Monday, 17 June 2019

Yes I'm an Essex Girl | Breaking the Essex girl stereo type

Essex girl, beauty ideals, being individual, natural beauty, feminism, being you, Michelle Louise Love

I live in Essex and was born here, so to say the image that people have of Essex bothers me, is an understatement. The rest of the country seem to have a grossly inaccurate view of the female population of our county. The common misconceptions of what the ladies of Essex look like is only further confused by the likes of shows such as Towie, Ex on the beach, and celebs go dating, which feature illiterate, rude, disrespectful and extremely plastic enhanced human beings.

Changing the Essex girl portrayal

Contrary to popular belief we do not all have fake breasts, hair extensions and skin of a similar shade as a tangerine. The majority of us actually favour the natural beauty look and are shunning the barbie doll image that seems to make its way onto the TV shows, and I admit I may swear at the television every time another trashy illiterate person from Essex pops up on the screen. Far be it that all people from Essex are like that, just a lot of the ones who are desperate to be famous for doing nothing other than getting drunk and disorderly.

There seems to be a bit of a divide between women who want to look beautiful and women who want to look fake. Television and the internet are littered with many young women who are having so much surgery that they are totally unrecognisable from their natural selves, and it's often not in a good way. I am not one of those people against cosmetic surgery, far from it, in the words of Hailee Steinfield "it's ok if you want to change the body that you came in" but seriously now there surely has to be a limit to that.

We are not all barbie dolls

If you scroll through Instagram you will come across hundred of women with the tiniest nose and huge lips pouting on your screen. The parameters of surgical enhancement seem to be changing so dramatically that people don't even look normal anymore! Their noses look similar to what you would see on a barbie doll, and their lips have been injected to 3 times their normal size so much so that they start developing the duck face, but because so many people are doing it, it's become today's "normal". 

Consequently it's people like this that are shaping the women of tomorrow and that doesn't sit well with me. Whilst chatting to a work colleague she mentioned how seriously her 6 year old daughter takes choosing an outfit for non school uniform day, and another was told by her young daughter that she doesn't want her hair in pigtails for school because she doesn't want to look cute!! And yet another caught her 6 year old daughter rolling up her school skirt to make it shorter. I personally find this incredibly worrying, young girls are so impressionable and are being bombarded with images of fake unnatural and often unattainable beauty. Society is teaching them that it's normal to want to change every single bit about your physical appearance until you fit the mould, and it's all about what you look like rather than about what you know and are capable of. We should be teaching our girls to be strong, smart, savvy and in control, and that they are capable regardless of what they look like.

Are orange stained palms a statement of beauty in these here parts? It seems that the women of Essex are addicted to having bronzed skin and regularly use fake tan to give them darker skin and small fake tan streaks are worn like a badge of honour! I have lost count of the amount of times I've been told I'm so pale and I think it's just stupid. I'm a fair skinned white female, my skin isn't meant to be dark and I'm not ashamed of that, just as someone who has dark skin shouldn't be ashamed of who they are either. These are the small differences that make us unique and interesting, that mark the difference in race and ethnicity. Why would we all want to look the same and lose part of who we are?

Shockingly, fake tan sales in Essex Asda stores soared by 80% a week ahead of the debut of a new season of The Only Way is Essex back at the start of September 2016, as women in the county tried to emulate their favourite cast members. I suppose you could argue it's better than people trying to tan their skin on sunbeds, but I still question why there is so much pressure to have darkly tanned skin anyway? I fully support the likes of Em Ford of the blog "My Pale Skin" for speaking out against the pressure to have darker skin. She has also fallen victim of people telling her she's too pale, like it's a crime to be naturally fair skinned! It irritates me that it's just another way that people are being pushed towards some kind of beauty ideal, rather than us all being celebrated for our differences.

Yes I am a woman of Essex, but I am proud to not portray myself in the way that the rest of the country have come to know of us. I don't wear, let alone own hair extensions. I find false eyelashes annoying and uncomfortable, I can't be bothered to fake tan every few days, nor do I own a contour palette to make my nose appear slimmer! I am who I am, I'm not perfect and never will be so I don't buy into chasing the current beauty ideal because it's a race I will never win. I am not beautiful to everyone, but I am beautiful to some and that's all that matters!

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