Every day I spend a few schizophrenic moments in front of the mirror deciding how I want to present myself to the world, and I usually fall a bit short of the ideal I set in my head.
I know that beauty is only skin deep, but there are days when, I'm embarrassed to admit, taking those extra few minutes on myself help. I try to keep it all in perspective, though, and it helps when I come across things such as this excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's High Tide in Tucson:
Standards of beauty in every era are things that advertise, usually falsely: "I'm rich and I don't have to work." How could you be a useful farmhand, or even an efficient clerk-typist, if you have long, painted fingernails? Four-inch high heels, like the bound feet of Chinese aristocrats, suggest you don't have to do anything efficiently, except maybe put up your tootsies on an ottoman and eat bonbons. (And I'll point out here the aristocratic men wore the first high heels.) In my grandmother's day, women of all classes lived in dread of getting a tan, since that betrayed a field worker's station in life. But now that the field hand's station is occupied by the office worker, a tan, I suppose, advertises that Florida and Maui are within your reach. Fat is another peculiar cultural flip-flop: in places where food is scarce, beauty is three inches of subcutaneous fat deep. But here and now, jobs are sedentary and calories are relatively cheap, while the luxury of time to work them off is very dear.
I have to admit, thinking about what Kingsolver mentions above, I feel a bit silly when I obsess over makeup and all things related to beauty. Unfortunately, living in this society, and Southern California especially, I don't think my superficial obsessions will stop anytime soon. *Sigh*