There has been an overwhelming amount of women taking part in the #nomakeupselfie trend on social media. I, for one, love this movement. It may be my favourite one to date. But as with anything where a marginalized group attempts to take a stand against the powers that be, there is a backlash.
I have seen men posting picture of themselves with comments about taking the day off from wearing make-up. There have been other women posting pictures of cartoon characters and monsters, mocking the movement. Then there are the straight up haters who blatantly call the movement a joke. Whoa people, WHOA! What are we doing here? Let’s put this all into perspective for a moment, shall we?
This movement is encouraging women to ditch the make-up, as wearing it is a societal pressure that most women feel. The issues surrounding self-image in our society is sickening. The cosmetic industry is a multi-million dollar machine. Their CEO’s are men. It goes back to this man-made ideal form of beauty. It sets a standard that we must live up to and it starts at a very young age as cosmetics are directed towards four and five year-olds. Don’t get me wrong, I like wearing make-up, I do it every day. But even as I do it, I say to myself, “it makes me feel pretty and good about myself”. I also commend the artists in the industry who can create beautiful looks with the stroke of a brush. But the basic idea behind make-up is to highlight natural beauty, make it better than it is. Fine, but natural beauty is okay too.
I see the #nomakeupselfie trend to be uniting women. To put it out there that we are confident in ourselves. That make-up is something that, as women, is forced upon us. We are recognizing this. That in itself is crucial to equality and feminism. Social movements do not happen over night, they take time, baby steps. I see this as a baby step. Equality has not been reached between the sexes. But the more we push against the world that has been created for us, the closer we get.
So, to the men taking their own selfies: you’re mocking us. With your photo, you are ignoring your own sense of male privilege. You don’t know or understand the feeling that your eyelashes are not long enough or that your skin needs blush because you look washed out. You don’t spend hundreds of dollars a year on cosmetics because you simply don’t feel good enough without it. If this were any other social movement, say a civil rights movement and black men were all taking a stand to sit at the front of the bus and take a selfie, would you, as a white person, do the same? Likely not. That is part of the problem in itself. Women fighting for equality, in any way, shape or form, is mocked. It isn’t taken seriously. In turn we are further oppressed. Support us in our movement. Tell us we are beautiful and like every photo you can. With every like is another small dose of confidence as we expose a part of ourselves that we literally cover-up on a daily basis.
To the women mocking other women: really? We all know we can be our own worst enemies at times. We are pitted against each other at a very young age. There is a competitiveness that exists between women. Who has better breasts, who has a flatter stomach, whose skin is more flawless? Hence, plastic surgery. We must unite. Every time I see another woman post a no make-up selfie, I see it as another woman who agrees that natural beauty should be celebrated. That we are more than just our looks, and we are role models for other women and girls who may have self-image issues. Remember, society isn’t just what it is, it’s constructed and created. We make the rules and we break them. I vow to join my sisters in the campaign for real beauty.
To the haters: get f*cked. Seriously. Go away. You are what’s wrong with society. You are a bully. This is not okay. Don’t call yourself an activist, a feminist, don’t say you respect others or that you’re not an ‘ist’ (sexist, racist, etc). Your word vomit is telling women, “stop taking pictures of yourself, it’s stupid, just be happy with yourself”. No. NO! It’s not as easy to just be happy with ourselves because we live in a society that constantly tells us otherwise. Don’t be part of the problem, don’t be another mechanic in the mess of the machine. Throw a wrench in it. Become part of a movement that attempts to bring to light a serious issue – body image and self-esteem.
To all of the woman who have posted themselves without make-up, I commend you. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for showing the world that you don’t need make-up to be beautiful. That underneath it all we are fresh-faced beauties. That we are confident enough in ourselves that we don’t need to hide behind a mask. We are all role models and we teach people how to treat us with every action we make. So continue to teach people that your beauty exists beyond the curl of an eyelash or the tip of an eyeliner pencil.