This article is a part of The Ascent Summer Program 2020
By Pritha Nag
If you have been around social media lately I’m sure you’ve heard of the infamous “glow up” trend going around. If you search up on YouTube “glowing up” you will see several videos titled “glowing up in 24 hours!” “glow up with me!” and “how to glow up in quarantine!”. But what does glowing up mean? Glowing up is defined as the complete transformation of someone’s appearance for the better.
The #glowup hashtag on TIk Tok is filled with transformation of people’s appearances, with girls losing weight, their features becoming more femine and with boys gaining muscles and growing taller. This whole trend is based on someone’s looks and to me that’s a huge problem.
A trend and something that people work towards that’s based on becoming “beautiful” and losing weight is an unwanted pressure that people are putting on themselves. With most of us being in quarantine and staying at home, the pressure to come out with a fit body has definitely increased. What bothers me the most is the fact that people look at pictures from a while back that they could consider cringey and gross, but what they don’t realise is that, that person is the same person who has “glowed up”. You may look different, but you’re still that person, just because you look different doesn’t mean that that person was ugly. That person was you at one point!
What most people don’t realise about glow ups that you see on social media is that it is purely surface level. Which means that it’s them wearing their best outfits, putting on their best makeup and getting shot from the best angles and probably a couple of filters and editing done to the photo.
The transformation of looks have been derived from different movies. Some notable examples being Princess Diaries, one of the most iconic makeover scenes. Where Mia, the main character, gets made over by having her frizzy hair being tamed, her bushy eyebrows be plucked, putting on makeup, taking off her glasses and getting a new outfit. All of a sudden everyone starts noticing her, she’s invited to parties and everyone wants to hang out with her. This is a toxic thing that high school movies portrays. All of sudden because she took her glasses off or got her braces taken off she’s all of a sudden beautiful. Another one being the movie “She’s All That”. The movie showcases the book nerd Lany getting a sudden transformation when she takes off her glasses, lets her hair loose, puts on a nice dress and some makeup, all the boys are suddenly attracted to her and everyone starts noticing her. But what about those of us with the frizzy hair that never gets tamed, the glasses that we need to wear and the new outfits that we don’t want to wear.
Glowing up in 24 hours or in 48 hours may feel good in the moment. Putting on a nice face mask, getting your nails done and getting dressed up! It’s great for you to be taking care of yourself, but don’t do it for the purpose of “glowing up” or coming out of quarantine being “glowed up”. Do it for the purpose of yourself.
To me the best type of “glow up” is a mental one. Where you put your mind in a new state that makes you feel better about yourself. Feeling more confident in who you are as a person will make you realise that you are more beautiful so it doesn’t really matter what others want to think. You shouldn’t dedicate a whole day a week to being with yourself or feeling good about yourself, you should do that everyday.