Girls and women should not have to wear makeup to feel like they’re worth something.
There is a rise in popularity of YouTube and social media influencers — mainly on Instagram.
“See: pretty coffee, pretty girl, cute cat, beach trip. It’s all like that. Everyone looks like they’re having the best day ever, all the time,” says Sasha, 16, as she scrolls through her Instagram feed.
This quote was written in an article on Child Mind Institute’s website by Content Engagement Specialist Rae Jacobson. The article talked about social media and its effect on teenager’s mental health.
The article says many teens put up a facade of a “perfect” life on their Instagram feed. According to Jacobson, this often masks signs of mental illness.
In the article, Jacobson grants the merits of society and the media’s portrayal of beauty, reassuring readers that the models displayed on the pages of magazines are “just that: models.”
“My issue lies in the fact that society has normalized makeup as a natural feature of being a woman and continually stigmatizes makeup-free women,” writes Sarah Greenwald in 2015 article for FEM magazine.
Makeup itself isn’t a threat, the stigma that people who don’t wear makeup are ugly is what society needs to abolish.
In 2018, beauty vlogger Em Ford created a video titled “Redefine Pretty.” This was a sequel to earlier video she made called “You Look Disgusting.”
In “Redefine Pretty” she asked a few girls to describe their version of the ideal woman. Each of the girls said various forms of thin, Instagram model or white woman.
“In the media, that’s what’s presented to you, so you just take it,” said one of the unnamed girls.
Although the video is a little outdated, as it is nearly 5 years old, the message is still relevant today.
Ford posted a video to her YouTube channel in 2015 titled “You Look Disgusting.” Ford did not hide her acne-prone skin with makeup, instead, she went barefaced every day for 3 months.
People called her ugly and said they “couldn’t even look at her.”
In the description box of the video, Ford wrote, “One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we’re so used to seeing false images of perfection, and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards….”
Many YouTubers in the beauty community create makeup tutorials. Most YouTubers do not realize this can be harmful to their fans’ self-esteem.
By creating these videos, influencers are giving teenagers, and in some cases young children, an unrealistic standard of what it means to be beautiful and comfortable in your own skin.
Tiffany Yabsley was a 15-year-old tennis player back in 2016.
During an interview conducted in that same year by Carina Tedesco from We News, an online news source tackling issues woman face, Yabsley said she feels judged without makeup on — even during a tennis match.
According to the article, Yabsley said she feels judged when she isn’t wearing makeup.
“This is why I put on makeup before matches. I don’t want to be judged by the people watching or by my opponents,” she said.
Although there are downsides to the beauty community, there are also upsides as well, such as, entertainment from watching makeup tutorials, gaining a useful skill and having fun in general.
Sometimes, I just want to do my makeup really well, whether or not I’m going somewhere.”
It can be fun for girls to experiment with the different colours available to palette. According to the Patriot Post, “You can have a new look every day.”
Although it may be unintentional, YouTubers are contributing to toxic beauty standards among girls and women.
And that is ugly.