Weight, makeup, & photoshop shaming the new racism?

I love tumblr and have been a member for about 2 years now. I find it to be inspiring and a good outlet for my branding. I have learned a lot by coming across old images of beautiful women of the 50’s and 60’s whilst being educated by their history. However, from time to time I come across images that leave a bad taste in my mouth. Images that express hatred for women who are fat, skinny, tall, small, wear makeup, don’t wear makeup, photoshop, or don’t photoshop. Throughout history and In the late 1950’s women were becoming disgruntled with their place in society and the inability to achieve equality with men. How is it that we, as women who have evolved, now have to be concerned about our place in society against other women? When did we stop uniting and start fighting? Who are we supposed to be to be accepted in this society? Why is it that most of this shaming comes from women themselves? Do men do this to other men? Do they even care?

These are the questions that have been running through my mind lately. How can people be this judgemental and not accepting of other people’s choices? Is all this shaming a new form of racism? Have people become so religiously judgemental that they feel the need to shove their theories down our throats?

Who died and made you god?


*Disclaimer: What I love about this Dove Ad is that it celebrates women of all sizes. However, true beauty is in a person’s character and sexy is defined by the eye of the beholder.

I find it hard to believe such people exist…People who create tumblr blogs shaming women who eat to celebrate exposed bones and sunken cheeks. Or how about those “real women have curves” ads or this Dove image above (Not sure if they created it) ? I have seen commercials and support their efforts of creating campaigns that embrace women of all shapes and sizes and though I am all about celebrating a woman’s true form and I understand that Dove is just trying to send a positive message opposite to those who are pro-skinny, we do not have to join in on the shaming by saying we are better than skinny women (only in regard to the image above). Two wrongs do not make a right. Women should not judge one another based on our shape, we should unite and join hand in hand skinny or curvaceous. I grew up eating everything in my mother’s fridge and I looked like a toothpick till it all caught up to me. Could they judge me then? Could they look at me, skin and bones, always eating, and say “She must not eat”? There are so many girls and women in the world who are vulnerable to this type of weight shaming, women and children who covet eating disorders, and some who even die from it. How can people be so cruel as to be inconsiderate of those who don’t have the strongest self-esteem? This weight shaming movement is an act of self-hatred. How can they take their pain and reflect it on others knowing how it makes them feel inside? As a curvaceous woman I understand sometimes wanting to fight back and say “eat a cheeseburger bitch”. However, we need to take the higher route and educate other women to just be “Healthy”. We must sympathize with or ignore these individuals that practice self-hatred and not let them dictate or validate our self-worth. If we are not comfortable with our body’s we have to make a lifestyle change to better ourselves whether it be eating better or exercising. To say I am better than you because I am skinny/fat is like saying I’m better than you because I wear black and you wear white. Stupid right? Yeah, so is racism.


“I don’t use photoshop on my photos, I have natural beauty”. Does that response to women who photoshop their pictures make YOU feel better about yourself? It seems many woman just try to find any reason at all to discredit another womans beauty. “She’s cute but…She’s smart but..She dresses well but”. I will be the first one to tell you that I definitely photoshop my photos and you know what? I look exactly the same in person as I do in my photos. I have cellulite and stretch marks on my legs and keyloids all over my back. Shamelessly, I photoshop my keyloids out and sometimes I smoothen my cellulite along with my stretch marks but sometimes…I just leave it there. My body is the same, my face is the same (unless I acquire a huge zit lol), and no one can tell me I look any different aside from the minor changes I make to my photos. Does any of this mean I do not love myself? no. My friends will tell you that I am extremely confident. I do not walk around in sweaters to hide my keyloids, I am not afraid to wear shorts that expose these thunder thighs, and I just embrace who I am to the world outside of the computer. It is MY CHOICE to put out images I feel comfortable with on my blog. I don’t feel like I should have to explain what keyloids are to thousands of my viewers. I understand that some women take photoshopping to a whole other level completely morphing themselves into entirely unrecognizable people, but shouldn’t that be a reason for us to be sympathetic that they haven’t discovered that they don’t need so much of it? I do agree that magazines have created body image fiascos and practice extreme photoshopping so to that aspect I understand photoshop shaming. 95% of the time they are changing more than just a few blemishes like body shapes, skin tone, and even hair color. I just saw a Christina Aguilera AD that had such terrible noticeable photoshopping that I was blown away by how it even made it into the magazine.I mean, the girl looks like a Sims character in her perfume Ad on the right but look at how beautiful she is (not photoshopped) on the left. Why did the photo editor feel the need to change her entirely? Whoever she hired needs to be fired.

