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ALL eyes will soon be on the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo (although a last-minute cancellation might happen if the COVID-19 crisis is still a global health threat),

As the motto for Olympic goes — Citrius, Altius, Fortius or Faster, Higher, Stronger in Latin — the games is a celebration of greatness in sports.

I’m no athlete, but it’s always inspiring to watch the perseverance and determination of athletes, what more to witness their glorious victories.

But there is an unspoken competition that doesn’t offer medals or has a finishing line. Female athletes involuntarily find themselves in it and the competition involves beauty.

Realising this, event official partner and skincare brand SKII has taken the opportunity to launch a campaign to get toxic beauty standards out of the games. It’s called Beauty is #NoCompetition.

“Beauty can be many things – but one thing it should never be is a competition,” says brand director of SK-II Japan YoeGin Chang.

SK-II has tapped a group of athletes, such as American gymnast Simone Biles, Chinese swimmer LiuXiang, Japanese surfer Mahina Maeda, table tennis player Ishikawa Kasumi, badminton duo Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo and the Japan national volleyball team Hinotori Nippon to front this campaign.

The athletes who face the Beauty is #NoCompetitioncampaign.
The athletes who face the Beauty is #NoCompetitioncampaign.

HARSH STANDARDS

All athletes voice out their personal experiences when it comes to harsh beauty standards that they and other women face.

These women may put up a strong front but don’t let that fool you: harsh comments get to them too.

The campaign sends a heartfelt message that it’s always important to be kind to one another and that not everything in life has to be turned into a competition, especially how we look.

“In gymnastics, as in many other professions, there is a growing competition that has nothing to do with performance. I’m talking about beauty. I don’t know why but others feel as though they can define your own beauty based on their standards,” writes Biles in an Instagram post.

She adds that she feels tired about how everything in life is turned into a competition and that nobody should tell others how beauty should or should not look like.

Meanwhile, part of Maeda’s message reads: “Getting ready for the biggest competition in my life – the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. I’ve come to realise there is one competition that I have never looked forward to but always find myself in. This is the one competition I have never won. Beauty. In this competition, I am judged on how I should look, act, behave, versus other surfers, athletes, women. Why should I play by these beauty rules?”

The message is clear, that despite them competing in the biggest competition of their lives – they’re far from interested to be a part of this unnecessary contest.

I think the campaign is a great tool to influence others to break free from the pressure of having to look a certain way just to please the society.

This campaign makes me realise how important it is to realise our full potential and that we are more than what we appear to be.

There have been countless times in the past when an ex-boyfriend would often tease me about my dark skin. It led me to believe that I wasn’t good enough just because I don’t have fair skin like my friends.

Another message that I learnt from the campaign is to love yourself the way you are.

Here are some ways to spread the word that beauty is certainly no competition.

Japanese surfer Mahina Maeda says she never looks forward to this ‘beauty’ competition.
Japanese surfer Mahina Maeda says she never looks forward to this ‘beauty’ competition.

STOP COMPARING

When we compare, we will always be on the losing end. Being one step ahead, prettier, slimmer, fairer than others shouldn’t be what determine our happiness. We should lift each other up.

EMBRACE WHAT YOU HAVE

It is important to be grateful with who you are. When you learn to be comfortable in your own skin, you will feel confident and won’t let negative remarks bring you down.

SPEAK KINDLY TO OTHERS

What’s wrong with telling your friend she looks amazing in that new dress she bought? Compliment someone on her new haircut, or tell her how good that shade of lipstick looks. We tend to focus too much on negativity at times. Simple comments like that can make a person’s day.

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