What is Vanity?

I take photos of my outfits every day and post them to a public blog. I am constantly encouraging women to find clothing that they adore, learn to express themselves through personal style, and embrace outer beauty as an integral component of holistic self-love. I write about figure flattery, fun shoes, shopping, hair care, and the power of compliments. I believe that loving your own body, just as it is, is absolutely vital.

And I’ve been asked, on occasion, if any of these behaviors or beliefs might be perceived as vanity. And they might. But not by me.

In my opinion,  a behavior or belief becomes problematic when it impedes normal functioning. The dictionary definition of vanity is excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc. Excessive being the key word, there. Enjoying clothing, playing with makeup, deriving pleasure from looking at your own reflection, feeling genuine love for your physical form are all healthy, normal behaviors. Doing any of these things to the point of obsession, feeling compelled to impose your views of your own beauty or importance on others, or sapping your personal resources for the sake of furthering efforts to either beautify or glorify your own image? Entering Vanity Territory, there. It’s imbalance, fixation, compulsion, and strong feelings of superiority that tip the scales.

But in the grand scheme of things, I see vanity as a pretty benign “problematic behavior.” Our society vastly prefers that women bathe in vats of self-concocted self-loathing, and any sign of body- or beauty-related pride creates an excuse to vilify the culprit. Truly vain people are irritating and tiresome, but most of the damage they do is to themselves. And I’m inclined to believe that a little public vanity by some strong women might help those of us who struggle to merely ACCEPT ourselves feel a little bolder.

At least, that’s my opinion. What is vanity to you? Do you feel that exercises in self-love or lessons in personal style verge on  vain? Are there any times when you, yourself, have felt vain? What were the circumstances? Did you feel shameful afterward? Any idea why? Does vanity irritate you? Anger you?

Image courtesy gotnc.

  • http://dollyclackett.blogspot.com Roisin

    I agree completely that society seems to prefer for women to feel self-loathing rather than vanity. It’s why our young women grow up believing that vocalising self-loathing is a good thing, but that expressing satisfaction or joy in yourself is wrong. I like the distinction you make between enjoying how you look and taking pride in it, and that jor or pride becoming an obsession or impeding your life in some way.

    I’ve been called vain in the past, and it has hurt. I like how I look, and I spend time and thought on my clothes and my hair and stuff, but I’m an intelligent and thoughtful person who is expressing herself. I don’t think that’s vanity. I feel profoundly grateful to have reached an acceptance of how I look, and to have found ways to feel good about my body and what it can do. So, no. I don’t think I am vain :)

  • http://www.befabulousdaily.us Cynthia

    I think you’re right about vanity being excessive pride, or pride that isn’t actually warranted by one’s achievements (where those can be objectively measured, which they really can’t with beauty).

    The upper Midwest, especially the central European peasant-descended parts that my parents come from, is pervaded with the superstitious notion that you don’t draw attention to what you love, to avoid the evil eye. I think some of the talking-down of accomplishments, attractiveness, etc. that we do comes right from that. Of course, this totally medieval way of thinking about it has been permuted to a more modern sort of notion that it’s not polite to brag…but why not? Because you will draw attention to yourself and maybe God will smack your vain braggy little hands for sinning and take away what you love most.

    People love to judge each other and they will no matter what we do. So why not enjoy what you have while you have it? I may vainly post photos on a blog every day but I try not to make other people feel less good about themselves while doing it, and that’s the important thing I think.

    • http://www.relatablestyle.blogspot.com Relatable Style

      The mid part is unbelievably true. This has developed in so many cultures, and individually, too – meaning, without parents instilling this belief in their children. It is horrible, as I know first hand – and it also seems to be deeply human, seeing all the protection from the “evil eye” that developed in all kinds of cultures. I wish I knew how to stop this superstition.

      Relatable Style

  • http://www.stuffjewishgirlslike.com JG

    Great post. I often struggle with the outfit-related content on my blog. As much as I love it, I sometimes feel self-conscious when talking about it because it seems so self-indulgent. I will have to keep your words in mind for next time.

