I think I am a very visual person. When I was younger and took music lessons, other people could learn by the more traditional method of by ear (which FYI: I have now managed to master hehe!), but I had to see the notes visually in front of me and learn off by heart. The visual trend continues when I had to revise for exams, whether it was GCSEs or A Levels or even in university, I would probably spend more time than I should've, making nice pretty posters of my revision notes, or colour co-ordinated cue cards to learn on the trains. I like to use my eyes - sounds so weird and never ever thought I would ever write that sentence but it's true. I think that's why I love social media apps and sites like Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest over Facebook and Twitter. My favourite social media platform has to be Instagram.

I also love magazines. Now, whilst I love a good old gossip magazine, I have really got into the more fashion-y magazine recently because I think the photos produced in those magazines are on another level. They are stunning, they are ascetically pleasing to the eye. Of course they have been heavily photoshopped and edited by masters in their fields, and I guess some people would argue that editing process of photography is perhaps the most shallow - because in essence, it is like tidying up the imperfections. And this leads people to constantly find imperfections and flaws in themselves.

Social media is supposed to be the best version of yourself. No one wants to seen an unflattering pictures of themselves, ever. You always try to look your best when you go out or when you meet people in real life and social media is no exception because you are presenting yourself, only this time, it's to a virtual audience. Social Media does not tell the story of your life, it only shows a snapshot. Everyone wants to live in an ideal, perfect world and Social Media has become a great way to make things appear to be a little bit better. I guess this is why the world of Magazines and Social Media Outlets can become incredibly dangerous and is one of the reasons why beauty ideals are formed. Trends become a bandwagon and god forbid, if a woman does not conform to these beauty "standards" then she is scrutinised.

I think personally, there is a huge difference between beauty and fashion trends, and trends to do with body parts that, unless you take a drastic option of plastic surgery, you can't change. Body Part trends seem to make you feel ashamed of what you have or don't have. A couple of years ago, having a thigh gap was so important. This year, it is all about having big lips. Even though, I am Asian, I do have quite big lips. Once, someone actually asked me if they were my real lips or not! I used to be so ashamed of them that I hated wearing lipstick and things that would draw attention to my lips. It was a huge insecurity of mine. And people at school would comment on them on the sly thinking they were so super funny. But now, because it's seen as a beauty ideal and a trait that fits in with this new almost tick box-like sort of check list of what to have and what is popular, I'm no longer the weirdo with big lips anymore, but I'm bang on trend with people telling me my fuller lips are beautiful and that they "wished they had my lips". I think it's just so fickle how people behave.

There's also a pressure on conforming with Western Beauty Ideals. I'm not saying that Western Beauty isn't beautiful because I think each culture, area and place in the world is beautiful and of course, people get inspired by other culture's beauty trends. I totally get that. But what I don't understand is when people almost want to change their appearance into what they perceive as Beauty Ideals, formed by society and media, to the point where you lose your own identity. 

I remember when I was as young as like 13, and I went shopping with this girl and we were in the shopping centre and she genuinely wanted body cream to lighten her skin. I mean, in hindsight, being so aware of beauty standards at 13 and wanting to change is quite scary.

In my culture, the majority of us have small eyes. There are a few exceptions of course. But the percentage of people trying to imitate western beauty by getting their eyelid change from monolids to more of a prominent eyelid is on the rise quite dramatically. They equate having big eyes with beauty - the bigger your eyes are, the more beautiful you are. As someone with small eyes, although I don't think I would ever do the procedure, I understand why this makes people have this surgery. When you're constantly told that bigger eyes are beautiful, you do begin to doubt yourself and your looks. That is human nature. I think it's a huge shame why people, particularly women, are made to feel ashamed of their body and their culture. Who says that western ideals are the right ideals? Why are we brought up in a world where big eyes, thin nose, white skin, blonde hair is seen as an ideal?

I personally think surgery should only be a last resort. I think that it's good for people who need it because it's affecting their health but for vanity reasons? I don't necessarily agree. Of course, everyone has something they want to change about themselves, and each to their own, it's your body, you can do what you want. You don't have to justify it to anyone. But I think that you should only change yourself for yourself. Don't change because your lame boyfriend is telling you you need bigger boobs, or those girls when you were in high school mocked your nose. Body parts do have a way of showing off your heritage and your culture, something no one should ever feel ashamed of. These traits ultimately make you YOU. I don't think it's wise for us to try and imitate each other and look the same. We are going through a loss of identity crisis. Just remember that each and every one of you is beautiful, inside and out and you don't NEED to change.

Cover Image Provided by Tumblr.

Published by Jessica Lam