Allison on Beauty on YouTube
I love YouTube. If I didn’t have so many other things to do, I would watch A LOT of YouTube. We don’t have cable or network TV, and I haven’t watched Netflix in months (why are British reality shows so bad, and why does Netflix keep recommending them to me?). Instead, when the kids are in bed and John and I have 30 minutes or so before we admit that we’re exhausted and go to bed ourselves, we turn on YouTube. I watch people homeschooling. I watch them cleaning. I watch them raising chickens and goats. I watch them building desks, making soap, and serving vegan food to their spinach-loving children. I listen to them philosophize about everything from religion to kitchen organization. Several of the channels I watch are Mormon moms, and I love seeing their food storage room tours, even though I don’t even have enough canned goods on hand to fill a shelf in our pantry. YouTube has inspired me to de-clutter my house, make my own deodorant (it works! it really does! that, or everyone I know is too polite to tell me I smell bad!), get rid of 15 extra pairs of pants that I never wear, improve my diet, be more patient with my kids, and investigate the Dollar Tree. And it’s taught my 2-year-old all of his numbers and colors, as well as all of the parts of a monster truck (the bumpers are his favorite).
One observation I’ve made, after so many hours on so many channels, is that physical beauty and beauty routines fascinate people – myself included. There are videos galore on “morning routines”, where we watch women put on their makeup and do their hair. There are tours of vanities and makeup desks and even entire “beauty rooms”, where women store all of their beauty products (hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth). Moms who, like me, are rarely in places or situations that demand looking “made up” talk about how they do their makeup mainly for themselves, so that they feel pretty and energized and ready for whatever the day might bring. I go back and forth between thinking, “these women are crazy and need to focus on something else,” and “I really should try harder to look nice. My beauty routine is pathetic.”
So Many Questions…
Is there anything wrong with having an elaborate beauty routine, a beauty room, or hundreds of beauty products? Is it weird to watch it on YouTube? Is collecting and wearing lots of makeup a hobby, as many of these women claim? Is it an indulgence that a person who spends most of her day chasing after children and keeping a house in order deserves to have, if it makes her happy? Is it okay that so many of us feel so much better about ourselves and our lives with hair and makeup done? Is this all a waste of time, money, and effort that would be better directed elsewhere? Am I feeling superior to these women or am I aching for them, because they seem to need so much “beautification” and I get by on less? Am I envious?Curious? Concerned? Or am I really just watching these videos so I can say, “Ha! At least I’m not as insecure or high-maintenance as that woman.” Something about these videos and my interest in them bothers me.
They’re Just Like Me, Only They’re Not
In my own opinion (and that of pretty much everyone else except my husband), I am average-looking. So are most of these women I watch. So it’s not that I think I need any more or less enhancement than anyone else. I have obsessed over and tried to improve (or hide) almost every single one of my facial features and body parts. My least favorite ones, just so you know, are my hair (thin and straggly) and my legs (7 children worth of varicose veins). Oh, and my nose. Too big and pointy. Maybe this is harder to narrow down than I thought. Anyway, I can relate to feeling the need to make oneself look prettier. I must look better with a little mascara on, because when I go without it, everyone who sees me tells me I look tired. And I am definitely in a better mood when my pants fit and my hair does what I want it to. But the older I get, the more I realize that I’m going to look like Allison no matter what I do, so I don’t do a whole lot.
And, I try to keep my beauty routine simple and my wardrobe small because I think it’s a trap. The more I focus on my physical appearance, the more flaws I find. The more flaws I find, the more I have to do and buy to fix them. The more time I spend on the buying and the fixing, the more it becomes part of who I am and how much I need to feel okay. A makeup bag turns into a makeup desk turns into a makeup room. Two pairs of pants turns into 15 turns into 50. 10 minutes to get ready and feel pretty turns into 60. The perfect “look” recedes further and further into the distance the more I chase it. Maybe I watch because I want one of these women to come to this same conclusion. It would be really cool to watch a video of someone making a bonfire of all their makeup and chopping up their makeup desk. Wouldn’t it?
Is it Just Me?
Is that just me? If I had hundreds of dollars and hours and square footage invested in my appearance (not to mention clothes!), I would probably think about my appearance a lot more. And I’m a lot happier about how I look when I don’t think about it very much. I’m guessing that most of you are the same way. What do you think? Are you satisfied with your beauty routine? How much is enough? How much is too much? What are these YouTubers trying to say, if anything?