  • Dru

    I actually think that in some ways, the most self-loathing people are the most vain. For one thing, what makes that person so important that she needs to be perfect, better than the rest of us? Why not accept some faults? Also, that same self-loathing means the person is focused only on herself, on what she hates and wants to change about her physical appearance, versus what she might like to learn, or what she wants to change in the world.

    I say all this as a recovering self-loather, by the way. I spent years wrapped up in hating my body. I finally woke up when I worked with an annoying (perfectly cute) woman who went on and on about things she hated about her appearance. I woke up one day and realized it bothered me because I was the same way–and how selfish and small it all was.

  • http://departmentofcolor.blogspot.com Ms. M

    It’s a no-win situation for women. We are expected to be pleasant to look at, to be feminine so as to be suitable for marriage and motherhood; but we are criticized for spending “too much” time or money on enhancing our appearance. (And who decides what is “too much”? Everyone, and everyone has a different opinion.) Oh, and that feminine thing? Just don’t get too sexual about it. :P

    • chelsea

      Yes!!! I was just thinking about this conundrum the other day. I try to just say “screw ‘em” and do what is right for me, but it’s still frustrating.

  • http://mary-sews.blogspot.com/ Mary in FL

    I like to see your outfits and I am glad you share these ideas.

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    Vanity is so infrequently observed that I can hardly think of a person I know in real life who I would describe as a vain person.
    When it comes to beauty, I am far from confident. I am much more confident in my abilities whose success I can measure — like intelligence measured through performance in school for example. I know that I have had moments of vanity when I feel that I am better than someone else because of my abilities.

    I think everyone has these moments of vanity at times.

  • Anna

    I believe the word ‘vanity’ in English is meant as a perjorative. I agree with your observation that society (at least ‘our’ Anglo-American (I am English) society feels more comfortable with women who are so tied up in self loathing that it means they cannot truly engage with the world around them. To describe an interest in presenting oneself well as ‘vain’ is to make an attempt to put a woman back in her place.

    I was brought up to believe that an interest in one’s appearance was worthy only of scorn. Yet, at the same time, women who do NOT take an interest in their appearance are scorned and ridiculed too. ‘She has let herself go’ ‘Who would climb into bed with that?’ etc.

    Women are asked to be all things to all people around them. Great daughters, lovers, wives, mothers, employees. Women are all too often described as selfish if they take time for themselves, or if they take care of themselves. One thing that i really love about your blog, Sal, is that you are dressing for yourself. Not a husband, not for us, your audience. You are dressing because it gives you pleasure, joy, happiness. Since discovering your blog i find I am taking a leaf out of your book. I am having more fun with clothes. I am enjoying my newfound ‘vanity’. And it has positively impacted on my self esteem, and how I relate to those around me.

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie

    Oh Sal, this is yet another amazing post by you. I find blogs like yours to not be an example of vanity, but a support system for women to learn how to love and respect themselves and their bodies. Keep on keeping on!

  • http://twobirdsboutique.blogspot.com/ two birds

    nice, thoughtful post. i feel like there is a weird disconnect with these ideas. many women think it’s brave of other women to post pictures of themselves everyday, while others might see it as vanity. i am in the first group. sure, some bloggers may be vain, but at least the ones i read, i can tell from their writing styles that they are just having fun with it all. the fact of the matter for me is that it takes about 20 pictures to actually find one that i think is acceptable to put on the blog! great post.

  • http://3hourspast.blogspot.com/ Steph

    I clicked on the title because it’s a question I ponder. I do similar work through teaching dressmaking- make the clothes to fit your body, and wear the clothes you love. I can not agree with you more. If those things become excessive or the center of someone’s life, then it’s time to re-evaluate.

    But on the whole, I think that showing someone they can love who they are, rather than bathing in vats of self-loathing is a great service.

