Escaping the Beauty Trap

Escaping the Beauty Trap

Beauty. Do you see it in yourself? Can you feel it? What is beauty for you? Have you ever thought about beauty being more than just an outer appearance? In fact, have you ever wondered how the blind define beauty?

Today is Mother’s Day. So, here’s to all our mums teaching us beauty, strength, and life. I find it fascinating that how a girl feels about her beauty starts with how her mum feels about her beauty. Just think about it. My mum has always hoped for better, smoother, less irritated skin. Take a guess at how I feel about my skin.

Our definition of beauty influences people around us has an enormous impact on our self-confidence, and can even inspire what we strive for in life.


So, what is the beauty trap?

When I began my blogging journey, I was shocked by the amount of online social media profiles portraying a lifestyle that is compromised by an idea of beauty set out by consuming specific products and looking a certain way. Young women and men quickly find themselves trapped inside an unrealistic world which defines beauty by a mix of porn and Photoshop. Admittedly, I am guilty of losing my voice amongst the voices of the ‘cool kids club’. Wandering into the world of Instagram as a blogger feels like walking into the school yard as a 14-year-old, spotting the cool kids all hanging out in the corner leering at you, with their white teeth, shiny hair and perfectly arranged açai bowls. My sense of beauty began to be slowly taken over by an idea of normalised perfection aka I woke up like this. The fact that the phrase #nofilter has to be used to enhance trustworthiness makes one doubt the whole idea of credible social media in the first place.

However, I believe it is important to remember that social media, just like conventional media, portrays only a small snapshot of reality, which can be added to a family album, used to market a good, or framed and put into an art gallery. The latter is my goal, but I may use the former to get there. Removing myself from this ‘trap’ reminded me of why I started sharing my thoughts to all of you lovely readers. Now, when I scroll through my Instagram feed, I don’t see a set of rules and obligations, but I recognise my potential to create, inspire, and share.

Carmen Huter Nature

My sense of beauty is intertwined with a sense of adventure. I can’t smile and be comfortable with my self if I feel trapped. My mind and my heart must be free. Does my outer appearance define me? No, instead of measuring myself by a mirror or the image of others, I create my idea of beauty through exploring my passions. I am inspired by travelling the world, discovering the art of fashion, and being surrounded by the people I love.

The beauty trap inhibits the realisation of individual potential. Casting aside the perception of others, escape it by listening to what makes you smile and go from there.

How do you define beauty?

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  • Nice article.

    I think it is really sad hearing that the average woman spends 5.5 hours a week fussing over her appearance to take hundreds of selfies, and then edit all those shots to find that ‘perfect’ image that they share on social media in the desperate hope that they will get a sufficient number of ‘likes’ to feel good about themselves. Or the young girls who feel like the need to look like a porn star to get noticed. My beauty hang up is ‘being big’. No matter how painfully thin I was at various times in my life, I was always called a ‘big girl’. And yes, my mum also fretted about her weight because my grandma was a stick thin fashion model \and mum never felt like she measured up. I agree these hang ups just get carried down through generations. Ironically, the more I stress about being big, the larger my butt grows, and the more I just enjoy life, the smaller my butt shrinks. I enjoy your blogs, they are insightful and interesting. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Kate! And that’s just the ‘average’ woman…

      I hope you are enjoying the real beauty of Africa right now, very far away from any kind of stress about one’s self-image. Safe travels! Carmen

  • That was a really interesting post, I know how you feel about feeling jealous of the cool/beautiful people on instagram, and trying to not let it get to me.

    • Thanks Lena! I am glad you liked it :-). It’s not a feeling of jealousy, but rather confusion or peer pressure to the point I nearly lost on my own voice. I think, at the end of the day, it’s all about changing one’s attitude towards these things and making the best of it. I still think that Instagram is a very valuable platform, as long as it’s used for the right reasons, if you know what I mean? x Carmen