11/20/2012 04:31 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2012

How To Be Beautiful? Follow These Instructions -- Except Not Really

Ever wondered what you need to do to be considered beautiful? Chelsea Fagan at Thought Catalog has it figured out: Just follow a huge list of seemingly contradictory advice, and you'll be fine.

Fagan's satirical essay covers some of the mixed messages women are expected to absorb and put into practice -- looking toned but not too muscular, thin but not too thin -- in order to avoid criticism from others. Makeup and plastic surgery are fine, as long as none of the "work" is immediately noticeable. Oh, and, "Your skin should be creamy and soft and, as if it even needs to be said, white."

Of course, not every woman feels pressured to comply with all of these crazy-making directives, but many can sympathize with Fagan's message about how impossible it all seems:

You should be 'natural,' because 'natural' beauty means that you are, by default, a low-maintenance and cool person. Essentially, you just look like you are photoshopped in real life at all times.

[H/T Thought Catalog]