Just recently this whole “Not photoshopped” shaming reached the blogosphere and I want to commend them on trying to send a positive message because I get it. I understand that they do NOT have negative intentions and I do not have anything against them. However, I do not believe (as bloggers) that they will or have been avoiding photoshop and whether they do or not, does it make them better than those who do? I just think people need to understand that sometimes a positive message can be condescending. I embrace the hell out of my body, does my moderate use of photoshop make me less of a person? This is can be misconstrued as another form of prejudice and it’s like these makeup shamers who are preaching “I look better than you because I don’t wear makeup”.


“Girl’s who wear makeup are insecure. I love myself for who I am and I don’t need makeup to feel beautiful”. Really? Do you want a biscuit? Do you want a trophy because you avoid the makeup section at your local duane read? Well congratulations! So I guess this means makeup artists all over the world who love makeup and the art they can create with it are just insecure right? I find it crazy that makeup artists have created careers based on such a lack of self-esteem (sarcasm). Does a person have to paint on a canvas to be considered an artist? Does it offend you that they like to be artistic in the form of makeup? Is it so preposterous that I, like many other women, use makeup to enhance the face I already love? Exactly. Don’t want to wear makeup? GOOD for you but don’t parade around about it like the world owes you some medal of honor. That’s like saying “I am better than you because I don’t care about what I wear everyday”. Ok, want to look normal? that’s great but that is your personal choice. That does not validate who is better than who. I only believe makeup is a problem when it is used in excess. Just like photoshop, I feel everything should be done in moderation. I believe it is a problem when you feel you HAVE to wear makeup to be beautiful and yes that is a problem many women need to address but to assume we are all lacking self-esteem because we wear makeup is judgemental and another form of prejudice. We are ALL beautiful the way we are and we all have a choice. Makeup is not/should not be mandatory. Makeup should be fun and used only to enhance who we already are. If you embrace yourself, learn to embrace other people and their choices. Stop preaching self-hatred by practicing anti this and anti that.

I think as women we need to be PRO-HEALTH and PRO-CHOICE and UNITE as WOMEN. We need to encourage positive body image by celebrating all types of women and the choices they make for their “own” lives because that is not our business or our right to judge them.

I want to say thank you to all of you who take the time to support and not judge me, those of you who see me and understand me for who I am versus what I look like. I am not perfect and never will be and I am ok with that 🙂 ❤



45 Comments on “Weight, makeup, & photoshop shaming the new racism?

  1. brilliant. absolutely amazing. i have been angered about this issue this entire week. you really covered all bases with this and I can’t wait to share this with everyone tomorrow. bravo

  2. Lol, the willy wonka picture is hilarious. I just stumbled upon your blog and I like you already. I agree with you. I do not believe anything is wrong with makeup, jewelry, etc. to enhance a woman’s beauty. As a muslim, a person is only better by their character. God’s creation is beautiful. I will keep myself up to date with your unique way of fashion.

  3. this is SUCH a great post! I had the same thoughts about the Dove ad; if people were to complain about the VS models, then I could be slightly upset about Dove NOT celebrating naturally thin girls! I too never photohop (basically I’m too lazy and computer illiterate) but I rarely shame or have a biased towards those who do or don’t.

    again, GREAT post! ❤

    XO Sahra

  4. This was a very good post. You addressed everything perfectly, but you did ask the question (hypothetically perhaps) if men did this same thing. Since I am a guy (barely), I can attest to this and verify it does happen…a lot.

