The “Ideal” Woman
Who influences your beauty, fashion and hairstyle
Playwright Oscar Wilde once observed: “My great mistake, the
fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased
my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality.”
Wilde, who lived during the 19th century, would surely struggle
even harder in the new millennium—unless, perhaps, he had
the opportunity to have tea with Madonna.
Each day, we are continuously assaulted by television commercials,
print advertisements, news reports and magazine articles that
counsel us to conform to a particular look, implying that we are
not “complete” unless we dress like size-0 runway
models, cut our hair like Hollywood’s ingénue du
jour and follow the latest celebrity diet. TV shows like Extreme
Makeover and The Swan turn average secretaries into stiletto-wielding
Barbie clones, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of invasive
surgical procedures the rest of us typically cannot afford.
“Women are bombarded with images of the ‘ideal woman,’
most of who are definitely not showing signs of aging,”
says Dr. Arielle N.B. Kauvar, a clinical associate professor of
dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. “This
has set a standard of beauty which many women want to achieve.”
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to look your
best. But who gets to decide exactly what that means?
According to clinical psychologist Patricia Moscou, each of us
needs to practice “impression management”—a
positive, conscious approach to beauty, hair and fashion, where
we set our own rules.
“Far from implying an unhealthy obsession with appearance,
impression management is the way you choose to present yourself,”
explains former Vogue marketing director Diana Lewis Jewell in
her book, Going Gray, Looking Great! “An affirmation of
the ‘inner you,’ to be sure, but projected in a way
that confirms the way you see yourself.”
Jewell encourages each of us to figure out who influences our
beauty, fashion and hair choices:
Strangers on the street? People we don’t
even know, but whose opinion we seem to worry about?
Close friends, with whom we often unconsciously
compete for attention?
Bosses and coworkers, who probably don’t
even care about our wardrobe or hairstyle choices (unless they’re
inappropriate for the workplace)?
Family members, who have their own agendas?
Or it is you—the person whose opinion truly matters the
Dr. Kennon M. Sheldon, a psychologist at the University of Missouri–Columbia,
has teamed up with researchers to identify what makes human beings
happy. You may be surprised to learn that money doesn’t
top the list. Neither does being popular, nor having perfect teeth.
The No. 1 determinants of happiness, Dr. Sheldon and his colleagues
discovered, are self-esteem and autonomy—feeling comfortable
with, and endorsing, your personal choices. But we sometimes find
it difficult to hold our ground in a society where everyone seems
to have an opinion—and is more than willing to share it.
Self-acceptance doesn’t mean you surrender to nature, banishing
your makeup and blow dryer from the bathroom. Rather, it’s
about making the most of what you have and achieving personal
satisfaction—with your drawer full of makeup and your blow
dryer, if that’s what makes you happy.
When it comes to hair, top stylists recommend learning to accept
and work with your natural texture. If you have curly hair, for
example, don’t fight it. Buy products that cater to its
special needs. Choose a style that flatters your face, and flaunt
it! There are days when you’ll choose to straighten your
hair and days you’ll want to set your glorious curls free.
Most importantly, the choice is yours to make.
Stellure.com allows you to win the battle for self-acceptance
and make the most of your beauty assets—without surgery,
without spending thousands of dollars. The hairstyles you apply
to your virtual model can reflect subtle or drastic changes. You
can’t go wrong with either option if your expectations are
clear and you know exactly what you want.
Become a Stellure member and use the world's only 3D hair visualization
software to embrace your personal style and inner beauty.
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