I’ve caught myself googling this plenty of times: ‘Celebrities without make-up.’
Having suffered bad skin and rare inflammatory conditions most of my life, looking up women considered beautiful by today’s beauty standards and their suffering from a condition similar to mine gives me comfort. I understand this mindset may seem selfish, but you must understand: I hate feeling alone with this. And apparently, so does the rest of the world.
Though I admittedly feel guilt for wanting to see other women at their worst, the media seems to feel no guilt at all; constantly publishing pictures of unedited celebrities sporting blemishes and other “flaws” for self-conscious readers, like myself, to shamefully search for.
In a twisted cycle, I am one of the reasons why society obsessively pays attention to the physical faults of some of the most recognized people in entertainment. I understand that I am one of hundreds of thousands of people googling “celebrities with acne” or “celebrity weight gain,” so why can’t I — and so many others — stop searching?
I asked this to myself yet again, when I could not help myself but click on the recently leaked unedited Beyoncé photos. Though the photos date back to 2013, in less then a second I was viewing the Queen B with some blemishes and tired eyes, just like all the other “ordinary” people. And that is just the thing; they are, in fact, like everyone else’ s.
If we really needed to, we could just look at the person sitting next to us at the bus,for whenever we need to be reassured that we are not the only ones that look human. But instead of looking at the so-called average Janes, we look to the most praised and critiqued of people; which are women who are made to believe to be the “ideal.”
Women, arguably, carry the most beauty expectations than their counterpart; so when a celebrated beauty of power, such as Beyoncé, is caught with the rollers in her hair, she is then examined thoroughly. Regardless if you yourself have imperfections, to find imperfections on someone who has been so publicly renowned for being perfect, you can’t help but want to know, is this godly woman so godly after all?
This curiosity is intoxicating; we rely on someone’s bad day to better our day of unwashed hair and occasional pimple. And the worst of it all is that unknowingly, we are not just adding more beauty expectations on a celebrity and role model, we are also adding pressure to women everywhere.
Beyoncé doesn’t look as perfect as she should’ve, that day? That’s no excuse, cause Scarlet Johnson looks flawless every day. I mean, look at Blake Lively- she just had a baby and she looks great! And we’ve seen Kerry Washington without make up too! Obviously Kerry has better skin than Beyoncé. Actually, how does Kerry get her skin so soft? I should Google how to get perfect skin like hers too!
It’s just a ferris wheel of assumptions and critique. We not only compare ourselves to other women, we compare other women to other women. The age-old theory that women are jealous beings comes into play here; we’re not looking to demean our own gender, we’re just trying to be prettier than other girls, so we can attain the satisfaction of the male gaze.
Again, the importance to look flawless is overlooked by the obvious: that only leaked unedited photos out there are of women. When have we ever seen a photo of a male celebrity that isn’t unphotoshopped? Similar to the nudes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and many others, there were no leaked photos of male celebrities to be found, but no one seem to care much about that, because when we found women at their most natural, they became vulnerable target for guilt-less watchers and clickers.
I remember looking at my Twitter feed when the great photo leak occurred, browsing through celebrities I follow, like Lena Dunham and Aubrey Plaza, pleading that no one opens those leaked photos. As women, they insisted, we should not support the prying eyes of people who want to see women vulnerable and at their most private of moments.
Just like Dunham and Plaza, I plead you break the cycle of looking at photos of women at their most vulnerable. Not because we should go on our lives believing celebrities are better than us; but because the more we look at these photos, the more we add on to the universal pressure of being the ideal, gorgeous, clickbait-pleasing woman. Beauty, imperfections, sexual ventures- all of it is great, but lets stop obsessing over it.
Why add more pressures on the female gender? Haven’t we had enough of that already?