EmbrACE Magazine

Why when judging other’s appearance, we harm ourselves?

30/11/2020

About the Author

My name is Daria, I have a typical Russian name and untypically for Russians, I don’t have a bear. Since I was five, I have written poems about eternal things like love, friendship, and food. A hobby of mine is to run an Instagram blog, partly about my life and the Netherlands, partly about the books I’ve recently read. Another fact about me – there is so much story, drama, and color in my dreams every night, that maybe they would win an Oscar for Dreams if it existed.

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Why when judging other’s appearance, we harm ourselves? 

A few weeks ago, an Instagram account of Vogue Russia made a video-post. In the video, one of the famous Russian bloggers, Ida Galich, was showing her makeup routine: a typical type of content — Vogue has this section for many years and invites celebrities to perform a makeup tutorial every month. Nothing special, so to say. However, the video with Ida Galich caused a lot of negative comments from the Vogue Russia followers. People were not satisfied with Ida’s appearance and considered her not to be “beautiful enough” to be on the Vogue page. Some stated that Ida is not on the “Vogue level” and some argued that they are disappointed by the magazine for inviting her. Vogue Russia deleted most of the negative comments under the post by now.

“Haters”, people, who left negative offensive comments under the post, didn’t mention Ida’s occupation, her education, her being a mother or her being successful at a relatively young age. All the commenters seemed to care about was Ida looking “not perfect enough”. But for me, this raises several questions. First of all, what is perfect? Why should she be perfect to be on Vogue? And what bothers me the most is the question why would anybody even try to estimate her appearance? Is it possible to estimate someone’s appearance at all? 

When it’s a fact that Vogue has an absolute majority of female followers, that phenomenon, which was discussed above, can be called Internalized misogyny. Misogyny in particular, because in this example we see the dislike or even the hate towards a female person, and Internalized misogyny because this hate comes from women to a woman. 

Why does it still happen in our modern world? The phenomenon started recently to be discussed, with the rise of a feminist movement in society. However, it does not mean that in the past misogyny didn’t exist: a lot of cases of misogyny can already be found in the history of ancient cultures. It is considered to be a consequence of patriarchal attitudes in society. At the same time, internalized misogyny rises when women adopt sexist sentiments and start to act aggressively towards other women. 

Why does it hurt? Not only Ida, although especially her, but also many other young women, who are very vulnerable towards these hateful comments, might feel hurt about this situation. When a girl sees someone like Ida on Vogue, she may consider that everything is possible for her as well — “If she could have done it, maybe I can also be confident about myself and go for it!”. But this girl may read the comments. Where people judge and humiliate a person, just because this person somehow didn’t fit in their standards, this girl may think that it would be even more difficult for her to fit in. 

We, women, with these comments, words, actions, that cause harm to other women, subsequently destroy self-esteem not only for other women but also for ourselves. All these judgments come back to us with double force. If we don’t think twice about our prejudices, our preconceptions, we are the cause of why this big ugly misogyny machine is still working. It’s not only about Ida Galich, who I believe is smart and mature enough to let this situation go, even if she would need some time to deal with this pain. It’s about the whole womankind, which ideally, as I see it, should be a big supportive community of those who encourage each other for the better, not hold each other back with negativity and unreasonable conviction.