The Obsession With Perfection

I remember coming into work one Friday morning to pick up my paycheck. I didn’t have any makeup on, my hair was tied up and sweaty from the gym, and I was in workout clothes. A co-worker was taken back a bit when she saw me and told me, “Whoa, you look so different.”


First, what gave her that right to say that about me? Two, DUH. Of course I look different without makeup. Third, are women supposed to have makeup on at all times and look presentable at every hour?


For my job, it’s almost mandatory that I wear makeup and look done up. To me, it feels as if a woman’s physical attributes are more important than what she contributes to society, such as her intellect. I remember a customer telling me not to wear dark lipstick and that I should do my nails. Oh right, I forgot that women are only meant to look pretty for the male gaze.

In every society, there are beauty standards. Not every country shares the same standards, but within every country, there are shared standards. In the United States, the trends as of right now are: a nice ass, clear glowy skin, skinny but not-too-skinny, abs, thick eyebrows, big lips, long hair, short hair, the list goes on forever.  Think of any famous Instagram girl with thousands of followers, they always look perfect and flawless in their pictures. I wonder if they ever feel this pressure too? The pressure to look put together, polished, almost unattainably gorgeous, etc.

Personally, I sometimes struggle with leaving the house without makeup on. I have slight body dysmorphia, often wishing I had a different body, different facial features, and not entirely happy with how I look. If I must confess, I feel as if I’ll only ever be satisfied with my physical appearance is if I look trendy, but not like myself. Does that make sense?

With fast fashion, trends come and go, but people who are hurt by the pressures of having to keep up, those pains last more than just a season. As an advertising major, I’ve concluded that advertising sets these pressures and expectations. There’s constantly a new makeup product, new skincare this, bodycare that- how long will this overwhelming and unspoken burden go on and when will it ever end? Can it end?



Written by Lynn

Lynn is an aspiring writer in her early 20’s. Despite having an advertising degree, she currently works as a server and tutor. Her hobbies include daydreaming, reading, and watching Netflix documentaries. Check out more of her content at!