Life is a Catwalk: Why does pain equal beauty?

Life is a catwalk July 19
Life is a catwalk July 19

WAXING, plucking, extreme hair colouring all make us look our best – but why are we so willing to be tortured to look good?

As women we are expected to be beautiful.

To have perfectly coiffed hair, smooth legs, manicured nails and the rest. But these beautification techniques are not without their downsides. Waxing, no matter where it is, can be painful. I have to confess I’m not a waxer – eczema on my legs means it is probably not the best choice, but I have had my eyebrows waxed a few times which is uncomfortable, but not excruciating. Plucking, again, a must for the eyebrows, is a necessary pain to ensure we keep them under control. These are some of the obvious beauty pains, but what about the others?

If you’ve ever experienced the application of eyelash extensions, had an electrical-current facial or a chemical peel you’ll know there are plenty of ways a beautician can make you wince in the name of glamour.

If you’ve ever had highlights through a cap, sat having your hair done for four hours, or even just been left in the hands of a less-than-gentle hairdresser – you’ll also know not all trips to the salon are a walk in the park. But the question is, why do we put ourselves through it?

I suppose we subscribe to the saying, pain equals beauty, and in today’s image obsessed world, a slight bit of discomfort is a small price to pay for looking good. I also have a theory, that perhaps, in our own twisted way, we feel more beautiful having conquered the pain of a particular treatment – and wear it like a badge of honour, the same way tattoo lovers show off a new tattoo in a painful place to prove dedication.

Or maybe, like men who compare barbecue techniques to measure masculinity, our uncomfortable beauty rituals have taken on a competitive element. If this is the case I’d be lagging behind – because there are certain beauty pains I can’t take, but if we are talking about uncomfortable clothes and shoes – that is a whole different matter...