  • http://www.relatablestyle.blogspot.com Relatable Style

    OMG. SO TRUE. All of it. I was thinking about the same thing, being a style blogger and taking all these pictures of myself (and how would I explain that to my mom?!)… I couldn’t help but feel vain. But I also couldn’t put the finger on why I knew it wasn’t vanity (despite feeling (or fearing, rather) I was – does that make sense?)! But you’re right.

    Come to think of it, it’s like it is with personality disorders, and I as a psychologist should have known (sheesh, really. Helloooo, brain?). It’s (mostly) not the actual behaviors that make personality disorders dysfunctional, it’s the *rigidity* and, as you say, the *excess*. Most people have a broad variety of flexible behavioral strategies – what people with personality disorders lack to some degree. So, as long as we are not excessive or rigid in loving ourselves and admiring our own successes, all is well. Actually, it’s not only well, it’s fabulous and it’s how it should be! (!!!).

    And even IF we would be vain or bragging every now and then (by exceeding the normal amount of pictures & praise in a non-ironic way) – it’s ok. As long as it’s a flexible behavior, it’s a healthy part of the general human behavioral spectrum. We just have to be cautious to not get on too many other people’s nerves with it :-D

    Relatable Style

  • http://www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com HM

    I always think that since we seem so conditioned to hate our physical selves that to feel a bit vain is a kind of success.

    I remember seeing this one guy combing his hair in the mirror, stop and say, “I can’t wait for tomorrow.” I asked why and he said cause he gets better looking every day. I remember thinking that that is how I want to feel.

    -HM

  • http://stylecrone.com The Style Crone

    I believe that putting together outfits is a creative and artistic endeavor. The support for this in the blogging world has been invaluable to me. What’s important at this point is how it feels to me! So I will continue to create compositions to my heart’s content.

  • http://spidersilkstockings.blogspot.com/ Cel

    Vanity only really bothered me if the vain person has nothing to actually be vain about. Like if someone in stained sweat pants and an old t-shirt acted vainly. But if you have pride in your appearance, and you actually look really good, I don’t see the harm if it’s simple enjoyment, and not meant to make others like you or something hah.

  • http://wiredwittyandwelldressed.com Nellie

    Love this post and your focus on vanity being on obsessive. Sometimes I feel that self-love has been stolen from us in this society and that it’s more important for us to get it back than to waste our time thinking it’s vanity. It’s more on learning self-love. Thanks for this.

  • Courtney

    You really hit the nail on the head with this post, Sal. Our culture has developed into this bizzaro world where self-loathing is expected (I suspect because it promotes consumers to spend more on products to mitigate the “hideousness” they perceive in themselves.) I get really tired of self-acceptance being perceived (or intentionally cast) as vanity and self-confidence as arrogance.

  • Katie

    Sal, you just kick ass!

    I have instituted “The Rule,” which my friends know well by now. “The Rule” is that we only vocalize positive things about ourselves in social settings. Of course, we can still have times when we say “I feel rough today and I need to talk about it.” But when we sit at a bar, or at the dinner table, or go shopping, I try to get everyone to focus on the positive, or at least to balance negative thoughts like “I can’t lose the last 10 pounds to goal weight. I’m going to be overweight for ever, lazy flabby etc…” with positive things like “But my hair is fantastic, and I have great skin!”

    “The Rule” is incredibly hard to enforce. Saying negative things about ourselves is so deeply ingrained, in part due to how we are socialized to view positive body talk as somehow egregiously self-centered and selfish, and in part due to not being about to say, “Hey, I need someone to say something nice about me right now.” So we say negative things to get a positive comment.

    I think women should be able to say “I look/feel/am awesome today!” and to say, “I need some positive reinforcement” without denigrating ourselves. And, honestly, reading you daily has helped me enact “The Rule” in my own life, which has vastly! improved my outlook and made me more sensitive to when my friends need me to help them out.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      Katie, you RULE! You are a bona-fide body image warrior!

