The Pressures of Being a Female

Today I got my eyebrows waxed, because they were getting a bit caterpillar-ish and I felt I needed a little pick me up (and since eyebrow waxing is under 10 bucks, it’s a cheaper pick me up than a shopping spree or pedicure). Usually every time I get my eyebrows waxed I feel great about myself because hey, I’ve now got two eyebrows…not just one. So why do I look so unimpressed today?

I went to the same place I always go for my eyebrows, a place in the mall with a decent price for eyebrow waxing. Everything else is out of the water expensive, but I normally just go in and get my eyebrows done and then I’m good to go. Anyways, today I had the store owner, Sissy, who has worked at that little store in the mall for years now. Kate usually goes to her. The entire 15 minutes that she worked on my “insanely thick eyebrows” (as she referred to them) she pointed out the millions of things wrong with me that she could totally fix for me. My dry, “flaky” skin (which isn’t flaky at all, I wear powder cover-up instead of liquid and powder coverup looks like that thanks), my “thick and bushy” eyebrows. It seemed to be a never ending list.

As I sat there, listening to her list off all the things wrong with me, I felt bad for every single female out there. We’re under such pressure to look a certain way and be a certain way, and it doesn’t ever stop. Even those of us who know that Sissy was just trying to get me to spend over a hundred bucks on facial care, well to be frank…we’re still guilty of spending time analyzing our faces in the mirror, making sure we look good before we go anywhere.

And don’t say you never do…because I know you do. I would be lying if I said I never gave a rats ass what I looked like, because I do. I don’t like leaving the house without looking clean, neat and respectable. I don’t like having blotchy skin. I don’t like having dry skin, and I don’t like having skin that’s too oily. I hate it when my hair looks messy, I like it to look neat and clean and well taken care of. I hate it when my clothes look scrubby.

Part of this is because I know people judge you on your appearance, so obviously I want to make a good impression…no matter where I am going. I don’t want someone thinking I’m poor, or lazy…so I avoid wearing scrubby clothes and I do things with my hair and makeup because I truly do care about my appearance.

It still makes me sad – the way many women think – the way we’re taught to think, all thanks to the media. The pressure we feel to look good and the disappointment and insecurity we feel when we think we haven’t reached that goal. The questions we ask ourselves daily; am I too fat? Does this outfit make me look good? Should I colour my hair? Should I wax my eyebrows? Do I need to diet? These silly lists seem to go on forever and ever.

It’s complicated because when we do these things like colour our hair or wax our eyebrows, it makes us feel better. Yet we really shouldn’t feed into this whole outlook of what a woman should look like. I would never get plastic surgery or anything like that, but I would diet…in a way, I often wonder how that’s any different from plastic surgery. It’s still trying to change your body shape and fit into the media’s definition of “beautiful”.

Honestly? I’m kind of glad that we’re having a boy. I wouldn’t know what to say to my daughter if she asked me why I was colouring my hair or waxing my eyebrows, because I wouldn’t want her to feel like she has to change herself to fit in. I wouldn’t want the media affecting her self esteem like it has mine – and several other women I know. Yes, I’m smarter than to think that a size 0 is perfect, but I still feel the pressure of having to look a certain way to be accepted and considered “beautiful”.

Now I’m not saying that men don’t feel the pressure of media telling them to be and act a certain way, but luckily a lot of them are able to shrug it off and be happy with themselves. I know few women who can honestly say they don’t care what they look like.

So what are your opinions on this matter? What would you tell your daughter (or son for that matter) if they asked you why you were always worried about your weight, or waxing your eyebrows?

For the record, I love this video. I think that if more parents focused on educating the importance of inner beauty with their children, our society would be more accepting of different body types. Our children would feel less pressure to look and be a certain way.

By the way, I came home tonight and discovered that I’ve been nominated for a Bloggie in Best Teen Weblogcategory! Even just getting nominated is super awesome, and thanks to all of you who nominated me. I’m not going to whore myself out for votes, but I will ask you to vote because you’ll find some super awesome blogs that you’ve never heard of before (unless you are a whore in the blogosphere and SOMEHOW have the time to read a billion blogs a day *cough*Avitable*cough*, heh).


  1. Congrats on your nomination! I think the best thing is finding new blogs to read. Love yours, btw and thanks for commenting on mine.

  2. I, too, am glad that I have a little boy…. although, when he gets old enough to ask me why I color my hair or wax my eyebrows, or even shave my legs for that matter… I don’t know what I’m going to tell him. Because I don’t want him to grow up being that kind of guy who just expects those things out of a woman (or man… whatever). I’m hoping that by the time he’s old enough to start asking those questions, we will be further along in our tolerance for all things… including it being okay for me to go a week without shaving my legs. In the meantime, I just keep doing what I’m doing because I can’t remember my own natural hair color, can’t stand to have super busy eyebrows, and can’t stand stubble on my own legs. Yeah… I’m such a GREAT role model. Heh.

