In recent years, there has been a smattering of blogs, journal entries and articles about women challenging society’s emphasis on make-up, hair removal and general grooming techniques for women. Cherry Healey’s take alongside other appearance based stories in her recent “How to Get a Life: Can Your Looks Change Your Life” has been added to the list this week. What I love about Cherry’s point of view is her camera operator’s point of view: Cherry’s face. Cherry’s expressions. Cherry’s reactions. She shows it all in a very honest and natural way, from her slightly repulsed and uncomfortable reaction to her own arm hair growing out, to worry and almost disgust at a Blackpool teenager injecting himself with illegal tanning aids, to shock and pain when a beautiful young French girl in London calmly explains one of her reasons for the constant modifications to her body through tattoos and piercings was her fertility being stolen by an unfaithful lover.
And this is what I felt was so good about this hour long thought-provoking episode. Cherry doesn’t watch from the outskirts of how more “liberated” and “feminist” people live their lives, neither does she break down society billboard by billboard and tell us all from a soap box that we need to stop being so vain. She reacts how any one of us would if we were honest with ourselves. The other day I wore cropped trousers to work without shaving my legs. When I realised my mistake, I was slightly uncomfortable for the rest of the day and tucked my legs as far under my chair as I could. Female friends moan every time I speak to them about the expense, pain and pointlessness of hair removal. But we don’t really question why or do anything about it.
As women, we are under undeniable pressure regarding our appearance, and hair/no hair is just one small part of this. Being comfortable in our own skin, not being afraid to be ourselves, while also being happy to be the best version of us that we can, is a balance I for one find a challenge every day. Cherry isn’t afraid to ask the questions we need to ask, react as the human beings we are, and then decide where to go from there. A good starting point, if you ask me.
If you could be free from society’s opinions, is there anything you would change/allow about your appearance?
More: catch-up with Cherry’s series here