It’s a rarity in today’s society for a woman to feel beautiful and comfortable in her own skin. If women’s own self-conscious feelings regarding their appearance isn’t bad enough, the new trend of makeup shaming on the internet isn’t helping any. Makeup shaming is growing in popularity and is the belief that women use makeup only to impress others and to hide their natural face. Combined with the pressure to look perfect women already receive from social media and society, makeup shaming is a dangerous trend, and one that should be stopped.
Recently, a Twitter account called ‘Manstagram’ called out a beauty vlogger’s before-and-after makeup picture saying:
“This is why our first date is running a mile around the track to see if you sweat the makeup off.”
Singer Zendaya saw this post and shot back with her own tweet:
It’s comforting to see that in a world full of critics there are people willing to stand up for others. Zendaya was able to take a negative message and instead turn it into a positive one, sharing it with over 5 million Twitter followers.
The History of Makeup and Makeup Shaming
It’s hard to really pinpoint the beginnings of makeup. We see it show up in the archives of history in ancient Egypt with men and women both using it. Other times, such as during the 19th century, makeup was deemed inappropriate. It came back to popularity for everyday use during the Roaring Twenties when women began to push the boundaries of fashion and makeup. Since the 1920s, makeup has become a staple in most women’s daily routines. During the 1950s most women wouldn’t have even left their house without wearing makeup. And now in modern times the tables have turned in an unexpected way with the introduction of makeup shaming; the use of social media to make women feel guilty for wearing makeup.
To make a point about the power of makeup and shut down makeup shammers, Vlogger Nikkie from NikkieTutorials shows us half of her face with makeup and half without. In her video she starts by saying she is concerned about the trend of makeup shaming. She explains that women who wear makeup are starting to be seen negatively, as if they are using it only to impress others and hide their real face. Nikkie shows viewers that makeup is a powerful tool that can be used by the wearer for fun because they like it, and that doesn’t mean they dislike the face underneath. She says, “There are no rules to makeup.” Nikkie’s video tells women that it’s ok to love makeup and wear it everyday, and it’s also ok not to wear it because you don’t want to.
Psychological Effects of Makeup Shaming and Social Media
It seems as if the world has a double standard when it comes to makeup and the image of beauty. If you wear “too much” makeup society will tell you that you’re fake, or that you’re sending a deceitful message about the way you look. If you don’t wear any makeup or “not enough,” then you’re told you’re not pretty enough, or that you don’t look put together. With society setting an unattainable standard it may seem impossible to find a happy medium where you feel both comfortable and beautiful, without listening to what all the critics have to say.
Not only does makeup shaming deal an unnecessary blow to women’s self esteem, it can be destructive for their mental health as well. Since makeup shaming is a new direction for internet bullying it hasn’t been extensively studied yet. But when you look at the studies done on the objectification of women on social media, you’ll find that women who interact regularly on social media have higher rates of anxiety and lower self esteem. It’s clear that these unrealistic expectations built by the internet are not psychologically healthy. In a study done in Sweden by The University of Gothenburg, they found that, “women who spend more time on Facebook report feeling less happy and feel less content with their lives.” Clearly, social media can be very harmful to women who are constantly bombarded with perfectionist ideals.
There’s Hope; Finding and Embracing Positivity on the Internet
So how can we shift this trend of makeup shaming and double beauty standards? How can we teach the next generation of women and girls to love themselves for who they are and not what others expect them to be? Photographer Kate Parker has started spreading the hashtag #strongisthenewpretty, sharing the message that being beautiful comes from being strong and doing what you love. She has spread this message to others by sharing pictures of her daughters that represent their strengths and triumphs.
[image Source: Kate Parker Strong is the New Pretty]
[image Source: Kate Parker Strong is the New Pretty]
Rather than dressing them up and taking posed pictures, Kate captures moments that represent their strengths and their beauty. Her pictures capture her girls shining while playing sports, or just playing together. Kate Parker is teaching her girls and others a valuable message, that strength and inner beauty are the new pretty.
Despite the negativity about body image and beauty that exists around social media, there are still those that spread a positive message about beauty. For example, Dove’s campaign recently shared How Blind Women See Beauty; this video opens up an interesting perspective on the kind of beauty that can be felt rather than seen
Another powerful message of self acceptance comes from Cassandra Naud who refused to remove the birthmark located on her face. Rather than being ashamed of her different appearance, Cassandra is proud of it, and in sharing that message has helped others feel better about embracing their differences.
How You Can Make a Change and Fight Makeup Shaming:
One of the best ways you can stand up against makeup shaming and negative body image is to use social media as a resource to promote self acceptance. It’s human instinct to try and hide our imperfections from others, but by sharing your insecurities with others you will come to find that you’re not the only one who places themselves at an impossible standard. In reality there are very few, if any, who truly feel confident about themselves in every way.
Nobullying.com is a great resource to go to when you’re confronted with internet or cyber bullying. They offer tips that can help those who are being bullied, and those who see online bullying and aren’t sure what to do. Some of their tips include reporting the behavior to the site so that the appropriate measures can be taken. Another tip they give is to reach out to the individual that is being bullied. By letting others know that we are on their sides, and do not agree with others’ negative behavior, we can make a difference in their lives. It’s sometimes easy to hide behind a screen and forget that we are communicating with actual human beings. We need to remember that the people around us, online and in person, are dealing with struggles that we don’t understand, and that kindness and friendship can go a long way.
There is power in standing up for yourself, your unique beauty, and others, whether it’s the kind of beauty you can see or the kind that comes from inside. Embrace your uniqueness, share it with others, and maybe we can stop the trend of makeup shaming, and instead, start one that encourages others to be themselves and do what they love.
Are you looking to stand up to makeup shaming the way vlogger Nikkie did? Send us your half and half portraits and join the conversation in the comments below. Should you so choose to wear makeup on a day to day premise, or enjoy dressing things up on occasion, take a look at the items we used on our half and half portraits here at Taylor Maid.