Beauty has been on my mind a lot recently. And that topic isn’t just on my own mind, it appears; not long ago the lovely Elsie spoke about how most (Traditionalist) Men need a Trophy Wife. Contrary to how it sounds, though, the post was about how men enjoy it when their women take pride in their appearance, and how it benefits all partners in a relationship to maintain their physical appearances to certain standards.
I bring Beauty and appearances up, however, not because of Elsie’s article- though it certainly provides some food for thought. Instead, I bring it up because recently I was asking about the historical connotations and intent behind the listing of “Beauty” as a virtue in early Irish culture and Spirituality, which those who follow me know I have recently been dumped into head first.
After seeing it listed among important values such as Courage, Hospitality, Generosity, and so on, I was having a difficult time finding references in the Texts to clarify exactly what they meant by “Beauty”; was it spiritual? Mental? Physical, even? Finally I received an answer that it was indeed an emphasis on Physical beauty… And I was ecstatic about that because it very much sits in line with my own personal beliefs. But when I disagreed with their further assertion that such a virtue no longer had a place in Modern Irish Polytheism, someone else deigned it acceptable to be very degrading- calling me abelist for daring to support the idea that one’s physical appearance is important in multiple ways.
But the truth is that, whether we want it to or not, our physical appearance and the effort we but into it matters– and it matters regardless of whether or not we conform to conventional (or other) standards of beauty. And we can guffaw about the unfairness and absurdity of it all we want, but that fact does not change.
Stop for a moment and think about people you’ve met who put little or no effort into their personal appearance. Think of people with bad breath or greasy hair and how your opinion of them subtly changed when you noticed these things. – Investing in Yourself: Personal Appearance and Hygiene
Our physical appearance is the foundation on which people judge us. It affects our pay rate and hireability, how others perceive us, how they interact with us or approach us, and so much more. To other levels, our appearances even affect how those around us are perceived. What is more, is the fact that our appearances affect even our own views of ourselves; the external state of our appearance is not only directly related to our internal emotions, but also has a significant impact on our mental and emotional health in various ways.
Now, some of these are connected to Sexism in extreme ways, and this is undoubtedly problematic on many levels. But I have also found that it is a statement that tends to hold true regardless of whether or not you perform according to societal standards; whether you follow gender norms, adhere to social and cultural beauty standards, are considered conventionally attractive, and so on and so forth. It stands to reason, then, that taking care of, maintaining, and taking pride in our physical appearance should be important to us- even if we choose to forgo those conventional standards. And there are a million and one reasons to do so (but here is probably my favorite list, personally).
And that’s all well and good when said, but what does all of this actually mean?
Firstly, “pride” is a feeling of deep pleasure and satisfaction that is derived from an action, skill, quality, or other thing which stems from and is attributed to one’s self. This in turn means not selling yourself short and genuinely recognizing your good qualities, your accomplishments, and so on- then deriving happiness and satisfaction from them. Taking Pride in your appearance, then, can be reasonably defined as seeing your appearance and body as a source of that satisfaction for yourself– which, of course, requires being confident, loving your body, and being happy with it.
The key to wearing something well is to wear it with confidence. Take pride in your appearance and you’ll feel all the better for it. Whether you prefer perfectly polished looks or more colourful and crazy attire, wear what makes you feel good. – 9. Do Take Pride in Your Appearance
Yet far too many of us genuinely hate our bodies; far too many of us lament the fact that we fall all too short of meeting conventional beauty standards; our noses are too big, our waists aren’t small enough, our stretch marks bother us, and so many other things that result in a list of perceived flaws well past a mile long.
But make no mistake: You are good enough regardless of whether or not you or others believe that your physical appearance measures up to conventional (and other) standards of beauty; you don’t have to be conventionally considered beautiful or perform in accordance with Gender Expectations. That matters very little in whether or not you take pride in yourself- including in your body and appearance.
No one has to live up to society’s standard of beauty. No one needs to be a size 4. But what I’m talking about has nothing to do with your figure and everything to do with the amount of effort we decide to put into our appearance. Why should it matter? Because deciding to look put together is also saying, “I take myself seriously. I respect myself.” And it’s saying one other thing, too, [that I care for and respect those around me]. – Fight the Frump: Get Dressed!
To me, being beautiful, taking pride in, and taking care of your body means just that: Caring for it emotionally and physically; it is equally as important that we practice and achieve (to any level that we can) a positive self image and self confidence. But it also includes staying hygienic and cleanly, having good mental health, regularly exercising, eating well, and all of the other things that you deem necessary to achieve an optimum level of health for your specific, individual body and lifestyle. And yes: It also includes putting effort into how you appear and present your physical self.
As I have said before, however: While it is possible to take pride in, maintain, and care for your body to at least a bare minimum regardless of income or interest… Some people simply do not wish to try and that is perfectly fine. Like with everything, this is not for everyone. But ultimately when you take pride in your appearance you are more predisposed to taking care of your health- and that, in turn, affects a wide range of actions and emotions on the part of others, but also in yourself; doing so has a huge impact on our psychological health, our motivation, and other factors, and it is worth at least minimal time, effort, and sometimes even money, to maintain your appearance to basic standards. And whether you want it to or not, socially it says a lot about you to bother doing so.