Free To Be Me

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“Head up, chin slightly down, hold it. Perfect!” Ah, the life of a model. Posing in flashing lights, all while coexisting with the moody trends of beauty.

The fashion industry is one of the big conductors of what beauty is. Its voice is carried and amplified by the media.

I failed to feel shock when witnessing a woman in the top 3 of America’s next top model being eliminated because she looked too “old.” The tyrannical opinion of the modelling industry dimmed the fact that her modelling skills were near faultless. Recently, actress, Lupita Nyongo’s dark complexion was under scrutiny. She isn’t the only one though, in the fashion industry, dark skinned models usually have labels nailed onto them by society. Weight is another issue that constantly arises in the fashion industry. One minute being skinny dominates runways and magazine covers, the next minute, big is beautiful.

It seems that we, women are the ones that are mostly put under the pressures of succumbing to the ideals of beauty. Crazy diets, skin bleaching, cosmetic surgeries, masks of make- up, all an attempt to be content and when all fails, well, there’s Photoshop but how do we feel about what lies beneath the layers?

Fashion is an industry about expression but constantly needs to reinvent trends. Should we women and young girls be looking to it for the definition of beauty?

Africa is rich with diverse beauty which should be enjoyed and embraced even more than it is. Black females in Africa wear crowns of course, curly hair or shave their hair and go bare. They are clothed with rich, soil brown skin and mountainous curves that aren’t shy.

Beauty cannot be fenced by limited characteristics. There isn’t only one type of beauty. If we, however, fail to recognise this and cannot be content with our authentic selves first, love who we are in the grave of night where comments and labels have no colour or voice, we will be trapped in the confused winds of the fashion industry’s trends of beauty.

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