Thoughts inspired from a juice fast

beauty, flaws, weight, health, obsession, society, cultural norms, culture, North American culture, This Thursday I began what I intend to be a weekly one day juice fast. I have suddenly become addicted to juicing, but I digress. When telling a friend that I was doing this she said “Imagine how skinny you’ll be” and then followed up with “But you don’t need to lose weight”. I told her this wasn’t about weight loss; that it’s more about will power and gaining control of my mind as well as a little detoxing. Why do people in North American cultures assume that everything is linked to their weight? This, of course, is yet another example of this cultural obsession with looks and with being thin, as if there is only one form of beauty. I’ve had similar conversations with friends over the years: A friend contemplating botox because she’s over 40 (who incidentally is beautiful in the cultural norm way). People suffering from low self esteem because they “are fat” (no one is fat, we have fat). There is a much needed push going on these days to get out of this way of thinking. Young women are posting selfies without makeup. I watched a video this week on Upworthy (found here) that showed a woman stripping off everything that is uncomfortable like excessive amounts of makeup, high heels, a tight dress and hair product in the name of feminism. These are good steps, but we really need to get further. How do we get to a place where we have appropriate expectations of other? Or better yet, no expectations at all? I understand in many careers we want to look professional and that may mean dressing in something that isn’t yoga pants:) But does makeup make us more professional? Does it help get the job done more effectively? Of course not! Why are we celebrating women’s looks above anything else? And we women do this to each other. The friend I mentioned who was contemplating botox was doing so because another friend of hers told her she could use it. Aging is a completely normal phase in life. Are we afraid of our own mortality and fight it by looking younger? Maybe that’s part of it, but there are definitely different expectations of women in this area. So it can’t be only fear of dying. I hear women talk about disappearing after 40- no one notices them anymore. Is this true? Do we disappear? (I’m 46 now and I haven’t noticed this, but I tend not to notice the subtleties happening around me.) Is it our relationships with men? Do men care that much what women look like? Or is this something that women have internalized from the few vocal men who think that women are only useful if they are acceptable arm candy? I don’t think that’s the case. Do men feel this pressure too and just hide it better?
I’ve been lucky in my life. I have a pretty good body image (better now in my 40’s than it was in my 20’s I must say). I wear a little makeup, but never the foundations and concealer and what not. It takes me about 10 minutes to get dressed and put make up on in the morning. I really have no idea what people do that takes so long. I guess I just wasn’t raised that way. I was a tomboy as a kid and I kind of still am. I don’t have to dress up for work so if I go in with jeans and a t-shirt it’s okay. Makeup is optional and if I don’t feel like doing anything to my hair that’s okay too- it’s long I can wear a pony tail- or not- whatever. I’m comfortable with this. But I recognize it isn’t the norm. So how do we get past it?
I’d love to hear some thoughts on this subject. Maybe it’s different where you live? What’s your experience?


11 Comments on “Thoughts inspired from a juice fast

  1. This is awesome, Reena, plus the video link. Thank you. =)
    I want to give you a high five for being a tomboy. Much of my childhood were spent climbing trees, sliding down on wood panels to a man-made lagoon, and pretty much what the boys deem fun. I abhor Barbie dolls then and now. When I receive a gift then, they become Frankenstein Barbies. It was more fun doing that than pretending I can look like Barbie.
    I’ve worn makeup during my work with the airlines. It was a requirement and I was probably the one with the least layers – I so don’t have the patience. Since then, with varied work, I’ve chucked makeup and only have moisturizer and lip balm on my face. True to what is said, less is more – the less we have on, whether make up or food or clothes or whatever, the more we really are. Not that I want us walking naked… hahaha!
    Through the years of being exposed to yoga, my life dramatically changed. I strive for all natural, vegetarian, ayurvedic, etc. It is not easy living in this society. Plus they can be awfully expensive. My health was affected due to unconscious and unmindful living, when one even calls that as ‘living’. My body is still healing to this day… but like you’ve said, I have never felt better compared to my younger years. And when we feel better inside and out, physically and emotionally, we simply look amazing to the world. People can never guess my age. It’s a plus for me, haha! xo

    • It really does affect our health doesn’t it? Not just the makeup etc, but the food, the focus on money, all of it! It takes some bravery to follow a lifestyle that makes us healthy, Wierd!

      • I receive comments both appreciative and finding me odd. Lol! They admire the tenacity of staying focused on being healthy; but the same tenacity deters them from applying it to themselves. What I keep telling people is it’s not really hard work, perhaps only in the beginning as we allow our bodies to adjust. but it only takes a few weeks really! Then after a few months, you develop a dislike for these ‘un-good’ stuff. All it takes is the first step. I learned the hard way by becoming ill. While I had a quick turn around, why wait until one becomes sick?
        I’m babbling… 😉

      • And I forgot to mention…
        I adore that quote – almost tearful… but heart warming.
        Have a good weekend, sweets! xo

  2. In my late teens and early 20’s I had terrible body image and constantly struggled with feeling as if I wasn’t “attractive enough.” Now in my 30’s, I look back on pictures and think, “Was I crazy?” I noticed a huge shift in confidence around age 28. There are so many more important things to think about. I did a little experiment for myself. I went about 2 months with no makeup. No one treated me ANY differently. It was actually pretty liberating. Love this post and as someone else mentioned that quote is awesome.

    • I have gone long periods with no makeup as well. Not a problem! And had the same issue looking back on myself at younger years. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. I’m a teacher and used to wear makeup everyday (took about 10 min). This year I decided that I didn’t care anymore. I don’t think my students cared. It’s been a great transition. I get an extra 10 min. in my morning routine and in spending less money on makeup!

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