‘Look good, feel good’, that’s the old saying. In the twenty-first century, image seems to be everything. But there are times where this goes too far.
I’m sure that looking good is what the majority of people would like, not only to feel confident about themselves but to impress and feel good around other people. In this modern age, girls, for example, can earn lots of money taking selfies on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Good for them: they’re earning money from something they enjoy and that’s great. But this over-emphasis of what people look like goes far too far in my opinion.
There seem to be awards ceremonies for everything these days, amd the media coverage of these awards focuses on how people look, particularly women. Instead of focusing the coverage on what awards have been won, and the quality of the television programmes and films being created, the coverage needlessly focuses on what people are wearing. Women constantly get asked on the red carpet, ‘What dress are you wearing?’. And most of the time it’s one of the first questions they are asked. The comedian Sarah Millican presented an award at the BAFTAs in 2013, and all the media coverage the next day focused on what Millican was wearing, as she was analysed in the newspapers and in her own words, ‘pulled apart on Lorraine’.
How ridiculous is this? Who cares what people are wearing or how they look? Can’t the media focus on the awards themselves, rather than a piece of clothing? In response to this, Millican now wears the same dress for every awards bash she attends.
Sadly, this doesn’t just apply to award ceremonies. The covers of glossy magazines are full of celebrities with handbags and accessories costing many thousands of pounds. Constantly bombarding this image makes some people believe this is how you should look. It isn’t. This so-called ‘Kim Kardashian lifestyle’ isn’t for everyone, and it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to have this life of ‘luxury’. What about people who don’t have the confidence to face the public and just want the comfort of living what most of us would regard as a ‘normal’ life?
This is where our Skin Camouflage Service comes in. Some of our clients are not confident about how they look and can have trouble facing the world. Even just getting on the train or going to the shops can be traumatic for some people. I attended a skin camouflage clinic recently and seeing the smiles on people’s faces is genuinely heart-warming. Knowing these products can have an uplifting effect on people and give confidence and belief to so many is an awesome feeling. It makes such a difference to not only themselves, but their friends and family around them. For many, they feel they can face the world without anything stopping them. If you don’t look like a model or if you don’t have the latest Michael Kors handbag it doesn’t matter and it isn’t going to change your life. But camouflaging a skin condition can be that life-changer.
This obsession with looking good isn’t healthy and the problem doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Recently, TV presenter Caroline Flack was ridiculed on social media for her appearance on the X Factor. Unsurprisingly, she responded to the cruel remarks. This just sums up what is wrong with some public attitudes and the negative side of social media, which is so often a force for good in the world. It’s bullying, plain and simple. And just because it isn’t said to the person’s face doesn’t make it any better. It’s no wonder that people suffer emotionally when they are targeted for their appearance. If you look different or have a condition that affects your appearance it doesn’t make you any less of a person, it shouldn’t make an impact whatsoever, and while the team at Changing Faces does amazing work, it’s clear there is much more work to be done.
Look good, feel good. Nothing wrong with that, but taking it too far isn’t the way forward.
- Read Sarah Millican’s feature in Standard Issue about how she faced her fears
- Read James Partridge’s speech on why it’s better to spend more on doing good than looking good
Bill West is a Skin Camouflage Administrator at Changing Faces
Viewpoint represents the author’s views, and not necessarily the views of Changing Faces.