Thoughtful Thursday – More Than Skin Deep?

a person faceToday I saw a video from vlogger Em, who has a beauty blog called My Pale Skin. She is a beauty product lover and retired model who writes a lot about makeup and different kinds of coverage. Her retouched pictures on her blog are amazing, but she has recently been posting pictures of herself online without makeup and the ‘reality’ of her skin is quite different. She made a video about the many comments she received and as I watched it, I tried hard to see her message as body positive, which it mostly is, but it also made me think of the fine line women tread in terms of being judged for the amount of makeup they choose to wear. Too much, and it’s ‘false advertising’, not enough and she’s condemned for ‘being ugly’.

It reminded me of Amy Schumer’s recent take on this issue as well, for exactly the same reason. She’s coming at it from a more humorous place, but it’s still the same thing – we are still judged for our choices and we can’t really control other people’s filters. More and more I wonder about where the line is between what we do for ourselves and what we do to get along in our visual world. Personally I enjoy a little makeup and I feel good wearing a little or a little more and when I was in the theater I loved wearing a lot, false eyelashes, multicoloured eyeshadow, glitter and everything. I never saw it as a political issue, just as a personal one, but as the feminist movement gains traction again with prominent celebrities challenging our ideas around beauty, age, makeup, weight and many other things, it seems like more of what we do is seen in this larger cultural context.

As an image consultant, I’m often asked about the makeup issue and I can’t help but come down on the side of personal choice combined with awareness of the effects of the choice. We do live in a visual world highly influenced by the media we consume. The choices we make about our appearance do affect the way we are perceived.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Too much, not enough, or just right?