Growing up I always read magazines. I started reading Seventeen magazines when I was in middle school. What I learned from all of these magazines was that I needed to look good to attract a boyfriend or be liked by my friends. At an early age of about 14 years old I started being very conscious about how I looked.
I spent my weekends at the mall with my friends shopping and going to every single store to find THE OUTFIT. I looked for the perfect outfits in Express, Wet Seal, Gap, and Old Navy. I saved the money I earned from babysitting and doing chores around the house to buy all of these clothes. I was proud of my clothes. I would wear them during days when we didn’t have to wear a uniform. I would strut around in school and flaunt my new brightly colored plaid skirt.
I also started wearing makeup in middle school. Yes, I know it was a very young age to start wearing makeup daily, but that’s what I learned from the Seventeen magazines I read. It basically said in bold letters all over its pages that if I did not wear makeup I was never going to get a boyfriend and my friends would think I was ugly so wear makeup it was.
High heels were another must have for me when I was in middle school. I used to wear chunky heeled loafers during uniform days and chunky heeled MIA sandals during non-uniform days. I envied girls that could afford brand name shoes. I remember during those days chunky heeled Guess sneakers were the end all and be all of all shoes, but they cost $100 and of course, I could not afford them.
Another must have during middle school that I did not own were Coach and Dooney and Bourke purses. I don’t know if you readers out there know, but Coach and Dooney and Bourke purses typically cost $200 and my parents refused to shell out the cash for either of those brands. So I begged and begged, but alas no Coach and Dooney and Bourke purses for me. I tried to save my money for the purses, but I did not make enough from babysitting or my chores so I never did get to own a Coach or Dooney and Bourke purse in middle school.
Why am I writing about this? Well I just wanted to let some of my readers out there especially young women that from a young age we are programmed by magazines to be conscious of our looks from clothes, to makeup, to shoes, and to purses and this is something that most girls go through in their formative years as a teenager and they carry it on to adulthood.
To this day I try to buy nice clothes, makeup, shoes, and purses. Yes, I now mostly shop at Walmart or Target and have let go of the high-end brand names, but still, I am very conscious about how I look because of the magazines I consumed and still do consume. From January 2015 to September 2016 I lived in the Philippines and did not have access to fashion magazines and I have to say I stopped caring so much about how I looked. I started dressing in comfortable t-shirts, boy shorts, and just plain old flip flops. I stopped wearing makeup and my purse was a hand me down purse my aunt in England sent me.
I noticed that without being bombarded daily by the media about how I must look I became a woman that took pride in not how she looked, but how her attitude and behavior affected others. I realized when I was in the Philippines that people didn’t like me so much for how I looked and that they liked me simply because I was nice, caring, funny, and giving.
I grew to be a stronger woman in the Philippines and I would have to thank my grandmother who served as a role model for me. My grandmother or Lola as I call her is a pillar for our village and not because she is the senora of the village who dresses in beautiful clothes, but because she cares about the people who live in our village. Many of our neighbors go to her when they have problems. Lola gives them advice and sometimes gives them help monetarily. Being around my Lola made me realize that the woman to be was not the woman from a page in a magazine. Lola was the woman I needed to become in order to be loved and truly make a change in people’s lives for the better.
Now I’m not trying to say stop wearing nice clothes, stop wearing makeup, just wear flip flops, and carry hand me down purses. That’s not it because actually soon I’ll be posting fashion type blog posts, but what I am saying is that material things do not make you the woman you want to be. Your attitude, behavior, and your empathy are what people care about. They don’t typically care that much about your looks, but how you are as a friend to them.