    I think men are just as much victim to the same judgment as everyone else and do lash out against other men. We beat each other up over many of the same things you listed. It’s sad really. Instead of people letting other people be the way they are, we all impose these very narrow and limited ideas of how everyone should be. The all wondrous myth of being singularly ‘perfect’ is unachievable.

    Plus, for me, I’m a crossdresser. I get the judgment from every direction. I have men and women who act like I’m a freak and that I need to man up. Then, there are others who support me and think all men should be in touch with their feminine side. Again, it’s a ‘this or that’ situation, as you wrote about. Why can’t it just be both? Of course though, because of people like yourself, I think the world is changing and coming out of this dark age.

  5. AMEN. I’m so over this double standard, triple standard, whatever the fuck it is marketing cloaked in “feel good” bullshit. I feel the same way about my body, and have no qualms about using Photoshop to mask what I don’t like–which is minimal, because I work hard on my self esteem and my body. Sometimes I wish I could hide completely from marketing because it makes my eyes hurt from rolling them.

  6. fantastic post. tumblr does seem to have extremes of everything, there are some great blogs on there that are all about embracing who we are and what we look like and that we shouldn’t feel bad about our weight/appearance/body hair. one of my favourite pictures from tumblr is this one: http://theconfidentwomanproject.tumblr.com/post/13661489427 this idea that only real women have curves is bullshit- real women are those who identify themselves as women

    as for photoshop, i agree, in moderation its good [small blemishes, that bit of hair that didn’t do what i wanted it to] but using it so much that a person becomes unrecognisable and in advertising, unrelatable is a big no-no

  7. Okay so i’m not the only one who thinks this is all a form of ” you’re not good enough” either way. That VS/Dove picture has been rubbing me the wrong way for weeks, and while i know a few bloggers who are part of that “not photoshopped” campaign I still don’t agree with it. I think that woman come in all shapes and sizes and as someone who is curvy, plus, I am only concerned about my health, and once I reach my health goals i’m fine with whatever my body looks like because i’m fine with it right now the way that it is, but it’s showing me that it’s not healthy so i have to change it to live a better life.

    I’ve come across a ton of blogger who are being insulted like it’s going out of style over the silliest things, over having natural hair or choosing to get it permed, weight, skinny/plus, and even going so far as talking about shapes. IT’s sickening and I’m not sure what it is, but this has been a trend since social media really got huge and everybody has access to everything and everyone.

    thanks for writing this, because it really is the truth.

    • The hair thing has gotten totally out of control. I wore my hair permed for years and now it’s not. No big deal. There is nothing wrong with straight hair whether you choose to press it or perm it. It’s not my business what other women do with theirs. The same with makeup. My sister is a makeup lover. I would never classify her as someone who hid behind it or didn’t feel beautiful without it.

      I agree that social media is a huge part of the problem, but I think the number of “support” blogs and tumblrs for various things have changed tone and intent and have become platforms to be vicious.

      • totally out of control, and as someone with natural hair, I personally don’t care what anybody does with their own body it’s none of my business, I’ve heard it all from these strict naturals who look down on others, and it’s like all of that energy can be placed somewhere else instead of worrying about others, live and be happy with your natural hair, and leave others alone. I get that some are passionate, but be passionate about yourself, and leave others out of it.

  8. I love this well said jazzy seriously because I am a Latin woman who gets her eat on I have jelly rolls and the occasional blemish here n there and I’m still beautiful. society says skinny is good chubby or pleasantly plump is bad make up is good make up is bad if you listen to all this crap you wouldn’t even know aether to leave the house or not. I feel that women have been brainwashed by the nonsense and I guess that’s where the hate for other girls comes about its sad there is no more girl power I mean there is but not as much. I’m liking this post soooooooo muchhhh I like what your saying to woman of al shapes colors etc… love n embrace yourself nobody is better than anyone your just different.