  3. I hate feeling like I am never good enough to ‘fit in.’

    Blah today at work I caught myself in the mirror and the firs thing I thought was “OMG I look SO fat. I need to get to the gym.” Sigh.

    The cycle never ends does it?

  4. you pretty much just articulated everything i have been trying to say for a long time.

    thank you.

  5. I have a niece who is very worried about her weight and her hair and her looks—and she’s only 11 years old. Her fairly new stepdad calls her fat all the time, and this pisses me off to no end. My niece, for the record, is NOT fat (and isn’t even “chubby”, and also for the record, her stepdad isn’t very nice to her, now is he?) My biggest thing is to let her know that she needs to be comfortable being who she is, even if she WERE fat. I’m overweight and, while it bothers me for health reasons (I don’t want to be unhealthy), I’ve learned not to be overly concerned with how people view me. My husband loves me and finds me attractive, and he is the only person I need to “impress” as far as my looks go. (Although we both do things to help us become healthier, although my stupid feet are something of a deterrent for me right now.) Some people are very obsessed with looks and it drives me nuts. One lady I used to work with kept after me because I normally wear my hair up (it gets in my face when I’m working and I hate having to brush it twenty times a day due to the nature of my hair anyway), and she thought I should wear it down and cut it short and blah blah blah. I told her I liked my hair the way it was and that I didn’t wear it any particular way for her benefit and wasn’t about to start. (It really was a pain to hear about it every other day—and I’m not exaggerating.) I’ve never dyed my hair (well, other than purple a few times) and I never will. I don’t wear makeup anymore because everything makes my skin tons worse than it already is. I am who I am, and I’m comfortable with that. (Not that every person who dyes their hair or things like that isn’t comfortable with themselves. Some people just like to do it for themselves, which is different than doing it because you feel you need to be something different for someone else.)

    I really hope that comes through to my niece, because she needs a role model who isn’t obsessed with how she looks or what she does with her hair, her clothes, etc. When she was visiting this past summer, I came home from work one day and walked into our apartment. She saw me come around the doorway and suddenly called out to me, “Tia, you look very pretty today!” I was just wearing my work clothes and had my hair and everything else like normal (no makeup, hair up, etc.) I think it’s getting through to her finally that pretty isn’t a prescribed societal thing that she has to live up to. I’m hoping that what we say to her and how we react to her reaches her more than what her stepfather says to her. She’s a beautiful girl and will be an even more beautiful woman.

    I like your thinking on this, and I’d be glad I was having a boy, too. I remember being a teenager, and I wouldn’t go back to those years for anything. I would hope and pray that my daughter, if I had one, would be able to be confident in who she is no matter what she looks like. Confidence is more attractive than a simple veneer of what society, at the time, considers “pretty.”

    (Also, I voted for you. Here’s hoping for your 2nd Bloggie!)

  6. I’m glad you were one of the finalists. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who nominated you.

    And, btw, I get my eyebrows waxed and take good care of my skin, too. Good maintenance is not a bad thing.

  7. First off, congrats on the nomination 🙂

    Second, I absolutely hate that no matter how much any of us says we don’t care what others think, we still always seem to need to please others as well as ourselves. I’m guilty of dying my hair, grooming my eyebrows (although I prefer spending $10 for the threading from the Indian girl at the Korean nail salon), because I feel better and because society pretty much force feeds this sort of shit to girls from birth. I waited YEARS to get my nose pierced because by the time it interested me, as much as I wanted it I thought that I’d look like a fool with it before finally getting it done at 30. I had the same thought 2 weeks ago, and agonized for a few weeks about what kind of idiot I must look like to be getting my septum done a month before I turn 32. Both were piercings that I adore and love the look of, but I hate that I put them off because I was afraid of what other people might think of them. If I were planning on ever having kids, I’d definitely want a boy simply so that I could point out the flaws in these teachings that tell girls they need to be a certain size and look a certain way or do certain things to be wanted by anyone. I don’t think I could handle having a daughter and trying to teach her to be herself while trying to deal with a personal battle between what society values and who I actually am.

    I’ve surrendered to the fact that I’m more likely to be a “before” model for a fad diet than the “after” model. I’m more likely to be the one pointed out because of the chest tattoos rather than my perfect smile. I’m never going to be what society says a girl, woman, female, should be.

  8. My kids know that I worry about my weight; they see me struggle with it daily. I tell them that I want to lose weight to be healthy.

    As for the beauty issues, like grooming, I try to convey that these are the things that make ME feel good about myself, but they surely do not define me or make me better than I already am.

  9. Congrats on being nominated! I went over and voted for you 🙂

    It’s very strange, I’m 25 now now but when I was in highschool and the first half of college, I didn’t care one little bit how I looked. I went around in jeans, men’s tshirts and baseball caps (literally), and thought I was hot stuff. i’ve become more aware of how i look, dress, etc as i get older, interestingly enough. i always thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

    Have you tried threading your eyebrows? Not sure if they have that where you are but it’s much less painful than waxing. i’m a fan 🙂

    Hope you’re surviving the Canadian winter ok!

