Image via bybrookelle on Instagram
Disclaimer: Make up is a creative outlet and you should do to your face what you want. However, I am arguing my personal specific point of view and my opinions are my own.
When I was going into 6th grade my mom took me to her Mary Kay consultant and bought me some make up. I thought it was pretty cool that my mom encouraged me to use a little make up because a lot of girls at school had to hide their make up from their moms. From that day on I have worn makeup, but I haven’t always loved it. I used to wipe the skin tone, shimmery eyeshadow off of my eyes in class because I felt like I was wearing too much make up for a 12-year-old. I like to think things were simple back then. There was no Instagram.
I’m going to just come out and say it…I don’t like Instagram make up. I think in theory it could be an amazing way to teach girls to love who they are and how to enhance what they have. But instead, I see that it is ruining society by contributing to the negative impacts of social media on young women.
People will argue that they wear this make up because it makes them feel confident. I believe that true self-confidence comes from being comfortable with your flaws and learning to embrace them. It doesn’t come from masking those flaws with a lot of make up. That’s like putting a Band-Aid on a huge open wound.
First and foremost, Instagram is not real life–even if real people are behind the camera
These make up looks are creating unrealistic expectations because they are perfected by good lighting and flattering angles. In person they look, dare I say, drag queen-ish because of the sheer amount of product on the face. Fun fact: contouring, highlighting and baking are all techniques used by drag queens who performed on stage. So women are using make up techniques that were created for stage-performing men trying to look like women. Can we just let that sink in? Women are putting that on their face. Not to mention that make up moves and melts off throughout the day, so that make up might only look that #flawless for an hour. One of my favorite professional make up artists put it really well when she said that there are pretty elements in these make up looks, but all together it becomes too overwhelming.
Instagram make up robs us of our individuality and and creativity by telling us to look the same
For the most part Instagrammers all use the same techniques and do the same variation of one look (image via Miss Betty on YouTube). Full coverage foundation, contour, highlight, brown smokey eye, dramatic winged eyeliner, fake eyelashes, big eyebrows and mauve liquid lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love make up. However, I have to draw the line when it is being used to completely change our faces instead of polish them. This article explains a little bit more about the “sameness” of Instagram make up. Make up is at its best when it’s used as a tool to further express who you are. Last time I checked we aren’t all this girl. But if we’re telling people this is the beauty standard, an unrealistic one, we are setting them up for self-esteem issues when they can’t live up to the expectations.
Remember the “take her swimming on the first date” social media craze? It was popular because it resonated with people. The things that go viral are the things that resonate with people. The idea was that boys need to take a girl swimming on the first date so he can see what she looks like when the make up washes off.
We must change our thinking when it comes to the beauty standard
There is nothing wrong with applying make up. I just think Instagram is setting unrealistic expectations about something that really should have no expectations. In today’s social media society of perfection, helping girls grow true self-confidence is more beneficial than teaching them how to contour their nose. It will equip them to find their worth in who they are as a person and put an end to the perfect Instagram clones that are populating social media and beyond. I’ve found that I feel most like the person I want to be when I’m wearing natural make up, a classic outfit and talking about something I’m passionate about. It’s how I imagine Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy felt every day. And they were rockin’, successful, compassionate, kind, timeless, brilliant women. These are the women to learn something from. After all, a girl who radiates from the inside is way more captivating than a girl who radiates from her highlight.
If you want to encourage young women to be more than a made up face, I would love your support by sharing this post using the social media links below.
Holly Hoehner is a public relations senior at the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.