About Me

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I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son. Thank Lord for cyberspace! I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald. During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch! Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW! I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick. Including writing these chronicles.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beauty is Advertising Deep

I was at a cafe today when I overheard some ladies next to me talking about what cosmetic procedures they were planning.

It was with shock that I listened to them swap botox stories and plans for boob jobs and liposuction.

They talked about it as though they were discussing what they were picking up from the supermarket.

Is it just me that finds this absurd and kind of sickening?

Is it just me that thinks the normality of this conversation among women makes a shocking statement about society and how women feel about ourselves?

I hope I do not come across holier than thou in this post. I am a victim of this as much as the next lady.

  I have felt and to some degree still feel, the pressure of this unobtainable perfectionism. It is just that thankfully, my awareness of this has really kicked in.

The pressure to be 'beautiful' peaked for me when I lived  in Sydney and worked in a very 'beautiful' corporate world.

My office was like a catwalk, even walking to work from Crown St to Sussex St I was bombarded by hundreds of messages on buses, billboards and other women - there was no escaping subliminal messages that I needed to purchase x, y or z to be good enough (read: beautiful enough).

Hey moving out of there wasn't a cure all.

I still obsess about my hair, but now can just laugh at the amount of stuff ups I have had with it!

Sometimes I think the universe has paired up with the hairdressers to mangle my hair each time I have it done as a reminder for me to 'keep it real'!

Instead of crying out of sheer depression when a hairstyle doesn't go my way (as I once did!) , I can now laugh at my patheticness (yes a word) about placing so much importance on ... hair!

 I, like every woman do have a thing about my weight.

Never happy.

But I am aware of why I feel like this, and therefore try to go easy on myself as much as I can.

 I am increasingly accepting of my body after having a baby and marvelling at what the purpose of my body actually is - * which newsflash - *  was not put on this Earth to go on a quest to match the bodies on the news stand - as deep and intellectual as that ambition may be.

To be honest with you, I am SO SO happy to be out of Sydney because it has helped me take a step out of the world where what you look like supercedes everything.

These days I view more tumbleweeds than billboards and that has been a healthy boost for my psyche that was drowning in the pressure to look a certain way when I lived in Sydney.

The Beauty Industry cleverly leads us to feel our worth as a human beings could somehow be elevated by removing the hair from our legs permanently or straightening out the creases from around our eyes.

I have had moments in the last year where I have looked in the mirror in horror!

I have a one year old baby and have had about 2 mins sleep in 2009 and crows feet have put down their foundations around my eyes and dug their heels in.

Heck I think I even have crows beaks!

I HAVE had moments where I wish I could have that fixed.

But then I stop.

I become present and I listen to that little voice in my head that for some strange reason sounds remarkably like that annoyingly sultry sounding voice from an infomercial.


Did I think the word FIXED?

Is something broken?

Is something not working properly because my body is doing what it is naturally supposed to?

What needs fixing here infomercial voice in my head?

My crows feet or the way my mind has been programmed by the media, shops, other women to deem them as ugly?

Sadly, I think as women we are always prone to these 'not good enough' feelings.

 It is what the beauty industry exists on.

I wish I knew how we could eradicate these feelings altogether, but until we do the key to fighting them is the awareness.

Aware why we suddenly feel life would be complete "if only we had (insert cosmetic/beauty procedure here)"

Easier said then done I know.

The beauty industry coupled with the media  is a mighty mighty force to be reckoned with.

Let us be smart enough to recognise this. 

We have grown up in a society obsessed with making money!

By keeping us women feeling ugly and not good enough keeps the beauty industry alive.

If crows feet were to be deemed attractive, heck how could we kick back and watch Nip n Tuck on Saturday nights? Julian McMahon would not have a pretend job as a cosmetic surgeon! ( probably the biggest tragedy of my whole debate actually)

We are brainwashed on what beauty is, and we constantly feel like we do not measure up.

Advertisers want us to feel like we are not worthy unless we have all this work done - because "we are worth it " right?

It really really really saddens me how many women (myself included) have led their complete lives feeling not enough, completely based on our outer shell.

Our body!!!

It is laughable!

When oh when are the women of the world going to work this out!

 WE ARE good enough and it has NOTHING to do with what we look like!

We are not worth it. L'Oreal!  We are worth a lot more! You are not worthy of us and your blatant preying on our sense of self-worth.

We have bigger fish to fry - stop making us spend our valuable lives worrying about whether we deserve to cake some crap on our faces and then buy some other hoohaa to wipe it off with!!

Are women ever going to outsmart this industry? 