  9. So funny I knew a photographer who was doing a project on how women use makeup as a crutch. How strange it was to him that women couldn’t feel pretty without makeup and all the extra accessories that come with being a woman. I tried to explain to him that most women are not like that. I can feel just as beautiful with out makeup as with. Its just different. To me make up is about changing how you feel and look, not about who you are. Great job on the article VV!

  10. I don’t think that someone being proud of not photoshopping themselves necessarily means they are judging anyone who does photoshop. I think they are just making a statement about their choice, and their choice alone. Non?

    • Granted, it is their choice but what if I wore a shirt that said “Not fat” or “Not Skinny”. “not photoshopped” is a way of saying “I am natural and you are not”. I do respect their choice and I do understand that they have no cruel intentions. I am just stating that sometimes these things can have a negative affect instead of a positive one. Thank you for your comment ❤ XO

  11. I agree with a lot of the things you said here but I also happen to think that a lot of what is happening now that you refer to as “weight & photoshop” shaming is people trying come to terms with themselves. In the western world a tall white thin body is the ideal and these sort of things pop up on tumblr and the internet to say no they are not. And that the perfect body, perfect face perfect anything is an unattainable goal that you shouldn’t be reaching for. The goal should be love yourself but a lot of people have a hard time doing that when every image that is idolized in our society is so far away from what they look like. I read this today and it is what made me come back here and comment : http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/kate-upton-is-fat-why-im-tired-of-competing-with-other-women/

    It has a lot of the same sentiment of what you are saying but I think we need to also point out that the photoshopped images of very thin models has over saturated our media and is causing this backlash. Maybe the backlash is grossly misguided … but there has to be SOME alternative view to what we see every day. I think no one teaches people to love themselves because there is a multibillion industry that depends solely on people hating themselves so that they will buy that product, magazine, diet regime, whatever … that will make them feel better and look like the people they see in the ads.

  12. I am a firm believer in always trying to look my best. I don’t photoshop my pictures on my blog, but I don’t post unflattering pictures of myself. I can’t pretend to understand all natural girls who don’t wear makeup and don’t take care of themselves. It is foreign to me. I do think there is a certain empowerment to looking good, because it makes you feel good too. When I am having an off day and I don’t do anything with myself I feel like a slob. Why would I choose to feel/look that way when I can take a few minutes to put myself together?? So I admittedly do not understand women who, in my opinion, ‘give up’. That being said, I do not want to make anyone feel bad about themselves. I just think that women should be empowered to try and look their best no matter what size they are, or if they have acne or cellulite or scars or whatever! Just because you don’t look like a Victorias Secret model does not mean you can’t look fierce!

  13. Great post! I cannot agree enough. As women we need to band together, accept and celebrate our individual choices, not berate each other for our differences. Being different is what makes us beautiful. Life would be boring if we were all the same.

    More women need to read this post.

  14. I loved this post! Just amazingly written and well thought out. I think everyone needs to read this.
    Keep it going! XD

  15. This is all right on. But I feel like you have now used up your allotment of the word “shame” as a verb in any form (especially “shaming”) for the year.

  16. There was so much validity throughout this entire post….as always you never fail to bring light to a concern whether it be culturally / politically related or intriguing us with your sense of fashion ; ) …..hopefully this will bring awareness to those women who see opposite of your views & encouragement for those who struggle with self-esteem….well said my dear niece Xoxoxo; *

  17. Just found your blog via the Sourpuss giveaway, and this post sums up my sentiments on the subject exactly. So dead on. It’s like “reverse racism” (except about body size, body image) sometimes. The Dove campaign annoyed me, despite the positive intentions. And there was that picture floating around the internet comparing Keira Knightley and Marilyn Monroe, saying that Marilyn was obviously sexier because of her curves. It’s just not helpful – none of those things truly promote the right message. I know quite a few people who feel ashamed of being “too skinny” the way some women feel ashamed of being “too fat.” I have had acquaintances berate me for my size, since I “must not eat enough” even though I eat more than them.

