Many of you have probably heard about Alicia Keys starting her #NoMakeup movement revealed in a Lenny Letter. Her letter is raw, genuine and inspirational. It’s great to see a musical icon break past the barriers of societal expectations for women – especially ones for celebrities in which they have to constantly don a mask of perfection. However, I can’t help but find flaws in this well-intentioned movement.
I have been makeup-free for over three years now. First, I had to give it up due to a medical condition, and then I just decided that I was more comfortable without it. So, I’m not the type of person to find it revolutionary even when a celebrity embarks on this kind of commitment. In fact, I find it strange that we end up following, or sometimes seeking this sort of inspiration from a celebrity who probably has access to her own cavalry of skincare products, specialists, dermatologists – you name it.
Moreover, Alicia Keys is someone who probably wears more makeup on a regular basis than your average girl. Her swearing off of makeup is a little different from average Jane over here swearing off of her comparatively measly Urban Decay palette, tube of mascara and Aveeno moisturizer. When comparing this to the raw, realistic vision of women we are so proud to display on the Lala, I see an astronomical difference.
Now, Alicia Keys is not wrong to decide that it’s time to uncover. The faults I see are not to degrade her movement or hinder her intentions, but rather highlight the underlying problem that is rampant in social expectations.
You see, the element of choice is hindered with a #NoMakeup movement. Want to wear makeup? So what? Want to go without it? Power to you.
The problem isn’t the fact that women wear makeup, or how much makeup they do or don’t put on. Rather, the problem is the fact that beauty standards which are constantly set by media (often going off of what celebrities strut in the streets) are subject to change as fast as the light goes from green to red and are often hypocritical as we see a style that was shamed years ago suddenly become all the rage because a Kardashian/Jenner decided it was okay.
Going by these beauty standards, whether it is most currently to be minimalistic or caking on the makeup only takes away from what you think looks good on you, and what you think is good for you. Shaming makeup is just as bad as shaming someone for not wearing it.
Alicia Keys is taking a huge step in her life and career by choosing to put down the brushes and bronzers. However, rather than drastically changing daily routines for the sake of making a statement, women should be encouraged to embrace what is comfortable to them – no strings attached. Whatever self-consciousness or backlash that may arise from external forces should be embraced and then tossed out the window. As First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”