Young + Beautiful

Rosie. Fierce Feminist and Business Owner. 20.

How confident would you say you were?   

My self-confidence changes minute-by-minute depending on a multitude of factors. When I’m alone in my room, fresh face of perfectly applied make-up, pouting at my mirror, perfect lighting illuminating all the right points of my face, I feel fucking hot. Standing in front of a full length mirror wearing nothing but a matching set of undies, I’m a literal supermodel. Out shopping, catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, oh my God – what’s wrong with my face? Fresh out of a bath hot enough to boil lobster, my stretch mark glowing from the heat, are they always this bright and ugly? I can’t complain though really. On the whole, my body confidence is pretty good and I’m aware of how lucky I am to own a body which doesn’t stray too far from conventional beauty standards, and to never have experienced fat-shaming. My social confidence however, is permanently rock-bottom thanks to anxiety. I can go out thinking I look smokin’, but be too scared to enter a party by myself because my social confidence won’t match my body confidence.

                              

What is your favourite part of your body and why?

My mouth. Can’t eat without a mouth! And my favourite thing to do is eat. My lips are quite a decent thickness and they look pretty good slathered in my favourite liquid lipsticks too.


What is your least favourite part of your body? Can you say anything nice about it?

It’s a tie between my right eyebrow and my thighs, I think. Both are hang-ups probably made worse by comments I received when I was younger. I have a scar across my right eyebrow, I got it in an accident I had when I was a little girl and my eyebrow never grows right over it. My eyebrow idol is Cara Delevingne and it’s hard to achieve natural eyebrows like hers when you have a huge gap through one. When I fill them in I can achieve a pretty fleeky look though, so sometimes I’m quite proud of them, I guess. My thighs are quite jiggly and strangely out of proportion with the rest of my body, but they do work in harmony with my waist and boobs to give me that hourglass shape, so that’s kinda cool.


How has your body changed as you’ve entered your twenties?

I grew up being able to eat an entire buffet and never gain a pound. I made the mistake of not paying much attention to my comprehensive school PE teacher when she said our metabolisms will slow down and that old trick won’t work forever. My thighs are a bit bigger and my stomach sort of comes out a bit more than it used to but I can’t complain. It’s all fine really. I have an unnatural amount of stretch marks too.


When you’re getting ready to go out, what is your goal?

To be able to look in the mirror before I leave the house and know that I would defo fancy myself if I caught my own eye across the club. That doesn’t sound weird at all. Honestly, to feel confident, to look good, maybe turn the heads of a few guys and gals and to have fun! Dressing up and doing my make-up is so fun to me, I might actually prefer the preparation for going out more than the going out itself.


Would you change anything about yourself?

I feel like I’m supposed to be a good body confidence feminist and say no, I’m beautiful how I am. But that would be dishonest. Perhaps I’d leave my body how it is and change the desire to change something about myself? Silly answers aside: physically, I’d probably just want to make my body fitter and more toned, get myself one of those taut tummies and less jiggly thighs and get rid of that damn eyebrow scar. There’s more aspects of my personality I’d rather change but that’s off-topic.


Do you think how we look is important?

I think it is, but I don’t think it should be. It’s clearly important to society, or else people wouldn’t be rewarded for being beautiful and others wouldn’t suffer such horrific body shaming. It’s important to ourselves because of how important it is to society. But for the meantime, before all that changes (if it does), I think it’s important to just do whatever we can to be happy with ourselves so that we are mentally healthy as well as physically.


What is it like being a twenty something woman in 2017? 

Better than it was in the past but not great. I’m sure they’ll say the same things we say about the past in a hundred years or less after much more progress has been made. “Gosh, I can’t believe in 2017 America had a president who openly bragged about sexual assault! I can’t believe 1 in 4 women were likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime either, and that FGM was still a thing and trans folks were stigmatised so badly that 4 in 10 would attempt suicide!”

           

But looking more specifically at being a twenty-something, the good: young people are at the forefronts of progressive political movements like that which brought Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the opposition and Bernie Sanders to almost become a presidential candidate, so we have hope and the drive to create change. We’re becoming quite aware of the sexism in our society and we’re making moves to eradicate it once and for all. The bad? That we still have to fucking do this anyway.

 


How do you think young people feel about their bodies? Do you believe that the media has fucked us up and distorted our vision?

I think the vast majority have some kind of body issue. Children are growing up hating their bodies and that hatred just keeps growing as their body changes and strays further from the Photoshopped images that are marketed to us as an impossible ideal. They are looking at models, actresses, musicians, whose magazine cover shoots are picked apart and put back together as the editor sees fit. When I was probably about 12, I developed a bit of an unusual obsession with the freckles in my face and dark circles under my eyes, after flicking through the pages of magazines and seeing perfectly airbrushed faces. Young, naïve me actually thought that it was actually possible to have no freckles, no dark circles, completely flawless and perfect skin, because the women in the photos did. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise those photos had been airbrushed, but I finally did after years of desperately coating my face in foundation to even out the tone. Trying homemade remedies to lighten my under eyes. Even now I apply copious amounts of light concealer to brighten that area, old habits die hard. So yes, the media has fucked up our vision so badly I didn’t even realise that I was aspiring to be a computer-generated image.


What is your dream for the future of yourself or the world in general?

For me to love myself 100%, all the time. For beauty ideals to cease existence and for the media to stop force-feeding us with fake interpretations of those ideals. This will only end when we are presented with media featuring authentic images. Images of plus-size women, women of colour, masculine women, trans women, disabled women, women with eyebrow scars and lots and lots of freckles!

 

 

Miracle

 

There’s a cobalt pulse shivering beneath my skin.

A Y of rivers and rivulets.

 

A reservoir of worlds behind my eyes

and the paths on my palms await pursuit.

The lilac shells of my cut short nails cling

to my fingertips like limpets on the shore

and a row of pearls reveal either the sincerity

or the sham in each smile.

 

It turns out that I, too, just like the rest,

am alive.