    One day, a team of us at my former workplace went to a group lunch, and I was very, very stressed about some personal issues that week, so I wasn’t hungry (which happens to be my body’s response to stress). I said so beforehand and didn’t eat much. My manager would not let it go, insisting that I must have some disorder. She would mostly work off-site and every time she called she would ask my senior if I had eaten that day. Completely inappropriate and very embarrassing. Things like that are not okay. If she had called every day and asked whoever answered to make sure a larger staff member didn’t overeat that day, that would be considered outrageous, but somehow it was okay because she was pointing out the opposite.

    Anyway, I am done with my longwinded message – I just wanted to thank you for writing this. I will certainly share it on my facebook and my blog.

    – Your newest follower. =)

    • I’ve had this reaction to being thin, too. It’s like people feel it’s okay to point out your thinness and joke about it because you must not be insecure in any way. I have since had children and still not gained much weight, but if I’m having a bloated day people can’t WAIT to comment on it. It’s more annoying than hurtful, but if I complained no one would take me seriously anyway.

  18. wow. what a powerful personal essay. so far this is definitely one of my favorite posts that you’ve written. thanks for sharing.

  19. OMG THANK..YOU..O_O lol
    Not only do I use photoshop for my art, but I use it for my work in design, and I am so tired of people bashing it on some “natural beauty” bs. I also used to be a tom boy all my life and have only recently embraced makeup/fashion–which has changed my outlook on so many things.
    I love how we can find art everywhere, with ourselves, what we wear, and what we do. It’s self-expression, that’s it!
    It’s the publications/media who are sending out skewed bodies and false representing them as the only beautiful thing out there that is wrong, but then again if we all know thats not what they look like, why are so many STILL complaining? o_O
    Someone once posted those “real women have curves” pictures and I responded with “all women are real women” and got so much crap for it, and I’m a thick girl, I could jump on the train, but I have sense lol.
    Working towards and being a better you is a lifelong process…I’m a friggin hippie man, less judging and more love people..MORE..LOVE!
    *…and exhale.* lolol

  20. Amen, sister. I think you nailed it when you talked about respecting other people’s choices. You can’t please everyone, so why not make the choices that reflect you at your best? Do what feels right for you, and respect that what’s right for you may not work for someone else. Physical appearance is only going to get you so far anyway–after that, if you can’t carry on an intelligent conversation and treat people with respect, you’re doomed.

  21. I agree with most of what you wrote. Makeup and photoshop is as touchy a subject these days as gun control and same sex marriage. I totally agree beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am a freelance , Glamour, Beauty Fashion photographer. I see it first hand everyday. I use photoshop as a color correction or development tool as photolabs did with film. I encourage the models I work with to go easy on the makeup because thats what I prefer. I dont add in makeup either. I rarely body scult in photoshop unless I see a bad body wrinkle from as pose that needs to be fixed. The one thing I do hate about photoshop is when I am looking for a model to work with, how much of her in the image is real her in her portfolio. Its sometimes a challenge to find the right model who is a natural beauty (not a comparison to skinny or heavier model) Photoshop from my side is all about what do you want people to see in your photos. Photoshop and makup is about distractions, it can be used in a good way or a destructive way. Photoshop also helps remove a bird or tree branch, or unwanted shadow from an image. And as far as makup, im a guy I dont wear it. But I understand its role especially in a womans life. I say this all the time, makup is used to sell or enhance a feature like salt in a meal. When used properly everything “tastes” good,but too much and your focus is now the makup and not the eyes or cheeks. My rule is, if you see the makeup before you see the person then there is too much makeup. Photoshop and makeup is the way it is and the cat is out of the bag. I do think people who arent in the business of either modeling or some form of visual media should stray away from photoshoping their pictures. Not because they dont deserve to as much as models or other media, but because they dont need to. Its expected to see models photoshoped or with extra makeup because they are in the business of selling something. But everyday people should embrace who they are, we see our friends everyday and and drastic PS or makup isnt nessasary. Its todays TV shows that have influenced young minded people to feel insecure and feel they need to paint all over their faces and PS all their pics. I have a friend who I think is beautiful but she posts flawless images of herself on the web, but when you see her face to face, its not even the same person. I dont really blame the ads on TV, I blame us as people, we need to encourage that beauty comes in all forms and teach pride, self confidence and encurage against insecurities, and that all things are good with moderation.

