No-Make-Up Selfies Are Not ‘Trendy’, They’re Human
I’m not saying at 29 years old that I’m on a mission to post selfies everyday, but sometimes when I take a step back, I remember how cool it is that I’ve truly and actually unlearned the habit that used to force me to post curated selfies in the first place.
I quickly realized that I used to see selfies as high pressured posts, and an easy target for my fragile self-esteem and awaited criticism from others. There are way more people in this world that choose the curated, influencer feed, and it’s pretty clear that they post new content every day, sometimes twice a day. Which boggles my mind. I can barely wash, dry and put my laundry away in the same day, how on earth can someone post reoccurring content everyday more than once a day?
Why should this matter to a 29 year old woman like me? Why should anything matter to a platform that allows inclusivity for everyone? Because I started posting no-make-up selfies weeks ago and I haven’t looked back since. This is happening after going through a year of lockdown and being real with myself for the first time. The becoming, flawed and experienced facial features of a woman who has a lot of stories to tell, who finally feels comfortable taking up space, is my identity now.
I’ve been sorting through old “photo memories”, taking more time to do my facial routine in the mornings and actually brushing my hair. This really shouldn’t have stopped in the first place, but working from home has forced me to be my completely raw and unfiltered self, and at first those parts of me were the hardest to face.
The first part of the pandemic swept the nation in fear, sadness and Instagram hashtags. The uncomfortability of being quarantined at home for long periods of time forced women of all ages to post ‘no make-up selfies’ and tag others to do the same. In fact, I remember last summer that it was trending. Normal faces trending on the internet? What could possibly go wrong? Not brushing my hair and not keeping up with brushing my teeth three times a day is not something I’m proud of, but it’s easy to let those routines go when there is no where to be and no one to impress. It seems that the pandemic has highlighted the one thing that makes us all human and deeming it a radical trend that came and went: no-make-up selfies.
It all started with the filter. Filters on Instagram are overextending themselves to paint faces in different, sizes, shapes and colors. It’s cool to try out, but I also think that it feeds into what Instagram represents: the ability to further remove us from our own realities. It’s easier to use and participate in the filtered world than living with the reality of your flaws. But when did being human be something to be ashamed of?
I used to be one swipe away from a mental breakdown using filters and using Instagram together is like mixing two substances together that chemically combust. Instagram doesn’t make you take or use filtered selfies, rather, it forces you to want to change your perception, even towards the people you know and love. If the crowd is curated, you want to be curated too. Even if we don’t like to admit it to ourselves.
It’s not the app., Instagram, that actually produces the content, but the users that participate in it. And there’s more to it than that. The pressure to make accounts completely unreal and curated to eliminate any flaws that make us all human and beautiful is what’s wrong with new and old Instagram influencers and users. If your life is filtered online, no one really has to see the real you.
I wonder when make-up free selfies became a radical trendy movement? I think it goes to say that in a world of filtered, curated and plastic surgery covered lives, that the make-up free selfie is an abomination to what has become of the photo sharing app. Just last week, a juicy story came out where headlines read: Khloe Kardashian’s team working hard to remove unwanted Khloe photo. The Kardashian mogul wouldn’t even spare one picture to be seen by the public that wasn’t filtered and that says a lot about our culture.
Currently, without my consent, I have to watch dozens of girls on my feed that serve as an eyesore to the kind of filtered garbage that comes out of social media. To tutorials for hair and make-up to home workouts from girls with tan skin and 6-packs to skinny beauties modeling fashion trends. If I see one more video about ‘what I eat in a day’ I may scream.
There’s a real magic to accounts that have dreamy content, the kind that is raw, vulnerable and unfiltered. I’m not saying we can’t differentiate real from fake, but I think it makes it harder to feel completely ourselves when our real flaws are hidden away and curated. It begs the question for why the no-make-up selfie became trendy in the first place. It designs a new development of the human condition: filtered faces, filtered rooms, filtered torsos, filtered you’s.
Is it worse now than the era of fashion magazines and supermodel features? Is this the pressure to look a certain way by women just blown up on a grander scale?
There’s a chance that this no-make-up selfies will never graduate to anything more than a ‘trend’ in social media spheres. The pandemic has just blown up this observation, it really speaks to the addictive matter of social media. As humans, we need connection. I think the pandemic has eliminated that and most have turned to social media to connect with others. I think for now, no-make-up selfies will be something I strive to post.
I’ve noticed that ‘living without a filter’ has given me a greater sense of empowerment over everything else. I’m not looking for validation, I’m just honoring myself.