Struggling to Love Myself | Teen Ink

Struggling to Love Myself

May 10, 2019
By leannleeyl BRONZE, Petaling Jaya, Other
leannleeyl BRONZE, Petaling Jaya, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Every inspiration post tells you that "everyone is beautiful," and I think that's wrong.

Hear me out - being Chinese comes with a crushing weight of fitting into the beauty standards, which can be harsh and suffocating. Chinese beauty standards are less spoken of in the rise of "woke" twitter, which tends to be more westernised. While westerners' have the previous beauty standard of being skinny AND the current trend of being curvy , east-asians have always praised the only body frame, which is generally being skinny. I guess it's the fact that these countries can tend to be less americanised - we can tend to have a completely different outlook in life, and our society stresses on perfection, not just in grades (if you've never heard of the severity of tiger moms, search it up), but also in appearances.

In 2017, 14 million Chinese people are expected to receive some form of cosmetic surgery, up 42% year-on-year. The global figure is 34 million, up 7% year-on-year, meaning Chinese patients accounted for around 41% of the global total. Here's another thing - In China, consumers under the age of 35 account for 96% of total treatments. In the states, the figure is almost the opposite, with 75% of cosmetic surgery patients being over 35 years of age.

Plastic surgery is the most extreme procedure to undergo when it comes to altering your appearance. As opposed to America, Chinese have a tendency to force beauty standards to an extreme of popularising plastic surgery among teens and young adults. 

Look, here's the thing, in US, you have Kylie getting temporary lip fillers at a young age of 15 (or 16 idk idc), but in asian countries like China and Korea, almost every teen is a Kylie - they receive plastic surgeries as their 15th birthday gift, their eyelids can become a topic of conversation during family get-togethers. For teens here, its not just temporary lip fillers, it's ranging from eyelid to bone reconstruction surgeries.

Look, I'm not condemning PS, if you want to change an insecurity of yours to love yourself, so be it - but I think when PS becomes such a norm that it becomes a form of pressure to young girls, that it makes girls think it's a way of proving themselves, that it's girls' option in order to gain validation from others, I think THAT'S WRONG - and this mindset is being ingrained in Chinese and Koreans. There's a BIG DIFFERENCE between getting PS to feel beautiful and love yourself AND getting PS to fit into society's beauty standard.

According to the chinese beauty standards, I'm not pretty, I lack Mingxi's beautiful big eyes, Angelababy's small face, Fanbingbing's V-shaped face, etc etc, in short, I don't fit into the very narrow ranged standards.

The thing is, I understand that the US standards can be suffocating too, but the fact that the US is a more racially diverse country, standards can be more accepting, (maybe not in the media, but generally in public), as juxtaposed to monocultured countries like China or Korea.

So yeah, I KNOW and I THINK I'm ugly - but here's the deal, while like many, I'm struggling to be confident and to love myself, however unlike many, on this journey to self-confidence, I don't try to convince myself that I'm beautiful.You see, the chinese beauty standards are so deeply ingrained in my mind, and me being a realist, telling myself that I'm beautiful is like resorting to lying to myself as a form of comfort. But instead of that, I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I don't fit into the standards, AND IT'S OKAY TO NOT.

I don't have to think I'm beautiful to love myself, I don't have to think I'm perfect in my "own way" to love myself - I can just love myself knowing that I'm ugly BUT at the same time knowing that someone will love me for the way I am. Beauty doesn't define my worth, thus being ugly doesn't mean I'm worthless - and I think that's enough for me to love myself. How to love yourself is subjective, you may not agree that my outlook is right, and you might even think that thinking I'm ugly means I'm not confident, but it really just comes down to what works for you.

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