An article in this week’s New York Times explored the latest celebrity trend (that we covered months ago): going makeup-less. Apparently female stars have been “rushing” to post makeup-free pictures of themselves on their social media accounts. Rihanna, Snooki, and new mom Alyssa Milano are just a few of the celebrities jumping on this trend, which the newspaper seems to think is a PR stunt. I don’t agree.
Soroya Bacchus, a LA psychiatrist named in the article, says female celebrities who want to share their au naturel photos are doing so because:
“It really goes to some underlying sense of narcissism that comes across as ‘Oh, look at how humble I am.’ It’s a false sense of humility.”
Hmmm, I’m not sure I buy that argument. Sure, the pictures tweeted by stars like Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Anna-Lynne McCord, and the ubiquitous Kim Kardashian might be aimed at getting better PR, like communication studies professor Emilie Zaslow posits in the article. But isn’t it also possible that, just like regular women, celebrities are also tired of the relentlessly critical and stringent beauty standards for women in our culture? Maybe they just want to show themselves as they are, not only to look better in the eyes of the public and to connect with their fans, but to take a little bit of the pressure off, as well.
Rihanna, in particular, is notoriously open with the press. She’s kind of a bold badass on social media, tweeting whatever she thinks, Instagramming everything from sleepy-face pictures to super sexy beach shots. And honestly, I find it kind of refreshing. It’s cool to see Rihanna undone with long pigtail braids, in a picture she willingly shares herself, rather than one taken covertly by some sketchy paparazzi hack. After all, celebrities know that less-than-flattering pictures of them are going to be published, so I don’t really see the harm in taking the reins and publishing those photos themselves. Of course, we’re getting the filtered, posed, and curated version rather than the Ugg-boots-and-hoodie-in-the-grocery-store-parking-lot version, but I can’t say I mind that. It’s interesting to me to see what “natural” images of themselves famous women see fit to disseminate.
And truly, this cultural trend isn’t just limited to celebrities. I mean, I doubt your next door neighbor is posting no makeup photos on her Twitter account, but the trend towards the sharing of the mundane (“Eating this great dinner my hubby just cooked!” “Off to the gym for the third time this week, YEAH!”) on social media seems like it’s here to stay. People, including celebrities, want to share their lives with each other, and Twitter (and Facebook too, to a lesser extent) has revolutionized the way celebrities market themselves and communicate with their fans.
And if that communication includes “real” makeup-less imagery from famous women, I’m all for it. I don’t see anything bad in celebrities showing their more human sides, even if that no-makeup mug might be strategically aimed at making me see that celebrity in a more positive light. Because you know what? I do see a celebrity willing to show that side of themselves in a more positive light.
Photo: Rihanna/Instagram, Supplied by WENN.com