  • http://www.quirkyknitgirl.com Ivy

    Love this…I think being vain, really vain, is incredibly rare. And not something most of us have to worry about. Yet, we’re so caught up in the idea that self-loathing and a need for improvement is normal that we have a hard time (or at least I do) separating healthy self-love from vanity. Because we don’t see examples of the former. (And because some people WILL call it vain; because sometime people who are so trapped in a cycle that seeing someone who is making a different choice causes them to lash out.)

    I also wonder how much of it plays into the idea that beauty should be effortless — we should all meet impossible standards and work really hard at it, and spend lots of money but NOBODY SHOULD EVER KNOW. And talking about body acceptance and image and fashion opens the door up to talking about those things, which threatens the paradigm. After all, if it turns out we’re all working really hard to get to this ideal, maybe we’ll start thinking it doesn’t actually exist after all, and we should get off the hamster wheel…

    • http://www.alreadypretty.com Sal

      So true. I got a reader question recently about looking “polished” and ended up writing about how much money, time, and effort goes into looking polished. IT’S A LOT. And yet we’re supposed to pretend it is all utterly effortless. And all completely fine, even if we loathe grooming and makeup and primping and fashion.

  • http://www.stylinstacy.com Stacy

    This is a great blog! I don’t post much on my outfit blog, and at times I feel rather vain about taking pictures of myself. You are right, though. I don’t take them for excessive vanity, but more because I actually really liked how I looked that day. We are so programmed to find our flaws that actually feeling good and proud of how we look is supposed to be a “bad” thing.

  • http://www.futurelint.blogspot.com FutureLint

    This is something I worry about too… I don’t want people to think that I have a personal style blog because I think I am soooo stylish and pretty. I do it because I have a unique perspective, as we all do and adding mine onto the pile helps create a diverse and beautiful world of style in the blogosphere. My face is my face and my body is my body and I try to keep them in good working order. But ultimately I don’t think it’s something I obsess about or care about excessively, or to the point that I feel it is a problem.

  • Sarah N.

    Relatively new reader and a first time commenter, just needed to say HALLELUJAH. Yes, yes, and yes. Thanks, Sal.

  • LQ

    I’ve known vain people. The difference is in whether it’s A. joyful and generous and sharing, all about pleasure in the clothes etc, or B. an exercise in superiority and one-upmanship and status-grubbing or -basking, all about pleasure in snottiness and snark and having better taste than other people. I think it’s clear where your blog falls.

    • Dionne

      LQ, you summed up exactly what I was going to say.

      I think that true self-love extends beyone yourself, it affects how you feel about those around you. As you learn to appreciate yourself, flaws and all, I think that extends to others. On the other hand, if you feel superior and snide towards the women wearing “mom jeans” or yoga pants, you’ve crossed a line.

  • Diana

    Yes, I take pride in my appearance, and yes, I like clothes and fashion. I’m sure there are people who think I am vain, but I’m OK with that. I’d rather be possibly judged by others than feel crummy and schlumpy and ugly to myself.

    One of my “vain” habits is checking out my reflection in store windows when I walk by… I have definitely been called out for this (by a friend) and it was slightly embarrassing, but did not stop me from continuing to do it.

  • http://prettyfaceshelpinraces.blogspot.com pretty (face)

    I agree. My mum always told me that modesty was overrated. While I do not condone arrogance, I definitely believe that a lot of the problems of gender inequality in modern society come from the fact that women feel a lot less comfortable blowing their own trumpet than men. I think we need to start doing that more.

  • http://www.minnchic.com Rebecca

    I don’t see anything wrong with vanity, as long as it is expressed as pride in oneself versus judgment of others. Liking yourself is a good thing, and I wish our society was more accepting of personal pride.

  • http://kafkatokindergarten.blogspot.com/ Che

    I agree with LQ and Dionne. Vanity, usually is no more than a minor irritant. It is only offensive when it seeks to belittle others. There are people who can only feel good about themselves by making others feel bad. This is about more than just vanity. I think this stems from a basic lack of compassion.

