A Mid Life Crisis of Vanity

I always had low to average levels vanity, I was concerned about looking clean and semi presentable but beyond that I didn’t fuss about my appearance. I’ll happily wear wrinkled clothes without a second thought and I refuse to wear something that is uncomfortable no matter how good it looks. My best friend in college used to call me a tomboy in a dress. I don’t own any make up, don’t even know how to use most of it. I suck at styling hair besides a basic braid or ponytail and for most of my life that was ok.

Recently I started to feel drawn to the “girly” things that I have never done before. Suddenly I am more interested in skin care, hair care and make up. I haven’t done anything about it because I am too ignorant about the subject to do anything on my own and I don’t trust sales people to be unbiased. Add to that the fact that I don’t want to spend money on stuff like that and it’s fairly easy to keep the impulses in check.

Having found my first gray hair at 9 years old, by my early 30s my natural hair color would make me look much older than I already am so I used to cover it with natural hair dye. Last week, I put the last of my henna on my hair. If things go according to plan, this will be the last time that I ever put henna on my hair. The pretty red highlights in my hair right now will be silver by this time next year. I don’t know if I am ready to embrace salt and pepper hair but I just don’t have it in me to maintain the henna if I let my hair grow. I don’t have the money (nor desire to spend it) to pay someone to henna my hair every other month. Hopefully I learn to embrace my gray easily.

Thankfully my mid life crisis hasn’t extended to my wardrobe. I don’t pay attention to fashion, I dislike “women’s” magazines and hate shopping for clothes and when I do shop I choose based on comfort and personal style which rarely reflects what designers dictate I should be wearing.

It saddens me to see teenagers today have self esteem issues because they are unable to fit the look of what is portrayed in magazines. Over the years I have met some super models, beauty queens and celebrities and while they are attractive and some look great, not a single one of them look in person like they did in the (insert magazine name) cover.

Photoshop in modeling is setting an unrealistic standard of what women should look like and this isn’t limited to super models, practically anybody that poses for a magazine article or even a Sunday sales flyer will have their digital image subjected to the “artistic” strokes of a Photoshop artist’s definition of beauty. Like the say: “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and may I also add that influence by cultural and social factors as evidenced by this Photoshop experiment in 27 countries.

Having a father that worked as a photographer in advertising before computers and Photoshop, I got to see how different things were back then. I miss old fashioned modeling with film cameras and actual airbrushing that was so expensive and complex that it forced the photographer to be a true artist, pay attention to all details before taking the shot and not be just someone that knows how to operate a DLSR but doesn’t understand much else about what it takes to take a photo that highlights a person’s natural strengths.

I will leave you with this video for some additional food for thought:

Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover ModelsWe asked four women if we could Photoshop them into cover models. Their reactions to the results might surprise you.