Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Self Esteem Vs Society

I had a bit of a wobble last night. I was stood in front of the bathroom mirror, washing my face when suddenly my teeth caught my attention. Now, my teeth are straight and healthy- admittedly not pearly white but healthy none the less- but that's not what caught my attention. What got at me was the small gap between my front teeth and the various chips they have. Usually this doesn't bother me but last night- wow, did it get at me...

Me!


Why? You might ask. In all honesty, I don't know. I don't know why suddenly I found myself conscious of my smile but I did not like it one bit. I felt ugly.

And then I started thinking about why I was suddenly so aware of them, so paranoid about them and it came to me. How often do we see commercials where the model is perfect? Perfect teeth, perfect figure, perfect complexion? We see it all the time on the TV, on billboards, on websites.

So here I was, scouring Google for information about having a gap in your front teeth and guess what came up: cosmetic dentistry. The first three or four links offered were all about 'fixing' your teeth. The next few were people asking for answers on whether it was alright for them to have this gap. The responses suggested... wait for it... cosmetic dentistry.

So yeah, I was getting fed up. I was getting ready to, figuratively, dig out the old tub of ben and jerry's and sob into it when- finally- there was good news. Take a look at this entry from Wikipedia:
In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote of the "gap-toothed wife of Bath". As early as this time period, the gap between the front teeth, especially in women, had been associated with lustful characteristics. Thus, the implication in describing "the gap-toothed wife of Bath" is that she is a middle-aged woman with insatiable lust. This has no scientific basis, but it has been a popular assumption in folklore since the Middle Ages.
In Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria, diastema is regarded as being attractive and a sign of fertility, and some people have even had them created through cosmetic dentistry. In France, they are called "dents du bonheur" ("lucky teeth"), and in Australia, gapped front teeth in children are said to be a predictor of future wealth.

Wait a minute! So in Ghana I would be seen as attractive and fertile?

Society is odd. This is what I discovered at stupid o'clock last night. It is ever changing and yet we, as members of it, are expected to look a certain way or aspire to a certain image- whether that be having an hour glass figure or perfect hair. The make-up industry makes millions in trying to make women feel as though they need to better themselves, to look a certain way and for what? To have a bunch of women who are covering any marks and masking anything that makes them different.

Now, don't get me wrong here! I am all for helping women to feel more confident and comfortable in themselves! I think that's great! My issue is when they  feel the need to bombard us with what we should look like. Yep, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to look like Kate Moss anytime soon...

Image Courtesy of Google

According to 'beautifulwithbrains.com', in Victorian times:
A white and translucent complexion was so desired that some women would even paint some very fine blue lines on their skin to make it look more translucent, as the veins underneath were showing.
Yet how many women now aspire for the perfect tan?

Why can't we live in a society where being yourself is celebrated? Where despite every imperfection each woman- and man- is celebrated?

After thinking all of this, I felt a lot... free-r in a way. I realised that I was fine just as I am. Yeah I have scars and stretch marks, my teeth aren't perfect and I have to wear glasses but I am perfectly comfortable with who I am, thank you very much and society? You can just deal with it.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below!