Bold and beautiful, the ‘No Makeup Movement’ by Alicia Keys is not supposed to make anyone feel lesser about themselves. It is aimed at dismantling the pervading notions of beauty that unconsciously control what society sees as acceptable, beautiful and glamorous.
It’s about not being forced to do something.
It’s not a mythical issue which is being blown out of proportion; it’s true that until very lately how women were to present themselves was largely dictated to them rather than left to choice. Women’s fashion has a history of being abused as an instrument to discriminate and oppress the alleged lesser sex.
Makeup, you see, was invented as much to cover-up as it was to decorate. To make more beautiful. We need to urgently redefine what ‘more’ should mean.
Alicia Keys is precisely redefining that ‘more’. She is making a very strong statement by rejecting the notion that as a glamorous singer she doesn’t need hide behind makeup to look presentable on stage.
Scan any number of fashion and lifestyle magazines, and you will find how female musicians since the last 20th century have been the vanguards of fashion. Their outrageous and outlandish statements more than often thwarted what was seen as desirable in women, to be replaced by new norms of attractiveness.
That precisely is the problem. The human habit of norm-making.
Alicia Keys bold gesture thwarts this very trend of norm making. No, she is not ushering in a new standard of being gorgeous. She is not saying that to be really beautiful, you must give up makeup. She is not asking you to try being like her to feel better.
Rather, just like the many other musicians you have admired, she is simply going against the norm.
Whether she is Lady Gaga, Madonna, Pink or Alicia Keys, the new woman has disrupted the norms of beauty, swinging from outrageous to minimalistic to eschew the liberty of choice. To embrace one’s body and to feel beautiful the way a woman likes it.
“I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know HOW to be brutally honest anymore? Who I wanted to be? “
Alicia Keys wanted to question who she wanted to be. She wanted to be beautiful in the way she felt good in her skin, as opposed to modeling herself to industry requirements. It’s a shame how so many other female musicians still conform to standards of being sexy or pretty, carefully designing an image of ferocity than just being.
How fearless and emancipated is it actually to look like mirror images of each other?
That is probably why Alicia Keys gesture of attending to VMAs sans make-up was such a shock, she had deviated from the standards of glamor absolutely. In a business that involves being literally on the center stage under the glare of a dozen spotlights, with the focus of a million people on just you, it’s radical.
It is a shame that women are alleging that she is against makeup, and she has to clarify her stand on media explicitly. She is a trailblazer in this make-up obsessed world to encourage a positive and uncensored self-image.
“She may still be seen in makeup in the future, but it’ll only be when she wants to — not just because she’ll be on TV or on the red carpet and is expect to.” –Daily Mail
If makeup is empowering someone, fantastic! But maybe it shouldn’t be used as a corrective means more than absolutely necessary. If it not based on a happy choice, it simply becomes the new generation bodices.
Alicia Keys is not rejecting skin care, she is rejecting makeup because she felt that it robbed her away from her personality. She is making a statement, but for herself.
And that is the need of the hour, we woman needed someone to go on that stage and simply say: I have arrived the way I wanted to and I am beautiful the way I choose to be.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.