  22. I loved it. high five women!

    The DEE-VON has spoketh…. all hail VV.

  23. A really great post!
    I found that Victoria’s Secret vs Dove campaign meme so divisive when I saw it posted on a few friend’s Facebook pages recently.
    I get that it is trying to say that natural is better, but as someone who has been skinny since I was 5 it was quite hurtful. Skinny is natural for some people too.
    Anyway, I really just wanted to say that I enjoyed your post and will be tuning in regularly from now on!
    Great stuff.

  24. This is your best article YET!!! you totally went to the heart of something that has been growing for a while now. As a former “HATER” i know for a fact that most of this “BEEF” between “Skinny” vs “Curvy” and “Natural” vs “Cosmetic” is all due to the lack of self esteem that surprising a lot of women suffer from. So many women are unhappy in their own image they hop on a band wagon almost like a hate group and hate collectively on women that they actually admire and envy. Really i think the green eyed monster fuels it all, and the “MEDIA” the sick bastards that they are feed on this envy twist it turn it and make women forget the one thing we need to hold dear if we are going to survive in this Man’s World LOVE THY SELF FIRST! we need to be responsible for ourselves make out own choices and stop turning to popular culture for every damn thing. Ladies we need to stop beefing and start preparing our daughters for the future giving them the confidence that is so darn important in today rat race. This was a great read I’m so glad i had time to catch up on my V.V

  25. Whew, you sure said a mouthful! I’m not sure its the new racism, I think its maybe good old fashioned bigotry. Intolerance, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, bordering (and sometimes going over the border) on dogmatism. I’m quite sick of it all. We all have choices, and our choices should be ours and ours alone, not up for debate. (Excepting illegal activities of course!) I’m tired of the years of defending myself from being told I have an eating disorder. Only eating disorder I ever knew was eating whatever I wanted! Diet? What’s that? And I have had to defend the Punk Glam Princess since she was a toddler. Sick what people say, they’d actually ask me if I fed my daughter! Now she’s so used to being accused of having eating disorders that it no longer phases her. Pretty sad. Its called genes, and she’s growing exactly like my husband and I did. (Sadly hitting 50 and not knowing how to keep my mouth shut for good food I have put a few pounds on, but who cares? I still like myself, my husband adores me, I’m healthy and strong, so I don’t give a flying fig!) Anticipating the same problems my husband and I had, I made sure I told the PGP from a young age that everyone is perfect. Every human being on the planet is perfect — as is. My ignorant ex-neighbor instilled body hatred in her daughter from a young age because she couldn’t come to terms with her own body. Its very sad to see a skinny little 6 year old saying they need a diet, yet it happens all the time because we don’t teach children they are perfect as they are. Because we can’t see that we are perfect as well. If we teach children that each and every human being is perfect as is, then they grow with self-esteem and not self-hatred. And it spreads. And they grow to be happy and healthy as they are. And then hopefully the bigotry dies down as we learn to love ourselves as we are meant to be. Okay sorry, didn’t mean to ramble… just so tired of the whole “shaming” thing, it really has become a new form of acceptable hatred. XXX Suzanne

      • And we love and miss you too, you gorgeous, perfect woman! XXX Suzanne PS. The PGP had me lop off ALL her hair! She looks so cute!

