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Adefolake: Breaking the Societal Norms of Beauty

For a topic so dear to my heart, I am lost on where to start because I have so much I want to say but so little writing space. I will try as much to make all my points in a concise approach because unlike most of my articles, this one will be an interaction. I want my readers to reason with me and see where I am coming from. I have written several articles on beauty and what my views are on makeup as well as natural beauty. However, in this one I think it is time we break the societal norms as regards beauty.

For my new readers, I term “beauty” as how you are good on the inside and how most people view you, not just about the colour of your skin or the stature your body is sculpted in. I have made cases for why using makeup every day is a no for me because it does not allow us and others see the side of us we term as imperfect, which on its own is perfection. So, if I believe beauty has nothing to do with your appearance, many will wonder why dedicate an article to break what is on the inside. That is where societal norm comes in, what the society perceives as beautiful. So, what does the society perceive as beautiful? Well, I am Nigerian, and our culture is so rich that even in some parts of the country going to a wedding in a midi dress is termed as underdressing. Where I am from in Nigeria, we go to weddings with a lace material that will be seen from the entrance, a set of jewelry that will make heads spin, shoe and bag to match the outfit and let us not forget the gele (head tie) that would be as big as a mast; I must also include the professional makeup that would make you look like a celebrity. To be sincere, I enjoy all that; in fact, I love it. Dressing up and going to functions occasionally is not a bad idea.

The societal norms I am out to break are the ones we look down on people if they do not conform to what we term as beauty by the society. A few examples are:

Every young female must be on bone straight hair: I have used different human hair(s) and in as much as it is good to have sleek hair that falls, that does not make it compulsory for every young female. Some of us want to do locks, some just want to pack their natural hair, some want to rock lowcut while others want to do braids. We need to rise above thinking if a female is not on bone straight, she is broke or cannot afford it. I rocked short locks for my pre-wedding shoot and even though I was adviced not to, it turned out beautiful.

Pencil Heels: This is dear to my heart because of my personal experience. I used to be a lover of pencil heels. Few months being back in Nigeria, I developed back and knee pains which led to physiotherapy; long story short, the physiotherapist warned me to stop wearing pencil heels and switch to block heels if at all I really need to wear. I rarely wear heels at all now, only when I really need to. Sneakers and flat sandals are my ideal footwear.

Revealing Outfit: I love wearing see-through outfits obviously fully covered underneath, but I also understand it is not for everyone and not for every occasion. So, I pick where to wear it to and where not to. Not everyone must wear revealing outfits to show they are current; some people just want to dress and cover up their whole body. There is nothing wrong with that and neither should anybody make them feel some type of way.

Double piercing: People get double piercing because they want to, it does not mean you are cooler than the next person. Same way those with piercings should not be judged for having multiple.

Figure 8: God created everyone with different body types because He is a God of class. I see no reason why a particular body type should be the societal norm of beauty or the standard. Every single body type has its peculiarity and should be treated with utmost respect. It is time we stop laughing at others and calling people names like “amoeba”.

Fixing nails: This is probably the most ridiculous societal norm. When did fixing nails mean you are trendy? I fix when I know I have so many functions at a time and do not want my nails to look unkept. Now it seems some ladies cannot go for a party if they have not fixed their nails. It has gone as far as looking down on those that did not fix their nails.


Some of these societal norms make me want to break away from the entire system to prove a point, but then I think of this platform and when discussing with friends. I use the opportunity to echo how we need to break away from societal norms. We all deserve to be happy and to do what make us happy, not what society dictates for us as our standard for living. In one of my articles, I mentioned how Jesus Christ should be the only standard we live by and I stand by that. Humans will fail you and societal norms will always shift. There was a time bootleg jean was cool and now, people do not want to be caught wearing one. There was a time afro hairstyle was cool and now bone straight hair is the new cool. The world will always evolve, like the Bible says, Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”


Relax! Do not put yourself or anyone else under pressure!

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  1. Tofunmi

    Enjoyed reading this!
    Like you Said ,Nothing is new under the sun.The world will always evolve so everyone should just do what makes her comfortable.

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