Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I dress to impress others-NOT myself

‘I dress to impress others’

I was recently having a chat with my Mother and we got discussing the idea of ‘dolling up’ to impress others . My Mother is more ‘in tune’ with the happenings of the Pakistani community whereas I am not (and I’m not ashamed of this it doesn’t make me or break me). Apparently it’s quite the norm to look like a slob around the house, and look like a tramp when you are shopping in Asda (Wallmart for the US readers). It’s acceptable for these sisters to only take pride in themselves when it is to impress others.

To me that’s ridiculous. I mean dressing and applying cosmetics to make others appreciate your look is well kinda desperate, no? So I’ve just offended models and actresses. Boo hoo. No really the idea of dressing up and spending hours on your hair and make up for others to tell you that you look stunning is called attention seeking. If you doll up so others tell you how good you gain the attention of your partner. Surely we should have their attention regardless-no?

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that we all go through rough times and days where we wish we could just stay under a duvet. Who better can explain that then a pregnant woman-we got through ‘fat days’ where nothing looks good. We get that we are gaining weight to house another human for a short tenancy but we still have dark thoughts along the lines of we look crap. So most pregnant women will have a partner around to pick them up and put them back together when they are having an episode-no big deal. But on an average non pregnant day when the chips are down lipstick is our armour and foundation our camouflage covering up the years of neglect our faces are often exposed to during our young adult life.

Now if someone had said to me ten years ago that I would be writing a piece of how woman should embrace their feminine side and actually be confident in using cosmetics I would have died of embarrassment. I was one of these bra-burners your desi parents warned you to keep away from. But with time I have understood a golden rule-balance. In other words no one is saying go around plastered in make up; find a balance you are happy and confident with. Same applies to all aspects of your life.

So why am I out hunting blood of those women who get glammed up to impress others? Well as mentioned before; where is your own self esteem and pride? And secondly if you are a parent what are you genuinely teaching your children? They should spend life trying to impress others? Why? It’s a vicious and dangerous circle. Women feel the need to impress other women, and then a lady comes along who does take pride in herself. She has big hips, ain’t no skinny minny but she gets the attention of your partner. Why? Erm perhaps when you were last out shopping with him he didn’t want he world to know you were in a relationship because well you looked like someone who had slept in the local park for the last month or so. Any women that takes pride in herself will tell you it adds to their confidence; the way they walk, the way they talk. The way they present themselves to their partners. It’s a big loop which is great as long as you feel good.

Now before you jump down my throat and say I’m being backwards and belong in the 1950’s American postcard, hear me out. I’m not saying drop everything and plaster your face in cosmetics-hell no. I’m saying embrace cosmetics to whichever level you feel comfortable with. If you just want a natural look then go with that. Take pride in YOURSELF. Take a look in the mirror, there’s a glamour puss in that body neglected who wants to come out. Why should you be expected to reserve make up for when others are going to be looking at you? Put your face on, shimmy into your favourite outfit, make yourself a mocktail and dance around your living room. This is your life, and you should be the main star. Yes, we’re parents, sisters, wives and so on but has it ever occurred to you that the only person that can really make you feel like you are on a continuous high is YOU. Relationship dimensions change. We fall in and out of love. Emotions side on a roller coaster that is life; we change like the seasons. But the only one that is always there is you. By spending time on yourself you are not being selfish; I often felt this because society made me think like that. All those Martyr style stereo typical Asian heroines in South Asian dramas constantly put their own needs second to the whole extended family. They don’t do ‘me time’. But have you ever noticed how they are always prepped and polished?

The fault in society that accepts such a double standard can be found largely in the Asian community-in particular the Pakistani one. Some Mother-in-Laws don’t care how their daughter-in-laws look whilst they are running around their household feeding their children, packing their husbands briefcase and giving their Father-in-Law daily medication but if they hear a friend of the family is coming around their said daughter-in-law is told to go and dress up and make herself look extra presentable. On an ordinary day that woman would be lucky if she has time to exfoliate her 30 something skin; but because an outsider is visiting she must look like a new bride and dress to impress her; the visitor. Not herself, not even her partner (and let’s be honest we all like the idea of a bit of attention from our partners it doesn’t exactly hurt a healthy relationship does it?) but for some random women.

Society and tradition both creep me out. I have never supported the joint family set up; it’s a breeding ground for war. And as for society; the only thing they are good for is kicking you whilst you are down-period.

The feminist in me wants to scream and shout and say ‘throw away all your make up you are pretty as you are’. The anti-feminist glamour kitten in me wants you to embrace that eye liner and lipstick; give that bathroom mirror your best pout and say ‘I’m a woman, I’m a lioness now hear me roar!’. Go on spend time on yourself, give yourself a makeover, wear your favourite lipstick but do it for YOU. Not for others, not for their attention and not for them to tell you that you are beautiful. Embrace the things that make you cringe; they give you character. If you are reading this and thinking you don’t have time for yourself and you have genuinely looked at your schedule and cannot fit in 15 minutes of time to doll up then that’s fine; your day will come when your babies go off to School then the world is your oyster; for 15 minutes! But please don’t be a vain attention seeking Mother; be proud and confident if not for you then to your cubs that need a positive role model in their lives not in a magazine.

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