  26. Thank you for admitting to your cellulite and stretch marks! I am very pear shaped and I have I have them too! they don’t embarrass me at all, it makes my body unique to me, like a finger print. Only I have this dimple here, this stretch mark there! I began wearing vintage clothing because I could not find anything to fit my 29′ waist and 41′ hips! I can already tell my daughter will be shapped like me, and if i cant love my body, how can I teach her to love hers? I want nothing more for her to KNOW she is as beautiful as I think she is. So glad you have the exposure to make these statemenst! More people need to say it, and more people need to listen.

    Love your blog!

  27. I love this post… Just recently I relaxed my hair again and received such a backlash from the “natural” hair folk around me that it was just shameful. As a black girl its really sad cause I don’t fit into the “video vixen” mold or the “mixed girl” mold and I feel out of place sometimes but I don’t understand why it has to be 1 or the other why can’t we just be who we are.. Chemically processing my hair, having a weave, being natural all did not change who I am inside so what difference does dead protein make.

    Abrazos y besos
    Anna B

  28. Every single point I’ve been trying to make for a while is in your article! I’ve had to assure my boyfriend that no I’m not increadibly insecure because I like makeup- which is basically having fun painting your face. I don’t gullably buy into fashion just because I love clothes shopping to create my own unique look. Finnally, yes I get prtty skinny in the summer and no I’m not anorexic and when you see me order takeaways frequently with desert, no I must not obviously be bullemic. Thankyou so much for writing this! xx

  29. Hell yes to ALL of this! I’ve experienced various types of shaming ever since I hit puberty…body shaming, slut shaming, and like this post talks about, makeup shaming.

    At 30 years old, after a lifetime of being bullied, I’m sick of it. I used to be very thin and petite…was bullied for that. Now I’m considered “fat” at a size 10. So it feels like no matter what, I can’t win.
    I have two relatives that slut-shame me at every opportunity…they talk about my sex life and bring up my past mistakes even though I’m a grown woman who shouldn’t have to explain herself to anyone. My cousin is one of these relatives and she is one of those girls who puts down other women for wearing makeup. She loves to boast about not needing makeup, her natural beauty, etc. And years ago, a bitchy friend of hers insinuated that only unattractive people (like me) are into makeup but my cousin doesn’t need it because of her so-called “natural” beauty.

    I will admit, I have insecurities and self-esteem issues…many women do. But I feel fine without makeup so it’s not like I’m trying to hide behind it. I love mascara because it helps my eyes stand out more and putting it on makes me feel extra girly. I’ve loved lipstick since I was 14 years old. I don’t wear a lot of makeup but I love mascara, concealer, a bold shade of lipstick and a subtle “cat eye”.
    Makeup is one of the ways I express my femininity. I don’t shame others for what they wear or what they do, as long as no one is hurt. But it seems like people can’t live and let live. Like really, my lipstick is a problem? I understand that beauty is a complicated issue and that as women, we are often pressured to look a certain way. But honestly, what a woman chooses to wear on her face or body is no one’s business but her own. Most of the time I’m at home chillin with no makeup on, as the Drake song says. Liking lipstick/gloss and mascara doesn’t make me ugly, fake, or bad.

    My cousin is an aspiring plus-size model and sometimes I wonder if this is at the root of her feelings towards me. Outwardly she seems very confident, but real confidence is about letting others be themselves, instead of trying to shame them for harmless things. Last year she made a point of telling me that in one of her pictures, there was no Photoshop and no makeup involved. And in my mind I was like, “hmmm…yeah…OK”. Because I thought, who cares? It was obvious that she was indeed wearing a bit of makeup and one of the pictures had obviously been retouched to make her appear thinner and smooth out any imperfections. But once again, it was her way of feeling superior to me, like she is simply more “blessed” with looks than I am, so she doesn’t need evil tools like makeup and Photoshop. And I’m sorry but I’ve seen a couple of pictures where she is wearing bright red lipstick, so um, what is she talking about?

