Cosmetic brand MAC was given both praise and hate last week for posting a photo on their Instagram which showed a few upper lip hairs on a model that was advertising a new lip pencil. While some championed the reality of the photo, others said that MAC could have easily afforded a facial wax for her.
When I looked at the photo, I didn't even see the few hairs at first. I was much more focused on the pristine condition of the lip pencil and its beautiful brown shade. I don't use lip pencils, but the photo made me want to try it. I only noticed the hairs because the article I was reading told me where to look for them.
So to the people who jumped on those few upper lips hairs: get over it. Women have hair all over their bodies, from their legs to their faces, and sometimes it isn't perfectly shaved or waxed off. We're real people. The model in that Instagram photo is a real person. Part of being real is not being perfect, even on social media, where we often filter away our imperfections to the best of our ability. Why are you so bitter that this time a cosmetic brand didn't? Do you hate reality that much?
Also, any photo taken that close to someone's body is bound to show hair. Even the peach fuzz underneath lips and on cheeks can be seen on close-up photos of the human body. Because, again, that's what an actual person looks like. That's reality.
To MAC: thank you for showing the reality of women. Thank you for looking at a photo and deciding that it didn't just sell your product, it represented the faces of real women. If the next model is perfectly shaved, I don't mind. Plenty of women wax and shave every unwanted hair off their body because they like how it looks. We need to keep those women valid too because they also display what's real— that every woman likes to look a different way. We are not all the same.
To the cosmetic brands that filter everything away: we're tired of it. Women want to see our realities on display, from Instagram to Times Square. Leave in wrinkles and freckles and moles and hair. Give us different skin colors and skin types. Let us see big foreheads and little lips and weak cheekbones. Show us people with skin conditions, from eczema to vitiligo. We want to see what normal people look like in your products.
What would the world look like if all of you cosmetic brands started advertising with real, normal people? What would it be like to call every type of woman 'beautiful' because of the diversity of your ads?