People can be so fickle at times.
You realize that people tend to support what’s considered conventional or typical, as long as the person or movement they’re supporting fits into their box of beliefs…you know…what they’re accustomed to or conditioned to believe.
Then you begin to realize that the people or movement they’re supporting is doing the same thing that someone else has done…yet…that other person is being ridiculed or criticized for doing the same thing.
For years, black women have struggled with the beauty industry when it comes to appearance and body image. Oddly enough, in 2016, the struggle for acceptance is prevalent in today’s society, particularly the black communities. I’ve observed an ongoing trend with the mass acceptance of black women who fits the typical standards of beauty; fair-skinned black women that some would say look more “exotic”, with more European features.
Let’s talk about Alicia Keys and her “No Makeup Movement”. If you haven’t heard, Alicia has stopped wearing makeup entirely, including for photoshoots and performances. The good thing about all of this is that Alicia has undoubtedly helped women put away the foundation and eye shadow for them to embrace their natural beauty more often.
The bad thing about this is that not everybody looks like Alicia Keys and unfortunately, you have insensitive and shallow folks who will make you feel like you should if you plan to leave your makeup kit alone.
First, let me say this…..
Black women are all beautiful, no matter what shade we are, and no matter if we wear makeup or not. However, we have to constantly remind society of that. In a world full of insecure women and women who rely on makeup just to go the corner store, I have a hard time believing that Alicia’s movement will stick. But I digress.
People are digging Alicia’s No Makeup movement, including me. However, I can’t help but remember Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o’s ‘Vanity Fair’ feature and how a lot of us dragged them and the photographer, Annie Leibovitz, for not looking “glam”. Even the black folks went in, saying they looked “bad” compared to the white actresses who were also featured.
Images courtesy of Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair
My question is why did they look bad?
These women are the same women we see on the red carpets, in our favorite films, and on TV, yet, if they’re not wearing makeup, then these beautiful darker-skinned women look “bad”.
What if I say, these women probably don’t sit in their house, or run errands with a beat face!
What if I say these women don’t even like makeup and only wears it when working!
Because we are used to seeing Viola and Lupita made up, we are conditioned to think that they’ll look bad without makeup. I’m convinced that if they looked more like someone like Alicia, they wouldn’t receive that much criticism about how they looked.
Let’s not forget the episode of ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ when Viola’s character stripped down to her natural beauty. There were many negative comments, criticism, and memes for DAYS. I began to wonder if Viola would get as many praises as Alicia has if she started this “No Makeup” Movement.
I’ll be glad when the day comes when society stops being fickle when it comes to beauty standards. We have to stop being hypocrites when it comes to embracing one’s natural beauty.
I understand that folks have preferences when it comes to appearance, body image, etc.
I understand that folks have likes and dislikes.
But, neither one of those mean that one have to put down or undervalue others to express that.
Society has always had their one-sided perception of beauty.
I don’t know what’s worse. That…or that colorism is more dominant within the black communities.