People are very quick to judge, especially women. I’m not preaching, mind you, I count myself in the 97% of women who do criticise or ‘judge a book by its cover’ (because you just know there are always that 3% to show the rest of us up!). But recently, I’ve been thinking about the concept of ‘inner beauty’ and the fact that, although the phrase sounds a bit like a quote from the back of a Tampax box, there is a lot of truth behind it.
In my line of work (fashion journalism, in case you hadn’t figured that out), judgement and cut-throat-like tendencies are essential to making your name. Each of us scrambles to get an upshot of Olivia Palermo or Megan Fox, clutching at the slim prospect of seeing cellulite or extra weight. Or even watching every celebrity from A-Z walk the red carpet, just to see who teamed red and pink (god forbid!), wore the wrong size or worst of all, wore something that they’d worn before!
However, I have been toying with the idea of inner beauty and how much of an emphasis can be put on this rather than superficial beauty. In fashion, we crave the symmetrical face that Scarlett Johansson and Gisele possess, stating that this is the only form of beauty that may exist and be categorised as so. But there is a very big contradiction to the symmetry and superficiality.
Scientists have discovered the reason behind our passion and coveting of the elusive symmetrical face and our notion that this is the best indication of sexual attractiveness. It seems that these genes that create this are an indicator of good genes which attracts the opposite sex for breeding. The irony is, of course, that a lot of men don’t look for women to breed with, they look for instant gratification, so really, instead of blaming men for subjecting these ideas, and we may as well admit that these ideas are created by women.
The artist Dubuffet summed it up perfectly by saying, ‘Art is no use if it is simply the act of declaring 10 per cent of things in the world beautiful and 90 per cent ugly’ and this can transcend into fashion. As much as fashion boasts that it sees the beauty in everyone, celebrating androgyny, anonymity and idiosyncrasy, its closed-mindedness is the reason so many shun it.
I find my friends some of the most beautiful people on the planet, not because they are beautiful in a conventional sense (even though most of them are). They are beautiful because they radiate confidence, friendship and laughter. They have pride in themselves and each other and that shows more beauty than anything else. Roald Dahl once said, ‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and sticky-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely’.
On the plus size though, fashion is becoming less immune to outer beauty. Naomi Campbell and other diva models are becoming less loved in today’s society because frankly, they don’t have the time to be dealing with princesses. Photographers, stylists, everyone who is anyone, wants to work with a client who smiles, has confidence and respect for the people they work with.
So the cliché is true, if you’re beautiful on the inside and feel confident in your own skin, you’ll radiate beauty onto your face. So next time you’re having a bad day, feeling down, insecure or heartbroken, just smile and it’ll make you look and feel ten times better. Coco Chanel said, ’If you’re sad or heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack. Men hate women who weep’. Getting yourself ready for battle is the only way forward and will make you look as confident and radiant as you feel.