“Sometimes I'm shy and I'm anxious
Sometimes I'm down on my knees
Sometimes I try to embrace all my insecurities
So I won't wear makeup on Thursday
'Cause who I am is enough”
Where’s the Meaning?
In this song, Jess Glynne walks us through her inhibitions, before closing the verse with a positive, uplifting statement of intent, proudly singing that she “won’t wear makeup on Thursday” in a rebuttal of her fears and society’s expectations of her. Notably, she conveys how she is desperately trying to “embrace all my insecurities”, rather than attempting to cover them up and hide them from the world. This sense of determination is even more rousing, because its optimism starkly contrasts with the worries of the preceding lines. In these, Glynne acknowledges and reveals the severity of her struggles regarding other people’s perceptions of her. Powerfully voicing her resolution to forego make-up on Thursday suggests that the aforementioned insecurities (“Sometimes I’m shy and I’m anxious/Sometimes I’m down on my knees”) stem from a lack of body image confidence.
Struggles with body image and it’s most potent form, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), are increasingly prevalent today, perpetrated and exacerbated by social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, the culture of which puts pressure on women in particular, but also men to an extent, to look a certain way. The widespread use of Photoshop and other photo-editing tools by celebrities, influencers, and general users alike encourages fans, followers and friends to aspire to unrealistic and unattainable body goals.
The final, triumphant line (“Cause who I am is enough”) reminds us that the basic purpose of makeup is to cover up imperfections that we don’t want other people to see. Jess Glynne rejects this, arguing instead that we should embrace people’s imperfections and put less strain on people (young women especially) to fit into a mold set for them by society.
Her compelling use of the word “enough”, rather than something stronger, such as “beautiful”, or even “perfect”, impresses upon listeners that we shouldn’t be aiming at traditional, outdated body image standards. We should just be us, as imperfect as that might be, and refrain from passing any judgments or classifications on how people appear, or indeed, should appear.
Are self-esteem and body confidence issues usually instigated by social media platforms and their unrealistic standards, or do these platforms only exacerbate issues that have been pervasive in society long before the era of social media?
Can make-up be a positive tool for boosting self-esteem, in a similar way to how wearing nice clothes can improve your body confidence, or is it generally part of the problem, and symptomatic of this era’s increasing infatuation with aesthetics?
How far is our appearance interwoven into the fabric of our identity?
If your personality and consciousness were transferred into a different body B, and someone else’s personality and consciousness were transferred into your original body A, which person would “you” be - A or B?
Be Real - The Be Real Campaign is a UK organization, which aims to improve the way children are educated about body image, as well as promoting positive diets and celebrating long-term healthy living, rather than short-term fixes. Be Real is also campaigning for “the media, businesses and advertisers to positively reflect what we really look like.” Find out more on their website, https://www.berealcampaign.co.uk/, and watch this short video summarizing their cause, https://youtu.be/FcCqj7SFmf0.
The Butterfly Foundation - This Australian organization focuses on eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, that result from negative perceptions of body image. They offer educational services, a helpline, support groups and treatments for those struggling with eating disorders. Find out more here - https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/understand-eating-disorders/body-image/
Girls Out Loud - An organization aiming to empower teenage girls and to help them flourish despite the intense pressures they face from today’s society. Their mission statement reads, “BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BE BEAUTIFUL, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY BE YOU. BECAUSE YOU, ARE ALREADY ENOUGH AND ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.” Find out more here - http://girlsoutloud.org.uk
The Body Positive - This is a movement to train community leaders, teachers, students, and many more, and offers resources to those struggling with their body image. Their work combines numerous avenues of research, with their mission statement being: “Our ultimate goal is to end the harmful consequences of negative body image: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, cutting, suicide, substance abuse, and relationship violence.” Find out more here - https://www.thebodypositive.org