If you watched the VMAs on August 28th you hopefully saw Alicia Keys and her stunning, makeup free face on the red carpet. If you were also following along on twitter like me, you also saw the hate transpiring around Keys and her choice to continue her makeup free movement.
Tweeters from near and far came to criticize Keys and her choice to not wear makeup to this star studded event. Of course while her fans and supporters of the movement also showed up to the party to praise her, the hate piled on thick (much like the foundation most women cake on their face on a daily basis, yeah I went there). Most felt that the whole movement was a sham and Keys was being fake about it and that there was no way she wasn't wearing makeup. Others started to give her makeup tips telling her she looked like a mess and to at least put on some concealer
A lot of these comments came from women of all ages and races which absolutely baffled me. In a country where women are constantly harassed, put down, and criticized for just about everything we do by "the man," how is it solving anything when women are criticizing each other? On a daily basis you see Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook posts telling females to embrace their natural beauty and love themselves; but then when a woman of natural beauty does so, she is attacked and told to "PUT ON SOME DAMN MAKEUP ALICIA KEYS!!!!".
The whole situation is confusing much like most of the world is today, but it gave me some things to think about my femininity and self-love.Makeup is funny to me. It's fun to put on and try different looks when you're bored. But when you actually want to wear makeup, it becomes too time consuming and for some reason you are never able to achieve the same smoky eye you did when you were just experimenting one Saturday afternoon. I'm guilty of being a makeup hoarder which is odd because 5 out of 365 days I actually wear full makeup. Then about 15 out of the remaining days I'll put on some mascara and blush to avoid looking like a zombie. All the other days I am makeup free. So this movement Alicia Keys is starting has been my life for the past 22 years. Growing up I was very girly - playing with makeup in the bathroom, putting too much on and facing the horror of having to wipe it all off, and then having to take a shower to try and get the foundation that was too dark for my skin to wash off. My mom never actually taught me how to wear makeup. She always said "You are naturally beautiful. You don't need any". But of course after begging and pleading for me to try the free eyeshadows and mascara from Estee Lauder, she caved in and allowed me to experiment and was always reminding me less is more. Which is partially why when my friends talk about contouring and lining and finding the right color of some sort of brown liquid, I am totally confused. Watching people get their makeup done at Sephora or Mac is VERY interesting to me because in 30 minutes someone can look like a knock-up version of Kardashian. Suddenly they feel powerful although they had the same power when they walked in because they were just as equally gorgeous, if not more without the makeup.
I am in no way bashing makeup. Like Keys had said she has no problem with makeup and people wearing it, she personally chooses not to wear it and I feel the same way. Makeup is fun. If my friends want to experiment on my face with different looks, I'm totally cool with that. But personally in my daily life I don't find it as a necessity which brings me back to embracing my femininity. One of my closest friends asked me a few years ago if I was a feminist in which I replied no. She was shocked and I was confused. Wait was I supposed to be a feminist because I was a female? I never really understood the whole feminist idea fully, but I did find it interesting that they burned their bras (which I would totally participate in). I think that question really sparked a fire in me and began this journey about my femininity and what it means to me to be female. I obviously know I am a girl and I like being a girl. But I was struggling on how to embrace it completely. How was I living my full potential as a woman and contributing to society? Whoa, you were just talking about makeup and now you're getting extremely philosophical. I know, just hear me out for a second. Women are criticized daily for every move they make whether it is breast feeding in public, not shaving their legs or armpits, or how they dress. It is a daily battle when really we just want to be left alone. We are fine the way we are. We are fully functioning and in no way need your opinion. But how was I supposed to help women? How am I, a 22 year old woman, going to help the women around me? This brings me back to supporting Alicia Keys’ no makeup movement. This was something I could support. My first semi-feminist movement I could get on board with and I'm happy. I'm happy to stick up for women and their choices. Women have a lot of other things going on like periods, whiny boyfriends to deal with and someone criticizing them about not wearing makeup, or not shaving their legs. Live and let live. Women are beautiful creatures that must stick together, now more than ever. I'm excited to be a part of something big. Being a female is empowering. I mean we push humans out of our bodies! There's nothing more badass than that.
My message for you is to embrace your beauty and love yourself. Whether you love to wear makeup or don't, or if you're like me and are in between, just do you. While you're at it, praise those around you for living their lives the way they want to instead of criticizing and hating. Take the time to evaluate and try to understand their views instead of pushing your own. Together we can build a more happy and healthy sisterhood. As for me, I am still on my journey as a woman, and I am looking forward to whatever life throws at me.
"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." - Audrey Hepburn