The women of the world who are flaunted as being the sexiest, most beautiful etc.. are all women who have no doubt had some plastic surgery, their teeth whitened, hair removed, eyes enlarged, lips boosted -- so even our men view this as "beautiful" - we are told what is beautiful and we fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

Who made this list and then told the world about it?

Who has the authority to decide who is beautiful?

 Maybe the answer that question was in my question. WHO indeed.

Why do we all buy into it and suddenly believe unnaturally large lips and a constant surprised look is what makes a woman beautiful?

If someone said to you "who is the most beautiful woman in the world?" which one of you didn't immediately think "Angelina Jolie"

Huh? Huh?

And why?

We are brainwashed!

Sure she looks nice, probably enhanced to buggery, but what is it about her that makes her beautiful?

Or is it the fact that this is the way she is marketed that we just swallow it up and accept it as fact?

If you ask me there are a heck of a lot more beauties out there than Ange.

Why not throw the late Mother Theresa into the mix?

Sure she wasn't a badass bisexual who kissed her brother inappropriately and then hooked up with Hollywoods hottest man (again who decides this?)

 She had a bad set of teeth, an appalling hairdo - but to me, she had it going on!

She had an abundance of radiance and it wasn't coming from her Oil of Olay.

 It was the real deal.

We need more beauties like her to gracing the covers at the news stands.

But where would the money be in that?

Who is going to feel not good enough because they haven't completed a compassionate deed of the day?

The world would be a much happier place if we spent time obsessing that we are not good enough due to not giving to enough charities, or were not kind enough to a homeless person then wasting our precious lives feeling not good enough because our thighs have a little hail damage!!

My message of this post is to challenge you to at least question your true need when the inevitable " I need xyz beauty product" strikes you.

Is it your TRUE need, or a need that you have been so cleverly and subtly sold?

I am not telling you to cancel your facial or to quit your laser hair removal - but simply to have a big think about why you are really feeling the need to do it.

Don't  let the bastards win by booking in for these expensive procedures and starving ourselves.

Let us be empowered girls - realise this is how they want us to feel and rebel!.

 Stick our fingers up at them - embrace our crows feet and put our concern into leaving a legacy behind that is going to actually mean something.

What do you want on your gravestone "She had an immaculate complexion"?

 Hey that won't count for much when the worms get to it!


  1. Go girl! I applaud your stance. They would sell us sh*t with sugar on and we would truly believe it is going to open our pores, remove impurities and banish those crows feet you speak of! I write alot about this in my upcoming book. Its the curse of femininity gone crazy. We think that we are empowered and released from the manacles of history in that we no longer wear corsets that make us faint, and we can wear trousers. But the newfangled mental corset is the obsession forced upon us to obsess over our looks, our clothes and our weight.

    Don't believe what you read ladies, what matters, and what will be loved is your insides. The only person who wins in the beauty agenda is the wallets of old rich men. Also don't allow the obsession with your physical self to make you miss out on life, please gals - you deserve a life! You don't need to have perfect hair, teeth and skin to go with it - really you don't - it's a myth made to make money! Don't be a victim of advertising propaganda and fairy-tale! The most beautiful and interesting people I know are far from perfect. Don't let your inner spirit be oppressed for the sake of flawless skin or that little bit of extra fat round the middle! Wake up ladies and grow your happiness from the inside!

    Ok rant over! Clearly I'm quite passionate about this subject!

    I won't go on, I could go on forever. I need to save it for my book! Sharni go girll, be angry, express it - you are correct in your feelings and it rocks that you have shared them here! Alice x

  2. Great post! I think it's so important to realize that the beauty industry is *creating* those not-good-enough feelings in women as a money-making tool. If we were able to recognize all the many, many different forms of physical beauty--and Mother Theresa is a great example--around us we probably wouldn't spend a fraction of what we now spend on their products. L'Oreal wouldn't be able to tell us we're "worth it" if they didn't first make us seriously question our worth. I love that you connected those dots here! So I'll say it again, great post! Because, you're right, we're not 'worth it,' L'Oreal...we're worth more!

  3. You go girl! Such a fantastic post! Truth in every single word. It really is a shame that beauty really is only seen as skin deep.

    I too look in the mirror and think I'd like to make my skin smooth as a babies arse again... but the lines are a visible reminder of a life full of smiles, laughter, frowns and tears... a little cosmetic surgery might take those wrinkles away, but I'd be left with an emotionless face like a stunned mullet.

    Age gracefully I say!

