Ladies, prepare to be inspired, empowered and generally wowed. You see, I did a courageous thing this morning: I left the house without makeup. Strangers stared as I passed by, moved by my bravery. Some even burst into tears.
Actually, that’s a barefaced lie. Nobody gave a damn that I wasn’t wearing makeup, which felt like a slap in the face considering the rapturous reaction Jess Glynne got for taking off her makeup at the Brits. If you missed this, Glynne removed her fake eyelashes and makeup at the award show while singing her hit single Thursday, which contains the lyrics: “I won’t wear makeup on Thursday / ’Cause who I am is enough.” (Detail-oriented readers will recall the Brits were on a Wednesday, but we’ll gloss over that.) Glynne was joined on stage by 70 women who also removed their makeup. According to a press release, the performance was “a gesture to remind ourselves and everyone else that it’s OK and we are enough as we are”. One imagines it was also supposed to be a gesture that would get the singer lots of press, which it did: the act was described as “nothing short of inspirational” and a feminist moment.
It’s great that Glynne used her platform to promote self-acceptance. Nevertheless, this stunt made me roll my mascara-caked eyes. Saying something vacuous about beauty standards or posting #nomakeup selfies has become a go-to PR technique for celebrities hoping to seem relevant, and it is starting to feel trite. It also feels disingenuous to suggest a bare face is liberating considering we’re in a cultural moment where conspicuous makeup is out, and the “natural” look is in. The skincare market is booming as women turn to expensive creams and serums in an exhausting effort to look effortless. So, while I commend Glynne for the sentiment, I reckon I’ll avoid the skin-deep feminism and keep my makeup on, thanks.