For as long as I can remember, fashion trends set the tone for what is considered beautiful in women and that is usually the opposite of their natural self. Growing up in the Kate Moss era, I really believed that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. With the increasing mass of teenagers suffering from eating disorders – the anorexic look sparked a debate in fashion. After a long hunger strike, the global community finally woke up and smelled the coffee. They realized that this fashion ideal is driving too many young women into an unhealthy physical and mental state of mind.
Slowly but surely, the rise of healthy looking women such as Beyoncé, J.Lo, Kim Kardashian heralded a new chapter in the fashion and beauty industry. The ‘curvy movement’ motivates women to embrace their femininity and to love the junk in their trunk. Not too long after being curvy became an item, the ‘fit look’ started trending. Now women all around the world are eager to tone up and squat all day long. With the she squat girls, it is all about eating clean, hitting the gym and toning up. Sounds empowering, no?
Being a bit of a lurker on Instagram, I started following all sorts of fitness, fashion and make-up accounts. Took me not so long to realize that all of these pages are quite similar. Reductive, if you will. That might come across as an insignificant observation, but it demonstrates a lack of diversity. In other words, all of these trends promote a standardized view on beauty and that is an issue because it creates a downwards spiral. Women compare themselves to what they see in media (mostly enhanced images or videos) and when these images do not correspond with their own look, they feel the need to get their fake on or even nip/tuck.
Ironically, most of us know this but we still fall into it. Tons of women (including myself), run to the solarium, inject their lips with ambiguous substances and spend hours obsessing over their physical appearance. C’ome on ladies, what’s happening? We clearly are a sucker for trends that are packaged as "empowering" when in fact, they are discriminatory as they only pay tribute to a specific segment of the female population. We got it all wrong. Because female empowerment should be about motivating and encouraging everyone. It does not matter if you are slim or curvy, a redhead or a brunette. We are all somehow beautiful, in our own quirky way. By succumbing to these standardizing trends, you lose that special you.
So the moral of the story is: take beauty trends with a pinch of salt and follow them with moderation. They are fun and enable self-expression, but they should not become an inherent part of your identity. What is in today, is out tomorrow. Now you’re considered a beauty queen because your ombré hair extensions and threaded eye brows are on ‘fleek’. Next year it might just because you wear blue lipstick and shaved off your hair. Whatever, things come and go. Feel free to experiment and enjoy the ride, but stay true to yourself and keep a clear mind.