It may be 2016, but there is still an overwhelming amount of pressure placed on women to fit a certain mold that society has placed them in. Not only do women feel this pressure from the commercials seen on TV, or from the magazines in line at the grocery store, but we place the same pressure on ourselves in our everyday lives. We feel we need to be thin, or to cover up the tiny zit on our forehead that we think everyone will notice. We feed these thoughts into our heads, and in exchange, we start changing the way we look on the outside.
One celebrity who feels the same way is Alicia Keys. Keys is more than just a 15-time Grammy award winning singer/songwriter, she is a producer, author, entrepreneur and activist. Earlier this summer, Keys wrote a powerful essay for “The Lenny Letter” in which she acknowledged the “constant judgement and stereotyping of women,” and opened up about her own insecurities.
In the letter, Alicia Keys wrote about the day she walked on set coming straight from the gym for a photoshoot of her new album, when her photographer, Paola, said “I have to shoot you right now, like this! The music is raw and real, and these photos have to be too!” This is when Alicia Keys realized how strong and beautiful the photoshoot made her feel. All those feelings she wrote about struggling with the fear someone would see her without makeup on disappeared. This is where her own movement which she is calling “#nomakeup” was born.
As little girls, it is easy to not worry about our looks when the people around us are letting us know how cute we are or how beautiful we looked in our Sunday best at church. Eventually, we mature and grow out of being “cute”. We trade in our tiny stuffed animal purses for Michael Kors purses, because we need to show that we are worth something. We trade in our berry flavored Lip Smacker lip balm for MAC lipsticks, because maybe if we wear makeup, the boy across the lunch table will notice us.
We are at a point where girls at such a young age struggle with self-confidence and body-image issues. This is why I have joined in on Keys’ No Makeup Movement. A movement that was created not only to remind women that we are beautiful without makeup, but to remind women that our worth is not defined by how ‘on fleek’ our eyebrows are.
While most people find the movement empowering, Keys faced some criticism after going makeup-free at the MTV Video Music Awards. Some negative responders took to Twitter to share “If I had perfect skin that glowed like Alicia Keys”, they would go makeup-free too. Keys responded to the criticism by tweeting, “Y’all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!”
In no way is Keys forcing women to stop wearing makeup to prove they are strong and confident. She is encouraging women to do whatever makes them feel their best- whether that means using makeup as an art form to express themselves, or walking out of the house confidently without any makeup.
In her essay, Keys wrote, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
After posting selfies on Instagram with the hashtag #nomakeup, Keys has inspired fans and celebrities alike to join her and post their own bare-face selfies.
Both men and women are sharing their insecurities. Each post explains how Keys has inspired them. One small action has started a self-love and self-confidence movement across the nation.