It’s been a little while since I did a lifestyle/rant post. The idea for this post came about recently when I was in Paignton with Jake. The pictures in this post are taken on this day as I knew when I thought of it just how I wanted the post to look and go. As you can see, I’m fresh faced. Not a drop of makeup in sight which is something I don’t think I’ve ever fully unleashed to the internet before. Before I go on, think to yourself, do you see me as a professional or presentable woman in these photos?
We got nearly to the end of the day when I realised I’d not gotten in a single photo. But, why? It was the first trip we’d been on with my lovely new camera lens. The sun was shining, I was in the most amazing mood. I eventually realised it’s because I felt I wasn’t presentable enough and I didn’t want photographs remembering that day of me looking the way that I did. I’m sat there looking at Jake, thinking he looks like a dream. There’s no significant difference between our appearances, both wearing no make-up, both wearing Summery clothes suitable for warmer weather. So why am I so reluctant to believe I look okay?
I’ve always been a little scruffy, quite literally from birth. My mums always said she’d buy me gorgeous little dresses, put me in them, coo over me and then 2 minutes later I’d be happily rolling in dirt and mud. I also remember going on a family day out to a farm once and full on falling in a pond and spending the rest of the day looking like a drowned rat. From my hair sticking up everywhere to spilling food down me, I can’t say I’ve ever been the most “ladylike“. But I mean, what actually comes with the meaning of that word?
I’ve heard it described before as “a woman who has morals and respect for herself”, which in my opinion is completely wrong. I don’t think anyone but a woman herself can claim or decide whether she has respect for herself. To be deemed as “ladylike” from my experience of the word is to present yourself as a stereotypical female. Polite, quiet, clean-cut, non-controversial, generically nice to look at. If we’re going by those words to specifically describe being a lady, I’m happy to say that I don’t think I’m friends with a single one. I was looking at those cheesy kitchen signs in a garden centre recently. One of them read “It’s hard to be a woman: You must think like a man, act like a lady, look like a young girl and work like a horse”. That very plainly explains the expectations of us and if you think about it, it’s true.
I don’t know about you but I still feel pressure to be “ladylike” to be branded as attractive. I feel pressure to be a presentable woman to be taken seriously. I feel pressure to always leave the house perfectly made up. For my hair to be constantly in place, looking soft and silky. There’s always such a sense of unease when I leave the house looking not “up to scratch”. Who will I bump into? What will people think? They’ll think I’m some sort of catfish online. My boyfriend is constantly complimenting me, no matter what physical state I’m in. But I still feel the need a lot of the time to turn to him before going out not looking my best and saying, “Do you mind me looking like this?” despite him never once saying a negative thing about my appearance in the almost 5 years we’ve been together.
Why do we need that validation from other people? Our bodies and the way we choose to present ourselves is actually our own business and nobody elses. I mean, we all love getting made up, dressing up and feeling pretty. But who actually has the time, energy and motivation to do that every single day? And why is it known to be “not making an effort” if a woman turns up anywhere with no makeup on? Currently, I’d probably say I wear makeup one day a week, if that. I’ve also recognised that I contribute to this anxiety of my own by only posting photos online where I think I look “acceptable”, where I adhere to these standards. I suppose this sets an unreal expectation for people to think I look like that all the time.
So I’m making a vow from now on, to post more photos without makeup. To post more photos in my PJs, with my hair plopped on my head. To post more photos where I’m looking like my generally anxious self and not standing in a glamorous dress with my shoulders back like I don’t have a care in the world. These photos are great and they make me feel good about myself but they’re not representative of my every day life. I’m still a presentable woman and I’m still pretty in super casual clothes and no makeup.
If you want to join me in this little movement and support your fellow females, post a photo of yourself looking “unpresentable” on Instagram with the hashtag #PrettyPresentable and support everyone else doing so by giving them some likes/positive comments! I’d love to have you onboard, whoever you are, in this little project of mine.
What are your experiences with leaving the house makeup-less/”unpresentable” and do you have insecurities around it? Do you see yourself as a presentable woman?