Comment: I Look Flawful

FROM pointing out our flabby bellies in holiday photos to discussing whether we should get plastic surgery, we are utterly obsessed with our own flaws.

Step aside from the groomed, posed images that many of use when having to present a photo of ourselves. The no make-up selfie that flew around Facebook last year raised millions for Cancer Research and held bold intentions. Not only were they charitable, the selfies symbolised women embracing their natural look even if this involved a few spots or a blotchy complexion.

However, the captions to these photographs hinted that women weren’t entirely embracing themselves – in fact they were faking it.

Take an average caption like “Sorry having a bad hair day” or “I’m so greasy at the moment” and notice how subtly defensive these flyaway comments can be.

By drawing attention to a flaw we thereby beat anyone else to the mark. Sometimes we even hope someone will respond, “You don’t look bad at all.”

But why do we expect others to be as obsessed with our personal flaws as we are?

When the VMA nominations came out last month Nicki Minaj pointed in the direction of body shape as the reason she missed out.

She tweeted: “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.”

While there is a valid issue concerning expectations in the media to be skinny, I can’t be the only one thinking that Nicki Minaj may have also missed out because her video for Anaconda was, well, bizarre. No one was filming reaction videos for Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood and uploading them to YouTube, that’s for sure.

Like Nicki, we can be quick to dismiss our failures in the name what we perceive (or think others perceive) to be our “flaws”. Be it a job role, award or otherwise, facing the practicalities rather than hiding behind our physical flaws seems far more productive.

By obsessively mulling over our flaws, pointing them out and perceiving them this way, we treat them like they are the guide to our lives. Yet, the funny thing is no matter how much you obsess over your fringe being slightly too greasy as you get ready in the morning, it’s doubtful anyone else is going to notice. In fact, we’re all so wrapped up in our own flaws we barely have time to notice anyone else’s.

What makes these elements “flaws” anyway? How does having larger thighs than your best friend make you less attractive? Likewise, why is having bony shoulders or a big nose necessarily a bad thing?

I prefer to think of flaws as traits that make us individuals. While our bodies are not for us to choose, the way we present them is. So why obsess over a couple of pimples when you can put your energy into thinking up a new haircut, designing a tattoo or creating a new outfit?

After all, as long as you’re a healthy human being you should be proud of your body, “flaws” included.

About the Author

Jessikah Hope Stenson
A young, enthusiastic writer who appreciates a good scone.