Once upon a time there was a peasant girl who lived happily on her farm. She toiled day in and day out helping her mother in the fields and father in the forest to collect wood. Time passed and she grew up to be a young woman. She was talk of the village for her beautiful appearance, so the peasant girl went deep into the woods on one bright sunny day, with no wind or breeze to the crystal clear blue lake to see her reflection in the water. She was astounded to see her pretty face! She had never seen herself before because there was no mirror in her house and beautifying herself never came across her mind because the entire family was always struggling to put food on the table.
In this pandemic era I wonder what’s lying on your bathroom vanity? A hand sanitizer, an antimicrobial soap, a face mask, loads of toilet paper? What was lying on your vanity a year ago? Urban Decay’s latest release, a Fenty Beauty highligher, Huda Beauty lipsticks, a Bulgari perfume?
The trend of vain beauty spread like wildfire in the past pre-pandemic 5 years years. Everywhere there were beauty influencers, celebrities and makeup artists were quick to jump on the bandwagon and release their makeup brands, the Kim Kardashian face contour, Huda Kattan lips and Kylie Jenner look were the most sought after. Color cosmetics were literally in-your-face.
What was worse was the simultaneous deliberate reiterating that makeup expires and you need to chuck out your perfectly fine blush all because the internet says so. You were made to believe that makeup boosts your confidence, makes you the strong woman you are, that special items are “must haves”. Plenty an unemployed stay at home housewives joined the rush to become beauty gurus. This led to plumpier lip trends and the cosmetic surgery industry was all too glad to join in rush.
This was not limited to the makeup industry, simultaneously the fashion and clothing industry followed by the cosmetic body surgery followed track. It was an overwhelming jungle of trends and fads.
What would the peasant girl think if she saw all this, “It is all vain! It is all so very vain!!”
Everyone is a beauty guru on their own face. It doesn’t even remotely make them a qualified makeup artist capable of working on any skin tone and distinct facial feature. Similarly everyone can dress themselves perfectly, and cannot even fathom the measurements and adjustments which a professional seamstress or fashion designer has to go through for the uncountable body shapes.
The damage to the environment has been catastrophic due to the beauty industry, makeup, fashion, skincare combined have destroyed the oceans with their chemicals seeping continuously to pollute the water. Clothes have ended up in huge landfills, with the minimalist and decluttering movement Kon-Mari-ing items only worsened this disastrous environmental impact. The peasant girl had respect for the environment, the lake, the earth, the forest. She knew that they provide her with sustenance, she protected and cared for it whilst growing crops, hunting in the forest,fishing in the lake, or chopping trees, making sure to preserve nature for its own existence and even her own survival.
Mother Nature fought back with a vicious revenge. With the dire situation of the entire world today fashions weeks were cancelled, clothing brands are filing for bankruptcy, color cosmetic sales have dropped, makeup artists are out of work, most employees in these businesses have been laid off, nail and hair salons are almost out of business with people attempting to cut their hair at home.
The tale of the peasant girl toiling in the fields growing food, and only having to travel to the lake to see herself appears to be our future too. With 2020 opening with the Australian fires, the locust swarms, the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian ocean cyclone, and now the Black Lives Matter civil unrest across the entire world there have been genuine issues to think and talk about. It is an eye opener which gets even more eye opening with literally each passing day. All of this represent reality, the vanity of mankind in favourable circumstances, the volatility of the economic system, the unpredictability of catastrophe, the utter unpreparedness of mankind for real issues. Now in 2020 the trends of humanity pre-covid-19 only makes sense to be clowns with painted covered faces, in prepostrous costumes, oversized shoes, juggling skittles and muttering nonsense tales just as a cover to escape form the horrifying underlying world and human issues.
Despite millions loosing their livelihood, it is unlikely that the sales of material “vanity” items will resume to their previous glory. Mother nature has shook the world and caused the vanity slump. People will have to strive towards solving the true issues at hand. Perhaps it can start with mankind putting a definite end to racism.