  • Marsha Calhoun

    Such a thought-provoking topic – and one that so many of us have considered. I think my own worries as regards vanity stem from fear that the vain person is making a mistake – attaching value to the superficial rather than the enduring. This is a real concern: how do you encourage positive self-concept in a little girl, for example, while also helping her understand that ultimately, it’s now how she looks that is important, but what she does? I suppose the key is to focus on what one does about how one looks (the classic southern idea that one has a social responsibility to try to look decent in front of absolutely everybody, social position notwithstanding – making an effort is simply good manners). As for the idea that it’s not polite to brag, I see the reason for that – bragging is unattractive and inconsiderate because it generally makes other people feel bad.

    Humility is a virtue because it takes all of this into consideration, and does not preclude self-love or assertiveness or even acknowledgment of one’s positive attributes and experiences; it simply contextualizes all of these things into a framework that also values the feelings and responsibilities of other people. Vanity doesn’t.

    • Marsha Calhoun

      Oops – It’s NOT how she looks. Sorry.

  • Emily

    I liked your post today, because you talked about something I think about constantly. I am an academic who teaches women’s literature at a fairly conservative university. I get a lot of flack from other academics who believe that feminism and concern for one’s appearance are mutually exclusive, and I think I struggle daily with the twin desires of wanting to be taken seriously and really just finding joy in clothing, women’s bodies (including my own, for the first time) and all the pleasures of sensuous and tactile fabrics.
    In Western culture, we are taught from an early age that the pleasures of an earthly life are wrong somehow – that they are vain, self-indulgent and shallow, and that we are vain, self-indulgent and shallow for wanting them. Women take this on board more than men, because our bodies themselves are considered part of the “problem” of the earthly life – and we haven’t quite gotten past the thousands of years of regulating female bodies and behaviour to make them less “vain.”
    I do NOT think it is vain or self-indulgent or shallow to love clothes and your appearance, whether you are male or female or any part of the gender spectrum. I think if you find joy in expressing yourself in this way, it’s actually the opposite – you give a gift of yourself to others.

  • http://www.icyviolets.blogspot.com Anna

    i agree with you sal, 100%, that vanity is the lesser evil and self-loathing the much greater problem. i think there is a sexist angle on this as well. in our society so-called ‘vanity’ in women gets much stronger social sanction than it does in men. women who dress up, wear expensive clothes, spend money on themselves etc. get vilified as vain and selfish but men who are ambitious, greedy, and self-centered (wall street, anyone? politicians?) are seldom called to account for it. more often they are praised. i think one of the purposes of throwing the epithet ‘vain’ at every beautiful woman is to try to put her in her place, to dispel the power women gain both through being beautiful (which can directly influence men in ways they might not like) and through being self-confident (which makes them more of a competition, should they decide they want the same things men have).

  • Kate K

    Wow Sal, you’ve given us so much to think about! As always :D And all of these comments are so thought-provoking. I’ve typed about five paragraphs and deleted them all because I can’t figure out how I feel about this topic :D

    To answer your question about whether attempts at self-love are vain, I’d say no. You’ve mentioned this before but if I were to ignore my body and my style, well, that ignores a very large part of my life and makes it rather incomplete. My attempts at developing personal style and being comfortable with my body is self-improvement. I also practice self-improvement when I try a new recipe, when I watch the news, when I read a good book, when I seek out quality conversation with interesting people. This improves me and makes me a better person and a happier person, and, as an extension of that, a better employee, a better friend, a better daughter. If I give myself good things, I become better and then I can put good things in the world. (Heavy stuff.)

    Were I to walk around saying “Damn I look hot today” then I’d worry that I was becoming vain. :D I might feel hot to trot one day or think that I’m a sparkling conversationalist but I’m not going to say that. Do I hope someone will notice that? Sure! I also think vanity involves judgment–judging yourself and judging others–and setting impossible standards, again both for yourself and for others. I understand that just because I’m at the point on my personal journey that I want to look nice, doesn’t mean that EVERYONE feels that same way. It’s not up to me to start pushing my opinions on others. If I think someone looks great, I will tell them. If they ask me for my opinion, I will offer it (kindly) but if I’m running around around spewing advice and criticism, well then I’d wonder who made me princess of the planet?

