“Kim Kardashian with no makeup? Oh no!” The words dropped from her lips like bombshells hitting the floor and unearthing truths kept secret from eons ago. Yes ladies and gentlemen, once again, Kim Kardashian and a host of other celebrities have been sighted out in public without wearing any makeup. As I scanned this woman’s items and processed her credit card transaction, I focused on the absolute horror on her face after she encountered the latest Entertainment magazine on the newsstand. Normally when I’m working at the cash register in the store where I am employed part time, I pick up on the chitter-chatter of customers as they discuss the day’s news and highlights. Over the last couple of weeks, all the talk has been about the striking contrast between what celebrities look like with makeup and without. As a man, I know I may be traversing into dangerous territory here, but these are reactions coming from women that I’m reporting on, not men.
Some of the women seemed to accent their comments about the less than flattering photos published in the magazine of these celebrities with a tinge of satisfaction. Others didn’t hide their delight in remarking about how awful the celebrities appeared in print. And some seemed to emote empathy. To make the distinction clear, these were not photos of celebrities who made a conscious decision to pose for a photo shoot without wearing any makeup. On the contrary, they were photographed without their consent, without prior knowledge, going about their daily routine. That, to me, seems to be a little unfair. Yes, these women are celebrities, and they have to know that every time they step out of their doors, the paparazzi are waiting for them with cameras in hand, drooling at the opportunity to catch them in awkward situations. Yet these are also people who market their brand name and build their images, in addition to their talent, with the help of airbrushed imaging and digital photo enhancement. And as women across the world flip page after page in beauty/style magazines, they are constantly bombarded with these images and often succumb to the pressure of feeling like they must conform to this carefully crafted, hyper-glamorous, wholly unattainable standard of beauty.
I often hear women complaining about how all men are dogs, or about how all they care about is sex. I hear them asking: “Why can’t I find a man who values my mind as much as my body,” and “why don’t men pay attention to my personality as much as they do my physical appearance?” I guess my retort would be to ask: do you spend as much time on developing your personality as you do on applying your makeup? And I only say that because, as men, we can be totally overwhelmed when first meeting a woman by smokey eyes, infallible lipstick, sparkling, shimmering, candy-like glitter, rosy-rouged cheeks, eye-liner, foundation, voluminous mascara, longer, thicker eye-lashes…etc. (Please excuse me for thinking about sex slightly before I think about your personality). Now that doesn’t excuse men who may treat you like a piece of meat rather than a human being with thoughts, emotions, desires and opinions. But it does create quite a challenge for us men to shut off all of our physical sensors and concentrate solely on “the inner you” when we are equally bombarded, as you are when you flip magazine pages.
At the end of the day, what a woman does to her face, whether she’s a celebrity or not, is her business. Regardless of her social status and use or non-use of beauty products, she should be treated with dignity and respect. And regardless of what men think (or other women for that matter), a woman should always realize her own worth and beauty, inside and out. I’m of the opinion that we can do without a world in which magazines publish pictures of people without their prior consent, for the purpose of either fueling gossip, embarrassing them or tarnishing their image. But I also think we can do without a world in which our teenage girls contemplate suicide because they’re picked on in school for not being “pretty enough,” or feel that they just can’t measure up to what they see in magazines. Then maybe we can build a world in which people are accepted for who they are, no matter what they look like. What do you think?