Let’s all suffer for beauty

I’ve always resented the inventions that supposedly make women “prettier”. How much pain, time and money have they cost women throughout the ages?

I’ve always wished people could be happy to leave well enough alone, and that makeup, cosmetic surgery and beauty treatments never existed. I resent having to put in so much effort to look good.


And yet, because all these inventions and implements are in place and have become the norm, I must conform to standards or be overlooked.

To give you a visual image of what I mean, let’s talk about bound feet in ancient China. It was considered beautiful for women to have ridiculously small feet. Females had to endure the pain of having their feet broken and mangled through their lives.

Bound feet

Imagine yourself living in that era. As a girl, you would want to have tiny, mangled feet so you can look as “beautiful” as other girls, to be an object of envy and admiration rather than to be discriminated against or overlooked.

But wouldn’t you wish that the practice never existed in the first place so your feet can grow normally without you feeling the pressure to conform?

But, the way it was, you could have happy feet and be ugly or tortured feet and be admired. Either way, it sucks.

Unfortunately, we still have what I consider barbaric practices today to mould people into societal standards of beauty. Plastic surgery, tattooing, waxing. They are all barbaric because they cause pain.


Sure, everyone has a choice whether to do it or not. But when everyone is doing it and you don’t, you lose out. You’ll find it harder to get jobs and find partners or just fit in. Your self-esteem will plunge and life will be more miserable.

And when your naked photos accidentally get leaked a la Cecilia Cheung, you get criticised by the whole world for not having put yourself under the torture of waxing your privates.

Cecilia Cheung

There are all these people who self-righteously claim that inner beauty triumphs over everything and that painful beauty procedures are dumb. I’m sure even they cringed at those photos.

These people go around criticising celebrities who go for plastic surgery and yet expect women to magically have hairless privates and flawless physical beauty.

There’s no such thing as natural beauty.

Cosmetic surgery existed long before anaesthesia was invented. (I suppose we can count ourselves lucky that those days are past.)

Besides the ancient Chinese binding their feet, the Maori carved up their faces with sharpened bones and applied dye on the wounds to create elaborate patterns. Burmese tribal women collapsed their collar bones to create long necks.

Long neck

I think the long neck thing is still happening today. The tattooing too, with less painful methods.

In the past, painful beauty practices reflected the status of those who were able to do them. Being able to mutilate yourself was an enviable luxury. It’s still the same way today, seeing as how plastic surgery costs the skies.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD? Who the devil invented these practices in the first place? I wish people would just leave things alone and stop coming up with bizarre ideas for making humans look “better”.

Aren’t we good enough as we are?

Putting on makeup

Unfortunately, we all have to conform to all these crazy standards in order to ease into society better.

Everyone conforms to some standard or other to varying degrees. Some are easier to follow (like makeup and hair cuts) while others are tougher (like big boobs).

But everyone must conform to at least something, which is the whole problem. It’s not easy being the person who gets stared at and pointed at just because you refuse to get a Brazillian wax.

You must suffer, either now or later.

I will state for the record that I opt for beauty. I just wish the option didn’t exist. That’s all.

8 thoughts on “Let’s all suffer for beauty

  1. Avatar

    I agree. Some people just have larger eyes, a more defined nose, a higher cheekbone. Some people are just more attractive than others, so to speak.

    We admire these people, we want to be like them. Hence these inventions and beauty methods are created. And as more people become ‘beautiful’ from these inventions, more and more people embrace these methods, and it becomes the norm.

    It’s a cycle that feeds on itself, the beauty industry.
    I guess it all begins with Envy.

  2. Avatar

    wonderful read.

    I suppose the underlying problem with suffering for beauty or anything to conform to others is that conformity is a fundamental component of society. People could live truly free lives without feeling the need to follow anyone else, but any person who does that would probably feel very lonely.

    Ultimately I think people treasure acceptance from fellow man so much more than personal freedom that such sacrifices seem worth it. It really gives credence to the saying that no man is an island, another that goes no pain no gain.

    Sad reality though.

  3. Avatar

    I really pity the girls who had to go through the foot binding process in China. Its painful and horrible. When I read the book “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan”, I found out also that many of these girls die through the process due to infection. Plastic surgery also doesn’t guarantee you look better… look at some of the celebs? I think they look even worse after going under the knife.

  4. Avatar

    well who cares what other ppl think if you want to be naturally beautiful
    then thats ok and if YOU YOURSELF think that you could use or YOU YOURSELF
    want to have something done then thats A OK so who cares what other ppl
    think the ppl who get all that stuff done think there so much prettier and better
    then us but its not true god made you how you are and thats how it should be
    and the ppl who get that stuff done are mostly stuck up and just plain rude so

  5. Avatar

    @Sheylara: What you have just described in your well-written piece is the best example of the saying “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Bound feet, elongated necks, etc are all unnecessary abominations in my eyes, but hey, apparently that works for some societies. I totally agree with your line of thought, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not grateful that there IS such an option. Sometimes, being able to see a beautiful lady walking on the streets is all it takes to make your day:)

  6. Avatar

    @Gene: Hmm, yeah, Envy is quite the culprit there. I suppose the other way to look at it is that those who aren’t naturally beautiful should be thankful that there are all these methods and ways to look better. :P

    @Clarence: I like how you’ve justified the need to conform. It’s indeed true that humans crave acceptance and fellowship and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. Some may claim that they don’t care what others think of them and I think they’re either liars or very lonely people. :P

    @Realliveman: You say it best when you say nothing at all. :P

    @PamElanessa: Wow, looks like an interesting book. I’m adding it to my Amazon cart. Will read it some day. Yeah, plastic surgery doesn’t guarantee beauty, but at least got chance? It’s like people say, if you try, you might get it. If you don’t try, you’ll never get it.

    @stormy: Actually, people who want to be beautiful and have something done CARE what people think, that’s why they’re having something done to them. :P

    @RN1209: Well, sure, you guys have it all good cos it’s the girls who have to put in all the effort and pain and time to be eye candy for you. :P

  7. Avatar

    Hi Sheylara
    I’ve been following your blog awhile now but this is the 1st time I am commenting. :)

    I think the extent of the demand for physical beauty depends on the industry we are working in too. In showbiz or some public industry, I would expect that it is more cruel. But in certain personal and work life some people (yes, me) can get away with not even wearing makeup most of the time and not feel overlooked. (In fact, I wish some people at work can overlook me a little. :p) But I think it is ok and not necessarily suffering to have some kind of compromise in terms of conforming. Like I do trim my eyebrows and keep up with a neat appearance and it takes little effort and time. Some ladies have a lot of fun with makeup, so they don’t find it suffering and it becomes a nice compromise for them. As for the more extreme things like going plastic or getting deformed… well, it is indeed sad to think of having to go through all these for the sake of conformed beauty but if those who chose it do feel happier at the end of the day… I suppose to each our own. :)

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