  • http://www.fashionherald.org/ Fashion Herald

    I love it when I’m walking down the street in New York City, and it’s always the men that are checking out their reflections in the windows! Never fails, every time, always a man. But I don’t mind a little vanity in Midtown businessmen, it certainly entertains me!

  • http://www.geekthreads.blogspot.com Audi

    I wonder sometimes how often confidence is mistaken for vanity. I can see how someone who doesn’t take any interest in makeup or grooming or fashion might perceive someone who does as vain. To me vanity is a hollow obsession with (and also generally an overestimation of) one’s own looks; however, having the confidence to embrace your style and your appearance and even your flaws might present itself in much the same way to a casual observer.

    I agree with many here who’ve stated that vanity is probably very rare — if nothing else, someone who is truly vain would probably go to great lengths to hide it, given how despicable a trait it’s deemed to be. What’s interesting though is that the slavish addiction to beauty products, shapewear, cosmetic surgery, etc. that some might consider the pursuits of the vain are actually a natural result of the self-loathing that is all to prevalent in our society. Which goes back to Dru’s comment about vanity actually being self-loathing in disguise.

    And now this comment has become so circular that my head hurts. Sorry if yours does too.

  • meg

    This is a great conversation starter post, and this issue indeed has many facets. Caring for oneself is important. Disciplining your mind to not indulge is self-deprecating dialogue is priceless. Finding a gorgeous pair of shoes on super sale can be thrilling. But there are also things in life that cause all of these things – important thought they might be – to fall by the wayside. I remember perusing a few blogs while trying to fathom news that a dear friend had cancer, and at that moment outfits posts just felt so trivial. And a few Fridays ago while reeling from the news of Japan’s catastrophes, I did consider self love to be a bit of a vanity. I think that’s ok, as long as “this feels trivial right now” doesn’t move to “people who care about these things are so vain.” There is a big difference.

  • http://chiralcraft.wordpress.com Laura

    My grandmother had a phrase she used – “proud, in a good way.” She was religious, a pastor’s wife, and that was her way of putting a similar emotion to what you’re trying to say. Pride may goeth before a fall – an overweening, self-important pride – but a sense of pride with a small p is a useful thing, in order to take care of yourself and be proud of the things you’ve done and the efforts you make.

    It can be tricky to strike the balance between self-esteem and self-importance, but I think being aware of that tension is the first step. I don’t think of myself as vain, because I privilege other things above my own appearance, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think of my appearance at all, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t work to be pulled-together, visually and aesthetically.

    (P.S. This is what I love about your blog – that you do interrogate these values on occasion, and don’t just take them at face value like most fashion blogs do.)

  • http://brightsidedweller.blogspot.com/ Chelsea S.

    I love your definition… that “vanity” is a problem only if it’s creating a problem (obsession, for example). Also, totally agree that the act of being confident (and even arrogant) around other women and girls in my opinion does way more good than harm.

    I rembember when I was a chubby 11 year old paralyzed with self-loathing because of my body, I met a young woman who was voluptuous and full of confidence about her looks, style, personality… everything. And I was fascinated by her… and years later remember the impact that her very presence had on me. I remember thinking if SHE could be confident and happy then there was hope for me too. And seeing her flaunt her shape in a swimsuit forced me to see how she was beautiful and not skinny and therefore beauty didn’t have to mean THIN. Some may call that woman arrogant, but I call her inspiring :)

  • http://www.betterinsepia.com Ana

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don’t think I could have phrased it better. I’m actually really glad you posted this because I was thinking about exactly this recently.

  • http://madelinequaint.blogspot.com Madeline Quaint

    Great idea to write about this! You’ve given us food for thought!

