I read an article this past week about a woman that posted a photo of herself on Instagram. This isn’t breaking news, considering we are indeed in the age of “selfies.” However, this particular photo stood out to me. It was a before and after of a woman’s makeup transformation and the difference in the photos was incredible.
20-year-old, Ashley VanPevenage had an allergic reaction to her acne medication, causing her face to swell. She called on a friend (who happened to be a makeup artist) for help. She was so impressed by her friend’s cosmetic application, that she decided to share it with the Instagram world. Unfortunately, not everyone on Instagram shared her excitement. Some people were cruel and posted mean, derogatory remarks in the comment section. One of which included a male suggesting the photo is “the reason why you gotta take a ‘explicit’ swimming on the first date.” Another male suggested that the makeup is what makes him lose trust in women, because they cover up their faces so “we don’t see the real ugly that’s underneath.” Ashley’s reaction showed her discontent, “After this picture was posted and I read all these comments, I lost confidence, I didn’t like going out in public without makeup or without my hair done.”
I hope I’m not alone in saying that the comments sparked anger inside of me on multiple levels. As a fellow woman, and a mother of two daughters, I fear the rise of expectations for the “beauty standard” has put extra pressure on women. These unrealistic “standards” are resulting in a decline of self-esteem in women! I continuously remind myself and my daughters that we are perfect the way we are and need not rely on other’s acceptance to feel self-worth. Confidence can be a difficult life skill to willingly accept, but when we pursue it, we can find ourselves on a path to self-acceptance! When bullies come knocking, SLAM THAT DOOR! Don’t let the taunting of a few create stress in your daily life and tear down your confidence! I encourage all women to stand up for yourselves and one-another, realizing that we are all special and beautiful!
Shortly after the negative comments she had received, I found that VanPevenage posted a response, stating “...I realized that isn’t the person I am and people’s opinions don’t matter to me, and they shouldn’t matter to anyone. Everyone should feel beautiful in their natural skin. It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside of your face, the only thing that matters is who you really are.”
This whole idea brings me to a more uplifting story I remember reading a while back, about a woman named Sonia Singh. Sonia would collect dolls at local shops and give them a “makeunder” by removing their overdone face paint and repainted them in a more natural and realistic way. She has also made her own conservative clothing for the dolls, completing their “makeunder.” This idea originally began as a way to “swap glitz ‘n’ glamour for down-to-earth style” for her own daughters to play with. However, it has blossomed into a market on Etsy named “Tree Change Dolls.” Women are supporting Singh in her journey to promote natural beauty.
We can’t change people’s perspectives or attitudes, but we can change how we look at ourselves. I hope that we can all learn a great lesson from these articles to not just appreciate, but love and cherish the skin we’re in!