Living Without the Mask

“Self-respect is the ability stand alone without caring whether people like how you look.”


Moira O'Sullivan, Guest Writer

The average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime. With this money, a person could travel to Italy three times. Isn’t it sad that women feel the need to spend their money on makeup to mask their true beauty rather than on luxurious vacations? Self-respect is key. Self-respect is the ability to love yourself without feeling the need to change yourself with superficial items.  

How many girls wouldn’t be able to walk down the hallway without their makeup done? Everywhere you look, women have makeup on. Lipstick. Eyeliner. Bronzer. These elements shape a mask for women, concealing their true insecurities. In our modern society, we form this idea that only when we get the approval of others can we be content within ourselves. But, this idea is not true. How many of those girls go home, take off all their makeup, and hate themselves? The makeup is like them stepping into a mold of their ideal look, but yet they don’t fit the shape. They create this vivid image of who they want to be; they can’t become the image without self-respect.

Self-respect is the ability stand alone without caring whether people like how you look. It’s the power to speak up for yourself and see yourself in the mirror and smile— a genuine smile.

I once had a friend who adored makeup. When we were in middle school she didn’t wear any makeup, but after entering high school it all changed. She did the same thing every morning: got up, checked her social media , brushed her teeth, straightened her hair, and applied her makeup. She straightened her curly, shiny black hair every morning. After using the flat iron, the hair felt rough, like alligator skin, rather than silky. Who purposely wants their hair like that? The next step in the morning: applying the layers of lavish makeup, creating a persona for herself. She desired to be one of the “cool, pretty” girls. They all wore makeup and had straightened brown or black hair dyed blond.

I thought she was going through a phase, but I was wrong. Day by day, I saw her natural beauty vanishing. First her eyes changed, then her lips and cheeks, then her clothes. The last straw was when she dyed her hair blond. She became a “barbie.” She looked like every other girl— fake. When I looked around in my classroom, I realized the majority of the girls weren’t themselves. They all wore shirts they hated, and makeup that made their eyes itch. None of them had self-respect. None of them liked the way they looked without the mask. Imagine how pleased girls would be if they gained self-respect.

Self-respect doesn’t come overnight. The mask of ideal physical appearance becomes a vicious cycle. The problem becomes that without the mask she feels naked. She has put on this mask every morning and now has to put it aside and reveal to the world how she truly looks and feels. Self-respect begins with overcoming the feeling of self-consciousness. It comes with putting on less and less makeup each morning. It comes with straightening your hair once a week rather than everyday. It comes with being able to love the way you look. It comes with the ability to go into the world not caring what others think, but rather you loving the way you look and knowing this is the most important knowledge in the world.

Self-respect is not posting a sexy photo on Instagram with the caption “love myself.” If they truly loved themselves, they wouldn’t feel the need to post the picture. Rather than sitting by the light of their computer waiting for the comments and likes to flood in with the photo, they could go out into the demeaning world as their natural selves.

Self-respect is the key to happiness. Once you start loving yourself, you will never feel the need to wake up an hour early to create a fake identity for yourself. You will wake up with more confidence. When you look in the mirror, a beautiful and powerful woman will look back at you, and you will know you are good enough without the mask.