    I believe that we are all entitled to be proud of ourselves, what’s more, we all should have some things to be proud about. Whether it’s our ability to bake, to write poems, or to dress well, it doesn’t matter.

    For me, style bloggers are surely not vain. They (we) all deserve to be proud of themselves (ourselves). And if someone says taking pictures of yourself every day is vain, well, let them try it too and see how many of their insecurities surface in the process… :)

  • Eleanorjane

    The old meaning of “vain” is something like pointless, ineffective, meaningless, unimportant. I think it is possible to be focussed on one’s outward appearence to the point where it’s pointless because there’s nothing pretty about a beautiful woman with an ugly soul. I think your heart/mind/soul/intellect etc. is more important than your appearence but the two very much go together and one reflects the other. As long as you’re not ONLY focusing on your appearence, I don’t think you can be called ‘vain’.

  • http://dailyclothesfix.blogspot.com/ Emma at Daily Clothes Fix

    I’ve had some people think I am vain to have a blog. It doesn’t really bother me as I think it comes from attitudes rather than behaviour and as with many things it’s hard to judge from the outside. For example, lots of people think models are vain but I tend to find that they are more likely to be insecure rather than vain.

    I agree that it’s all about balance. I think we should all be allowed to feel happy in our own skins (however we do that) without people deciding that our actions are self-obsessed.

  • http://miriammogilevsky.wordpress.com Miriam

    You’re so right! I think other women sometimes find me vain because I try not to act like I hate myself and how I look. I don’t understand why NOT being pathologically insecure makes me automatically…what? Pathologically secure? Whatever.

  • http://www.amidprivilege.com Lisa

    I don’t find you remotely vain, Sal. I have no doubt that your posts are all in the spirit of serving others, and your deeply held values. The opposite of vain, really. Thank you.

  • Lydia

    A very powerful topic and diverse discussion. I believe vanity is perhaps being oblivious to the point of not noticing or caring about others. This is difficult to explain, and I have had to re-write this many times (I hope this makes sense).

    I don’t think a person who spends time and effort on themselves is vain. Loving pretty things, and appreciating beauty and self expression in yourself and others is definately not vain. Self confidence and pride in one’s appearance is not vain, and it is NOT frivolous to love clothes and style; sharing one’s style with others is interesting and gives us other folks ideas and confidence. None of these things describes vanity (for me). Vanity is judging these behaviours in others to point of thinking your own judgement or opinion is ‘right’ — to me, this illustrates obliviousness I hope this makes sense.

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  • http://skywalkerbeth.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth Anderson

    I remember when I was about 17 or so, full of self loathing, unsure of anything about myself (and anorexic to boot) and my aunt would make very direct and cutting remarks about any perceived faults she found in me. One day she told me I was very vain. (this wasn’t the worst of what she ever said to me). Not surprisingly, I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen her in the past 25 years (for real). And when I do happen to see her, the same ol’ digs surface. Now they just make me smile.

  • http://wendybrandes.com/blog/ WendyB

    LOL @ HM’s anecdote about the getting-better-every-day guy. That WOULD be a nice way to feel!

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  • http://milouheesakkers.blogspot.com Milou

    Interesting post! I think that vanity is a difficult term, or at least it is difficult to determine someone as vain. What other people see or feel, are not always the emotions or feelings you are expressing yourself. If that makes sense ;)

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  • ann

    I think that vanity is when somebody thinks themselves better than somebody else because s/he looks a certain way that the other person looks differently. I think it’s as simple as that. When one judges oneself as “better” than somebody else because of how s/he looks in comparison to the other, that is vanity.

  • http://kafkatokindergarten.blogspot.com/ Che
  • http://wayycher.blogspot.com Rachael

    Thank you so much for this post, I was called vain by somebody and am so pissed but luckily I read your post! Could tell them to shut up now.

    Rachael

  • parveen

    in my opinion vanity is not good because the GOD doesn’t like vanity
    according all religion vanity is not good