    I’ve never used Photoshop because I’m still not sure how it works but I’m all for women feeling beautiful…whether that is in a completely natural state or all dolled up or somewhere in between. One small point I’d like to make, though, is that I wouldn’t call this type of shaming “the new racism” because that is somewhat insensitive to actual victims of racism. It would be better phrased as a form of shaming that limits self-expression and attacks appearance/body types or something like that.
    Not trying to be rude, just saying that this type of bullying shouldn’t be equated with racism because it is a completely different issue. But yes, I agree with all of your other points. These things promote further division between women because no one wants to feel ugly or undesirable and it seems like belittling others helps some people to feel better about themselves. Some women who shun makeup (or claim to do so) are free to do just that…but it kills me when they act superior about it. Natural is fine but makeup is fun to play with.

  30. Some more thoughts I’d like to share on the subject of makeup shaming…it all comes down to the policing of female bodies and female sexuality. There is a certain relation, in some people’s minds, between a woman’s appearance and who she is as a person.
    Some people view “obvious” makeup as being slutty…to them, only natural/neutral makeup is acceptable. No disrespect to anyone who likes that type of makeup but I find it boring. I can’t wear “nude” lipstick because I like having actual color on my lips, not some dull beige that makes me look like a zombie.
    I love the creativity that makeup allows. You can be a glam pinup girl with fierce red lips and a cat eye, or rock some hot pink lipstick and teal blue eyeliner. And even if a woman is insecure about her looks or somehow wearing it to be more attractive to men, it still isn’t OK to look down on her. We all have to find our way in life.

  31. Oh yeah, some more thoughts…sorry! I believe that women who shame other women for certain things are simply projecting their insecurities. I know this isn’t the case all the time, but many times it seems that way.
    Sometimes women who engage in “weight shaming” do it because they have negative feelings about their own looks/bodies and it makes them feel better to bash the appearance of other women. I experienced a lot of that growing up, especially as a very light-skinned Black girl with long hair and back when I was much thinner. People often loved cutting me down because of their own insecurities…not because of anything I actually did or said.
    And I would say the same holds somewhat true for those that engage in “makeup shaming”. The beauty industry does profit from vanity/insecurities and yes, this is something that needs to be talked about…but I feel that some women get up on this feminist soapbox and judge other females very harshly and unfairly when they, themselves are not immune to the messages society often sends about beauty. That is being a hypocrite.
    Like I said before, my cousin is like that. She is the first one to criticize anything I do and to talk shit about me wearing gloss or lipstick, but she tries desperately to lose weight and be seen as the “hottest” girl in the room. We are both women in our 30’s so you can imagine how silly this is. I’ve never judged her for being a large woman because beauty comes in all types…but it bothers me that she (and certain others) try to put me down for who I am and what I look like.

    So putting distance between myself and toxic people, plus reading blogs like this, has helped me to try and define what beauty is to me. This blog and the comments are very helpful in realizing that I’m not alone. I haven’t seen my cousin and some other toxic people in a few years, with the exception of my stepfather. But my decision to start wearing makeup again stemmed from wanting to show people that they can’t control me…this is MY face, MY body, MY life. It is partly about creativity and self-expression, partly about defying those that have hurt me. By wearing makeup I’m actually taking back my femininity and showing them that, you know what? You might not find me beautiful, you might not like me, you might disapprove of me, but dammit, I’ve earned the right to wear lipstick if I want to.
    And to me that is bad-ass. I had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant the other night and the hostess had on this hot pink shade of lipstick that I loved. I didn’t tell her that, but I admired her confidence to wear it without caring if other people disapproved.

    I’ve also wondered if the reason some girls/women are shamed for makeup is because they don’t quite fit certain beauty standards, so it is viewed as “trying too hard” or to be more crude, “polishing a turd” (which is a horrible expression). I believe this was the case with me when I was younger. I was often seen as ugly or plain at best, so any attempt on my part to look nice or enjoy feminine things was ridiculed. It hurt more than anything.

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