  4. Of course... that is unless your Tamasin Day Lewis. Then you might need all the help you can get. haha

  5. Ok I agree to a point but where should we draw the line? Shaving our legs, waxing our bikini line, pedicures, hair colours, lip wax, brazillain, cellulite treatment, botox, dermabrasion, implants and facelifts - at what point does our everyday grooming become OTT?

    Not disagreeing but I everyone has a different idea of what is OK.

    luv ya, keep it up


  6. PS: didn't think you would stay away long :) xo

  7. AMEN!!!! This is a subject I get very ranty on, but will keep it reined in, as you and the other commenters have pretty much said it all. We just need to be "aware" that the beauty industry isn't here to "fix our problems, they are the ones that created the psychology that it is in fact a problem, and are now selling us the answer!
    Oh, and Jacinta, I hear what you are saying too, I don't think there is any problem with daily grooming, and even getting all gussied up for a big do, but we need to keep perspective. Will your life really be better with less lines on your face? Or would you rather lead the kind of life that puts smiles on your face (and therefore lines)? Will you be made happier by getting bigger boobs, or by volunteering to read to kids? Yanno?

  8. Thanks for all your comments ladies! Yes Jacinta, couldn't keep me away for long haha!
    I am not saying lets stop grooming altogether - rather, just being aware of where our desires for all the extra grooming are coming from. Our Grandma's didn't have brazilians and chemical peels back in their days but their dudes thought they were hot to trot!
    Let us keep it real about what is really necessary in our grooming routines compared to what we have been brainwashed to think is necessary :-)

  9. how do I get these ads off my blog btw!! haha look at the ad I have attracted by mentioning the beauty industry!!! Ironic huh?

  10. I hear you!!!

    my article on http://www.helium.com/items/15 89383

    explores why I think women care so much about their appearance.

    Welcome back, hope you had time to just BE!!!!

  11. I think articles like these that are real should be published in more women's mags, especially teenage mags. With all the education and freedom of expression that is available, girls these days seem more insecure than ever about their bodies.

  12. so true, but would they publish it? They may lose 'valuable' advertising dollars

  13. I agree. As much as I have had things about myself that I have thought "if only" about from time to time, I always thought that to really go out and change it would be like wearing a sign that says: "I don't believe in myself, why should you?"
    As far as the L'Oreal you're worth it etc...well, I have blogged many a time about my beef with skin care. I make our shampoos, lotions, lipbalms, nappy creams, healing salves, bath bombs, etc. Because my hugest gripe with these companies is that while they are telling us that our skin, hair, body etc is not good enough, they are causing much of the problems! When Ella was born, I actually started checking more carefully what is in body care products. I decided that I don't want to use any ingredients on her that I can't pronounce and identify. WHen I went about identifying them....wowza! I saw that I was using hair products that contain things like industrial engine degreasers, then buying additional products to try to solve my dry, frizzy hair problem...using a facial wash that contained no less than 8 known Carcinogens (by EPA standards no less) and then wondering why my skin was always dry and yucky, then buying additional products for correcting this. So, those companies want us to be convinced we are 'worth' spending our hard-earned money on their products, yet they don't think we are worth using ingredients that will not damage us and give us the symptoms that they are telling us are ugly (crows feet etc).

  14. This post has made me realise how lucky I am. I have never, ever been one to obsess about beauty products or gain self-worth from how I look. I think I was lucky to have three brothers who would never let me think this way. Also I had a mother and grandmother who always told me beauty products were rubbish and to just 'slap on some sorbolene'.
    At school I had a group of great friends who, while gorgeous, were more interested in what they did than what they looked like. They are still like this today.
    These wonderful influences have served me well.
    I have had weight issues and yo-yo'd all my life. While in my 20s I had a group of friends from work. I then put on weight and they ran, it was like the fat on my butt had turned me into some kind of mutant monster. As soon as I realised why I had been cut off, I knew I was well rid of them.
    I think women are each other's worst enemy. We judge and criticise each other. I think most women beautify themselves to gain the respect of other women than from men.

    I do worry about this though as the mother of two girls. They are both attractive girls and are constantly told by strangers how beautiful they are. I try to counterbalance this by telling them how clever/smart/imaginative they are. I hope that by not obsessing about my looks I can be a good role model to them.

    Good food for thought, Sharni

  15. The good news is that my children think I'm beautiful just the way I am. I don't follow reality television, but I did get a glimpse at the before and after pictures of Heidi Montag and I think it's tragic what that young woman has done to herself.

    I have an 18-yr-old daughter who is young, thin and beautiful, but I hope that she realizes that her best assets are that she is smart, funny and compassionate. Her perfectionism is geared toward her work, not her looks. She's a smart cookie.

  16. very nice blog. I just bookmarked your blog.


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