I knew Armani to Vera Wang and all the names in between. I spent hours in the mall sampling designer perfume and watching shoppers get their makeup done in department stores. I picked up pretty pamphlets on wrinkle reduction even though I’d only been on the planet 15 years and probably still had baby teeth. I checked out every book on beauty and hair from the public library and consequently slathered my face with bananas, my hair with egg yolks, my eyelids with vaseline, and my feet with sugar and salt (to exfoliate, of course!) Laugh if you want, but I was dead serious about being beautiful.
The crowning glory of my addiction, though, was the magazines I received each month in the mail: Teen Vogue and Allure. I would gallop up to my room and spend hours reading the issue from cover to cover, smelling the sample scents, cutting out pictures I liked and placing them in a special file that I deemed a representation of what I wanted to look like. This eventually became labeled as the inspiration for a beauty/fashion magazine that I would start and make millions of dollars with and get free good smelling hair products from.
But inevitably, after poring over my precious magazines, I would feel really, really bad about myself. I would look at myself and wonder why I didn’t look like the models portrayed, in face, or body, or thick, shining hair.
But if I didn’t, so what, right? I was my own person and even the books I checked out from the library were all telling me to be comfortable in my own skin and that confidence was beauty and a bunch of other junk that I eventually deemed as a fat load of lies. These women in Allure and “teens” in Teen Vogue were beautiful. And who cared if they weren’t real images—I knew on some level they were digitally altered, blah, blah, blah, blah. That didn’t really sink in; I still felt awful.
The road to recovery from fashion addiction was filled with lots of time with Heavenly Father, real women I admired, and myself. Once I got a handle on who I was on the most intricate, real level, I didn’t care so much what Sephora had to offer for my flaws or what bag Burberry thought I should carry. I didn’t even recognize the extent of the effects the magazines had on me until much, much later.
It turns out they have pretty much the same effect on all of us. This study says fashion magazines make all women feel bad about themselves—so why subject ourselves to the brutality? We want solutions; we still think it is humanly possible to look like a magazine.
But we all really know what the solution is, don’t we? We know we are happiest when we look inward for our self-worth, upward to Heaven for our value, and outward to our loved ones for support and opportunities to be fulfilled through service.
We all really know what the solution is, don’t we?