Is Talent Subpar To Appearance?

Writing

“As a woman you are constantly fighting against only being valued for your looks, because it becomes a very tenuous thing, to be defined by the gaze of others. And beauty is, by definition, ephemeral: it’s a thing you can’t trap in time. It’s a butterfly: it lives for a second. So to make a lifetime worthwhile and have meaning cannot rest on beauty.” Natalie Portman – Metro Newspaper. 

When I read the Hollywood starlets excerpt in the Metro newspaper several weeks ago on my way home from work, her words resonated with me, not solely for their poetic eloquence but for the more saddening and poignant message they behold. 

In more recent times I have found myself picking up on references regarding appearances, especially those of women. We only have to review the last couple of days with the release of the deeply emotionally charged documentary of Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson to gain but a glimpse into the toxic world of ‘beauty’ in the entertainment industry, or be it, in the world itself. 

Who do we blame? Society or our very own biological clock? Men can spread their seeds long after they receive their pensions, but for women, our reproductive window is much more narrow. Is this therefore reflected in our behaviour towards the upkeep of our appearances? 

Is it society’s fault that on the whole, men are allowed to age gracefully yet women have to perform some sort of witchcraft to try and reverse the hands of time as best they can? Or must Mother Nature hold her hands up?

Whether subconsciously biological or not, how can you justify telling a woman in a girl group to ‘go kill yourself, how can sugar babying be seen as ‘OK’, how can people dying in the living rooms of the homes of their ‘beauticians’ from silicone injections be donned the norm?

Social media has to take some level of responsibility for greenlighting a breeding ground of mental illnesses. These firms are failing us, especially young people. With almost half experiencing cyberbullying on social media, three quarters of which are female. 

Ofcourse social media has its positives but if we stop and think about Instagram in particular for a second, a platform to, predominantly,  share images. As I scroll I’m bombarded by a crusade of images of which are borderline pornographic. Now, I’m not some nun who feels that this kind of content shouldn’t be allowed,  I think embracing your seductive side is absolutely fine but the more I scroll the less diversion I see from this. In other words, the platform seems to be stressing appearance and a certain type of appearance at that. 

In addition to over-sexualised images from individuals who are teens in alot of cases to ‘the face’ of beauty. By this I mean the pouty, overtly contoured bratz doll-esque look which seems to have become the archetypal example of what it means to be ‘beautiful’.

 And to this I say – what happened to originality? Beauty is not one form. Nature makes variation purposefully, to support biological evolution of a species, by creating greater variance, diseases are less likely to wipe out whole populations. So why is our brains now wanting us all to look the same? 

The look which alot of people are going for is borderline disturbing. It’s waxy, too polished and too forced. Haven’t these cookie cut moulds ever heard of a concept called ‘effortless beauty’?

Not to be misconstrued, I love a glam look but when glam becomes the norm what does this say about society’s standards of what beauty really is? 

I don’t have an issue with people wanting to look good, I have an issue of what we are made to think ‘good looking’ really is? 10 minutes on instagram and it can leave you seething with anger as you scan the scenes of scantily cladded blow up dolls sprawled across their newly polished bentleys. Instagram is an arena for falsehood flashy lifestyles, which if you fall down the wrong rabbithole, grows nothing but contempt and concern amongst the lives of normal people, especially young people who are at an age where they can be deemed to be highly influenced by what they see around them. 

No, social media platforms don’t choose what people post, but they can choose to remove what people post. The behemoth Instagram seems to be attempting to begin to put a plan of action in place to tackle the mental health illnesses it has in partial a liability of contributing to through the means of trialing the removal of likes  visible on a post. Let’s hope this paves the path for other social media platforms to follow suit.

It seems like the world has fallen in love with social media, and there’s no way out of it, is there?

