Dare to bare?

Every morning I get up and take an Indiana Jones-style gauntlet to the kitchen, trying to avoid any mirrors.

Women are taught through media and peer pressure that a bare face is not pretty and, in my case, I certainly agree.

This last week, we have seen an online cancer awareness campaign that is asking all women to take a picture of themselves without any make up on and then donate to the cause.

Surprisingly, the original idea came from Escensual (Beauty Company) which also donated £1 for the first 100 women to tweet their “Dare to Bare” selfies.

I was very surprised to see so many women do it. Over £2m has been raised so far, from this simple task. But is it really that simple for some?

Young girls are bombarded with images of made-up beautiful models and stars, which for the most part have been airbrushed beyond recognition, yet we all still look at them with envy. Tiny children are wearing make-up in order to be grown up and pretty.

A child’s face, in my opinion, looks anything but attractive when it is covered in products. Are we all wearing make-up as a mask? Do we attempt to hide who we really are and present a different self image, to what we actually feel? Or are we just running with the pack?

If I go out “au naturel”, I get comments such as, am I tired or ill. Those who do not wear make-up can be seen as not caring about their appearance and putting no effort in, but natural beauty is wonderful, inside and out.

When the beauty industry is worth more than £15b, is it any wonder why the perception that a “decorated face” is the only way to go, when we are bombarded with adverts wherever we go.

I am as insecure as the next person and use make-up to hide what I feel and give me confidence. Is that a bad thing though? If having some slap on my face means that I can go out with my head held high and feel good about myself, then how can that be bad? Or should I try to accept who am I naturally?

So much emphasis is put on women and men equally, these days, to look good, to be the “right” shape, that more and more people are becoming depressed.

I am overweight but healthy and have no desire to diet just to look good in society’s eyes. I applaud those who go to the gym, if they are truly doing it for fitness and their own reasons, but to starve yourself or stop eating that tub of ice cream because you fear what people think of you, I cannot accept.

More young people are suffering mental health problems, eating disorders and body dysmorphia, than ever before. At least 1.1 million people have an eating disorder in the UK, with 14-25 years olds being most at risk. I cannot help but think as the young are able to access more media than ever before, that there must be some correlation.

Yet the shame attached to having an eating disorder makes it a very secretive, life destroying illness. There are other causes for people to develop this, but the popular image of thin, made up models has got to play a part.

As much as I hate looking in the mirror or having my photo taken, I am not ashamed of who I am and what I look like. Yes, make-up does make me feel more confident, but it does not define me. I sit here now, eating the biggest cheesecake I can find, with a make-up free face and I must admit I feel pretty darn good!bare


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