes me want to explore makeup artistically again. Can this desire be reconciled with my aversion to altering my appearance? I don't know. It's completely valid to want to do ones own makeup because one enjoys it. But, can the concepts of highlighting and contouring, specifically to change what one considers the flaws in ones face, be included in this process? I just find the tutorials for it quite interesting and have been wanting to give it a shot for fun. I'm just processing my feelings on the subject of making cosmetic alterations to ones self and here is what I have come up with.

I stopped wearing makeup because it prevented me from touching my face which I felt was a little disempowering.
Makeup clogs pores and does stuff to your skin.
Who knows what's in it.
It's a very corrupt industry that I don't feel good about giving my money to.
And the following:

Being a pale skinned person with naturally puffy eyes, I got sick of experiencing this when people became accustomed to seeing me wear makeup semi-regularly. It's easier and less invasive to just present naturally, at least that's how I have felt until now.

I was hoping to share a graphic I stumbled across on Pinterest about how the majority of women report being displeased with their appearance and spend a TON of money every year on cosmetics. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the graphic. (If you've come across something like this please share it, I'd love to post it here). I think these two points beg a lot of serious questions though. Why are we spending so much only to continue to be displeased with ourselves? Especially because this particular industry is the one telling us why we are flawed.

To summarize my thoughts - I am hoping to walk the line between what I personally enjoy doing for myself and not giving a fuck about how others perceive it. Can this be done? Theoretically, yes, it can. Is this the likely outcome? I don't know. Conventional beauty ideals and expectations are insidious and sort of addicting, especially if you have a history of body dysmorphia and I personally believe that the majority of women in Western cultures do. Please share your thoughts, I would love to hear them!

I picked up an E.L.F. tapered brush at the dollar store (of all places! It's a nice brush too!) and I think I have everything else I need to play around with some highlighting and contouring. I might post my findings later.

1 comment:

  1. I think if you enjoy it, it's worth it. If it stops being fun, just stop doing it. You don't need to justify yourself.