One selfie is not enough, at least ten are taken, in various poses. The girl looks gorgeous, like a picture, perfect. First she checked her make-up, added a bit of mascara, updated lips a bit. Her clothes look like they came straight from Gucci’s workshops. Maybe she designed and made them herself. This is how she can be seen, this photo goes straight to her Instagram account.
There is something strange about fashion and makeup. Well, it is important to belong and to be seen, that need is human. Throughout the history of mankind we see that in every cultural period there was and is attention for appearance, in both men and women. The ready-to-wear industry made affordable clothing available to an increasing number of people. The cosmetic industry also increasingly provided affordable products. Film and television provided idols that especially young people could identify with and glossy fashion magazines appeared, sales of which increased rapidly.
The result is often that young girls feel so insecure about themselves that the right clothes and a perfectly “painted” face become of vital importance. They will never take to the street “naked” (= unmade), or show themselves to friends in front of the mobile phone camera. Only good looks give confidence. Think of movies where a girl rips all her clothes from the closet and then exclaims in desperation: I have nothing to wear! Uncertainty.
Fashion comes from Latin, from the word “modus”, which means way, but also evaluation, and to measure. If you look at the enormous waste of clothing and raw materials used for it, you cannot say that we know how to keep in moderation. But fashion also serves to stand out. In the “protest” sixties of the last century, social-minded youth started wearing denim en masse because it was the clothing of the factory workers, in order to rebel against the wear and behavior of the older generations with this unique way of life. This eventually led to a new uniformity, without any uniqueness: jeans are the most commonly worn item of clothing. Can we perhaps see an indication in this that despite all the uniqueness we strive for, we all belong to one and the same group, namely that of wanting to belong?
When fashion is used to stand out, vanity plays a dominant role. Vain, think of the English idle, means empty, void in Middle Dutch. But… does that empty outside also have an inside?
Perhaps we can take this “idle” as an indication: as long as we focus only on our appearance, we are truly empty, vain and insignificant. Until we dare to recognize the relative nature of our outer appearance and turn to our inner self. Then the uncertainty can give way to an inner certainty that we are indeed unique as humans, have a unique task. Then we can discover that we were created to serve in accepted, consciously realized emptiness, in the stillness of our heart, as a sound vessel for a force that our consciousness can barely contain. Then we are filled by the universal power of love, which has been waiting for our cooperation for so long. And then it doesn’t matter at all what you look like, because that new power works in all respects without regard to persons, to eventually dress us in a truly new garment. The robe of imperishability.