Self-Expression in the 21st Century?

Trends have been coming and going for decades in the fashion industry, even before the age of the Facebooks or the Instagrams or the internet society had plenty of ways to get hung up on every piece of garment, changing hairstyle, and artistic expression hurled its way. However, it is not only me who has been noticing a new predicament lately since the past few years.

In a 2011 interview, Mila Kunis, an American actress, was asked a series of questions about her outlook on the fashion and entertainment world. One answer which struck me the most was to the following question:

“Is that a problem in Hollywood, the pursuit of perfection? So many women at your age try exactly that: to be and to look perfect,” the interviewer implored Mila.

“It is really sad, because it’s true. Everybody is starting to look the same. It is bizarre how everyone has the same facial features now. One person dyes her hair brown, everybody dyes her hair brown. I think people lose all sense of themselves. It’s unfortunate.”

Everybody is starting to look the same.

Lip plumping has been a recent fad and so have long eyelashes and sculpted cheeks. These are just a few examples that accumulate to achieve a womankind which looks exactly the same in facial features for the most part.

And while this is all harmless, some of its effects are not. Living in today’s world as a woman can be challenging for a number of reasons; one of them being self-expression. In a global society where cultures are crossing borders and plummeting into each other only to come out as a beautiful amalgamation of the world’s colors, people still tend to forget that one can celebrate unity by celebrating diversity. There is an increasing pressure to look a certain way, as it has been for as far back as I have read about, and this is doing no good in curbing the self-image issue which is prevalent in society.

So can you happily experiment with new trends but also maintain your own sense of self-expression in the 21st century? And if so, then how?

What helps me is to practice celebratory reminders of my own unique features which not only reflect in the way that I adorn my face and body but also in the way that I speak, think, and act. What is comparing oneself going to achieve and what is the purpose of it? What the world has always secretly applauded and gained from are individuals, not clones (which is not rational anyway as there will always be an inner voice reminding you of who you are).

“there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
sad.”  – Charles Bukowski

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