  10. Tiff – Thank you! And no problem 🙂 hehe

    Meghann – Oo that’s a scary thought. I don’t want my son growing up to expect that kind of thing either! Truthfully, I can go months without shaving my legs (in the winter anyway – heh). TH doesn’t complain about it because like I’ve said to him, “you don’t shave YOUR legs so why do I have to shave mine all the time?”. I’m probably going to keep doing what I’m doing.

    Sarah – We all are guilty of doing that! It sucks so much because we SHOULDN’T have those thoughts. Especially you because you are definitely not over weight!

    Lyla – No problem 🙂 I think we’ve all been trying to say it forever…

    Jess – Holy crap her step dad is a friggin’ asshat! I’d smack him upside the head! Way to make her develop a complex! I am who I am too, and while although I like to wax my eyebrows and dye my hair, I would never change my “style” (as in what I wear) just because a magazine told me it was “in”. I’m a fan of leggings and long sweaters. I don’t care if leggings are in or out this season, and I honestly couldn’t tell you if they WERE in or out! lol

    Avitable – Awh thanks! I’m sending big fluffy pink hearts in your direction!

    Crystal – Thank you!! And I’ve never heard of threading before…so I actually ended up Googling it. How does that work? I still don’t get it LOL! I too have a love for facial piercings and so want to get my septum pierced! I’m only holding out because the piercer said that it’s a bad idea if you are prone to getting colds or runny noses, which I am. I have my nose pierced and my lip pierced, I want my septum pierced and my eyebrow pierced…because I like them 🙂 my dad wants me to stay away from tattoo and piercing shops though lol. I love tattoos!!

    Secret Agent Mama – I know what you mean, I love to groom too. It makes me feel better and cleaner. 😀 What I really want for society is to have our words and actions speak louder than appearances, you know what I mean?

    Petunia – Thank you so much 🙂 and I’ve only just heard of threading and I STILL don’t know how it works lol! I’m surviving the winter alright I suppose, I mostly hide indoors…cause I hate cold haha!

  11. It’s so amazing that you brought this topic up! I hope you don’t mind if I do a post on it as well! 🙂

  12. Jessica – By all means go right ahead; the more the merrier!

  13. Becky

    Congratulations on your nomination! That’s how I found you to begin with last year!

    1. Becky – That’s the wicked thing about a nomination, it brings in new people who rock my world 😉

  14. I just found your blog today because of your nomination. I love it! As a mom, I can totally relate to you. I also teach for an online high school, and several of my students are pg teens. Your posts really help me relate to them. Thanks so much for your writing! You crack me up!

  15. Sarcastica

    Miss Mouthy – Thank you very much, I’m glad I crack you up and help you relate to your students more 😉

  16. You should tell your kids, I do use make up or color my hair because its fun, thats the reason I do those things, my hair its blue and pink and its because its fun just like that.

    But of course stuff like loosing weight shouldn’t be encouraged, just be healthy by eating well and exercise for feeling good, not for reaching a stupid standard.

    I already voted for your blog, last week I did it 🙂

  17. I love the Dove Beauty series. We really need to change our thinking. I have too many times felt the pressures of society’s opinions of how women should look and be, and I’m tired of it.

  18. Litzia – I agree, it’s very important to stay healthy so you can live longer. A lot of people take it too far though. Since all body’s are shaped differently, goal weights should be discussed with a doctor. Thank you for voting 🙂

    Elizabeth – I love the Dove Beauty series. I know the real intent is to sell Dove products, but at least they’re doing it in a non-harmful way.

  19. In relation to Jess who’s talking about her niece up there . .. what a shame. That asshole has no idea the daddy issues he’s giving his stepdaughter.

    But the opposite of that kinda sorta happened at home with my hubby and my daughter. He’s her stepdad but loves her like her own.

    Anyways, when she was reaching pre-teen-ish age he was confessing how worried he was about her and dating and crushes, etc so he made a comment to the effect of, “Sometimes I secrectly wish you weren’t so beautiful. Like, maybe you were fat or something so that guys wouldn’t want you therefore I wouldn’t have to kill ’em” (of course he wouldn’t literally kill ’em.. but you know.. he’d give them a hella hard time)

    Anyways, she calmly and quickly reacted and said, “Uh.. whatever. (insert teenager rolling her eyes smiley face here) Some of the fattest girls in our schools are SLUTS!”

    Maybe it’s not that funny I guess. At the time we laughed our asses off.

    Basically it was her way of saying, “A girl’s got her needs regardless if we’re beaufitul or ugly” or something to that effect.

  20. OR “Beauty is all relative” ???

    Anyways, I guess I’m lucky that she doesn’t seem to be overly stressed out about the perception of beauty. I taught her the “basics” of makeup when she was younger but since then she applies it however she feels like it. For a while it was heavy black eye shadow and lip gloss. Right now it’s NO makeup other than mascara. I don’t say anything. I think she gets it.

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