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Beauty… laid bare!

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

You know that old saying about books and covers? Well, I’ve found this never to be truer than in relation to people.

I say ‘people’ quite loosely, as it’s really one person in particular, who I’m crediting with reminding me of this wide margin for error that exists when it comes to first impressions.

That person… is Pamela Anderson.

Just recently, Pamela has been particularly vocal about her changing perceptions of beauty, as well as her shifting outlooks on life and ‘celebrity.’

In a stark departure from her platinum blonde roots, she has evolved into a  beacon of bare-faced beauty, with a new generation of middle aged ‘fan girls’ in her wake!

I for one, am now a fully fledged member of the ‘Pammy posse’, as I'll readily confess to anyone who'll listen.

The reason?

She had the tenacity to sack off the ‘glam squad’, and take to the red carpet completely make-up free, in what was inevitably a double-sided bid to challenge beauty standards, AND showcase the unrivalled power of ‘as you are.’

After the images of the event hit the headlines, I began to question everything I thought I knew about Pamela Anderson. To consider the possibility that the conclusions I had jumped to previously, might have be misjudged at best…unfair at worst.

When interviewed on the rationale behind her statement-making new image, her responses were measured, mature and thought-provoking, boiling down to more wisdom than we’d perhaps expected from ex-Baywatch royalty.

At its core, was the observation that the beauty-maturity index (ie. the negative correlation between age and attractiveness) is doing women a stark disservice.

Mainly, because it fails to account for those markers of ‘attractiveness’ which are beyond skin deep. Also, because it outsources more power than is necessary to the concept of 'image'.

In an interview with French Vogue, Pamela waxes poetic on this topic, with an explanation that is as rooted as much in the art of self-acceptance, as it is rebellion.

Her words came as a welcome reminder, that the only way to navigate the many and varied seasons of womanhood (with one’s confidence and identity intact,) is by cultivating a cast-iron sense of comfort in one’s own skin…by every means possible.

What seemed to be particularly poignant in Pamela’s case, is that there is limited (perhaps even negligible) use of the word ‘embrace,’ which has become somewhat trite through overuse.

Instead, she advocates for ‘treasuring’ one’s individualities and idiosyncrasies, and avoiding seeing ourselves through the gauze of unrealistic beauty expectations.

Of course, none of this is to refute the usefulness of make up - or indeed the beauty industry. Maybe what it is to highlight, instead, is that any perceived grasp on confidence these ‘tools’ might give us, are likely to be slippery at best - an illusion at worst.

This is unlike the idea of ‘inner work’, which seems to offer the most reliable reinforcement, against the creeping self-doubt of advancing age.

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