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

Writing

As I sit with a cold bag of peas smooshed against the left cheek of my painfully windburned face (Northern Ireland’s coastlines are blustery af), I gasp in awe at the astoundingly graphic yet oddly fascinating scenes of ‘Surgeons – At The Edge Of Life’, a show guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat grappling for the sick bucket I can assure you. From close-up camera angles highlighting the magnificent ability of the surgeons to intentionally stop a 3 year old child’s heart on the operating table in order to conduct surgery on the respiratory system, to the scenes of pneumatic drills screwing in metal rods vertically down the spinal cord of a 63 year old man. All I can say is it’ll put you right off your TV dinner and straight onto Google to investigate all types of weird questions about your very own body.

Mesmerised by every filmed intricate movement the hospital staff make in their efforts to save the lives of patients in life-threatening conditions to vastly improving the quality of life in others. To being in awe of the recovery and the adaptability to which the human body is capable of, I ask myself, are we all just bags of flesh and bone, or are we something more than that? Having a ‘personality’, the ability to empathize and rationalize, are these not qualities spared only for humanity or are we all just an experiment of evolution? Evolution going so far as to grant us with the brain to body ratio necessary to think logically and imaginatively and perhaps to think that there is more to us than maybe there really is?

What does it mean to be human?

Eye

Writing

I haven’t worn glasses since the age of 10 and you can tell, my eye’s lazier than the cleaners who play candy crush in the cubicles at work. I had to wear an eye patch till the age of 8, and once they told me I couldn’t be saved, I chucked the glasses and with that came the awkward family photos. There you’d have my two normal siblings and me, the spawn of Satan on the end with the turned in eye. But it wasn’t always doom and gloom, I wasn’t always told ‘could you look at the camera please’ as I squinted as hard as I could begging my left eye to stay straight! Only to find my efforts were in vain as my right would surely play copy cat to its feeble counterpart. Sometimes it was fun making others laugh at my deep deep insecurities.

Anyway to cut a long story short, my quick ditching of thine spectacles many moons ago has resulted in a quick case of panic as I find myself having blurry moments while staring at the screen in work. And it’s not just because I don’t have the foggiest about what I’m doing, I really do take moments of blindness. Sh*t. Also if you’ve heard of floaters (not that kind) then I feel for you, I had the shock of a lifetime when I reached out to grab a spider web only to come to the stark realisation that it was infact in my eyeball (Google it).

With enough of these harsh realities  ( in addition to my whole eye infection malarkey) I figured I’d get myself down to the local optician before they diagnose me with a cataract aged 23 and 3/4.

So off I go, print off the voucher from work to get a free pair (key word free) afterall it is work that’s caused this mess (not my meaningless efforts to look cool without glasses during my teenage years). Their harsh if not illegible ‘vdu’ (visual display units) mean I’ll never see a bee again or be able to  read the small print of my life insurance policy without depending on a monocle or as its getting, a telescope. Yes, office life I do indeed BLAME YOU!!!

So there I am in the opticians, chin on a pedestal, forehead in a vice, eye getting a pelting with the conditions not uncanny to that of the northern hemispheric jet stream. Why was air being projected into my willingly open eyeball? To test the pressure. Next! The actual eye test…….

After being asked every question under the sun apart from what my favourite colour was, the optometrist proceeded to try his hardest to permanently blind me with his torchlight in the hope that I’d not leave the shop without the non-discounted Gucci frames. But oh no! I was undeterred by his tiny light saber. Next came reading the writing off of the back of a postage stamp before rolling my eyeballs back and singing kum ba yah. Kidding! The eye test was normal, he said I had 20/20 vision. Comedian much?

Anyway, with the test (torture) over, I picked out a pair of the finest (free) spectacles. Elton John eat your heart out! They really are a cross between hipster and geriatric and I f*cking love em’ Anyone who knocks glasses are probably the same people who are rushed off to A+E every 6-months for their ‘contact lense in the back of the eye’ stunt again. So P*sssssss offffff! Spectacles are officially cool again!