Vanity and Pride or Self-Acceptance

By Claire Monaghan

When starting university this year I took it upon myself to be a little proactive and search for my classmates on Facebook. Luckily I wasn’t the only one with this idea, and I came across a Facebook page made exactly for people doing my course. It was when browsing through this page a certain post caught my attention. It said something along the lines of: “I wonder how long it will take all us girls to give up doing our makeup in the morning and come into class bare faced with our hair scraped back?”. In my mind it raised an interesting question: Why do we feel the need to make an extra effort around those whom we do not know?

I have no doubt that there are many reasons for this, but I decided to explore the possibility of pride. Some may consider this a sin and some may not, but it all depends on where the line is drawn. For example: washing, fixing your hair and making yourself look neat before you go out is perfectly normal for us all (I hope), but there is a difference between looking presentable and freaking out because you missed your weekly sunbed appointment. And yes, this can apply to men as well. It’s where this line is drawn I intend to explore.

I’ve always been one to do myself up for a party. I’ll curl my hair, pile on the eye-makeup, squeeze into a pretty dress and – if feeling particularly confident – slap on a little fake tan. And there I have it, I feel like a princess. I enjoy feeling special on a night out and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Boys and girls alike make more of an effort with themselves as well, as anyone can tell when comparing gym to clubbing attire.

Although I’m sure we’ve all suffered a night out in some awfully uncomfortable piece of clothing just because it was more “appealing” than other clothes that, well, do allow us to breath. I’m sure we’ve all skipped a few lunches or dinners in an attempt to drop down a dress size. I’m sure we’ve all hated ourselves for setting the alarm half an hour earlier in the morning to spend more time in front of the mirror. Is this too much? Is this where the line should be drawn?

If pride really was as serious a sin as it is made out to be in the “Seven Deadly Sins”, then why do so many people go about day to day with makeup done, fancy clothes or sweet smelling perfumes? Because it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Wearing makeup by no means suggests that you’re superior to others. If it did, we’d all have to walk about bare-faced and dressed in identical rags just to feel equal to one another. Sound appealing? I didn’t think so.

It is interesting to note that, although the country has been in a recession for a while, the beauty industry still thrives. Our appearance is clearly always going to be pretty high up on our list of priorities. Then again, there is always the argument that we should be allowed to express ourselves as we want. Feeling good on the outside can make you feel better on the inside as well, and it’s this thought that leads me to my final point.

I don’t believe it is others that make us feel the need to look good, but ourselves. We all strive for acceptance, friendship, and therefore when meeting new people want to seem as appealing as possible. How we present ourselves is unique to every one of us, and shouldn’t be split into “too much” and “too little”. There is nowhere the line can really be drawn.}