The No-Makeup Selfie: What Are You REALLY Saying?


Maybe I’m missing something but isn’t the whole “no makeup selfie thing” just as bad as every other bullshit-judging-women-in-an-effort-to-keep-them-weak-and-controllable practice out there?

(and to be clear, I’m all for being proven wrong.  For example, I used to think the whole “nails of the day” trend was super fucking ridiculous and stupid…that is until I heard someone explain it in a different way.  I was listening to a podcast and one of the guests talked about how the “nails of the day” was a way for anyone to express their creativity.  She highlighted the fact that it was almost completely limitless, that truly anyone could do it, for the small price of a few dollars for a bottle or two of nail polish and a couple of toothpicks, anyone could be an artist.  And that changed my mind completely.)

But here’s the thing:  isn’t it damaging to our psyche(s) to think that going make-up less is brave and courageous?

Are we, as women, so fucking hideous that exposing our natural selves is this act of noble defiance?

Can’t we just stop judging ourselves, and each other, for a goddamn second, just long enough to feel a bit of love and appreciation for our own flesh.

Isn’t the act of daring to expose ourselves au naturel just another way of trying to one up other women?


Look look look at me, a woman better than all the others, a make-up less woman, I’m basically a fucking hero.


Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for posting selfies (if you want) and seeking attention (if you want) but what if we just cut out all the judgmental shaming nonsense?  And even more so, what if we stopped rewarding women for the way they conform or don’t conform to whatever beauty standards you subscribe to, and just let them develop into super interesting people.

Because, by the way, even if you could get past the whole look at me I’m so brave for being willing to show you my hideous face without the guise of make-up, can we be honest about what those MUL Selfies are really about?

The no-makeup selfie is just another stab at attention seeking to validate that you, in fact, were born more naturally beautiful than all the other girls.  And you know what, THAT WAS FUCKING BLIND LUCK.  If you happen to be lucky enough to be drop dead gorgeous without make-up, well congratulations.  You managed to be arbitrarily selected by a gene pool of beauty.  You didn’t earn it.  You don’t deserve it.  You didn’t work hard for it.  And fyi, it’s value is entirely relative.   So what do you say you stop trying to make other women feel incomplete or less than and just be fucking amazing in your own right.  Be interesting.  Be amazing.  Contribute something to the betterment of society.  Or at the very least, please, think about how the things you do affect those around you.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t post selfies (go right ahead, go on with your bad self!).  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek validation (I mean, I would caution against relying on it to feel good as its a fickle fickle thing).  I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t wear make-up.  What I am saying is that it’s hard enough being a girl/woman and trying to live up to some bullshit standard (to impress men?) and why on earth would you want to make it harder for your fellow com-madres.

Think of all the amazing things women could be doing if they weren’t so busy feeling badly about themselves?


Disagree?  Want to change my mind?  Give me your best argument in the comments!

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Victoria Young

Writer. Dater. Masturbator. Stop ruining my jokes by believing the self-deprecation. I am far greater than your boner will ever know.

4 Replies to “The No-Makeup Selfie: What Are You REALLY Saying?”

  1. I dislike the selfie trend so in general I actually agree with you, but I think of all the selfies to post, the no-makeup selfie is probably the best kind. I (perhaps optimistically) would like to think of these selfies not as “look how pretty I am without makeup” but rather “fuck makeup, who needs it?” It’s more of a social message. Maybe if more women see others being confident without makeup, they will be empowered to believe that they don’t need it either. Or that makeup isn’t “cool” anymore. Likewise, if you can feel good about a picture of yourself when you’re not wearing makeup, maybe you will start to believe that you don’t need to put it on. I think that this will increase a more general acceptance of “natural” beauty. Empowerment has to start somewhere.

    You say it’s not a brave or courageous act to post a no-makeup selfie, but for some women it definitely is. There was years of my life when I was afraid to leave my house without makeup in case my bad acne would cause people to run screaming in the other direction. For plenty of people this IS an act of rebellion against social expectations. If I go one day without mascara, people ask me if I’m feeling okay; that’s not exactly encouraging, but it’s just because people aren’t USED to seeing women without their makeup.

    I personally think it’s naive to think that women will suddenly just stop caring about looking beautiful, but I think it’s encouraging that we are taking small steps toward appreciating our flaws and accepting a more diverse beauty standard.

    1. Sarah, I think my problem with the trend may that I’m optimistically wishing we could just speed through this process…while we’re currently in a space circling thoughts like “look how pretty I am without makeup” and “fuck makeup, who needs it?”…and I’m wishing we were at a place that was “hey look at this interesting way I have contributed something beneficial to society” or “hey look at this amazing thing I accomplished”. And yet, I’m conflicted because I want people to be able to feel that first comment about feeling pretty and even the second one (if that’s what they want)…but I guess I feel like what about the girl who doesn’t feel like she can say fuck the makeup? what if the makeup is something that helps her to feel beautiful? I actually think these selfies stigmatize the use of makeup which I find harmful because it’s still just another way to demonstrate an arbitrary superiority. While I’m fine with someone showcasing their intellectual accomplishments, I think doing the same thing with your face is more fraught with tension (since after all, nobody earned those long eyelashes or supple lips).

      Just to clarify 🙂 I meant that I think it’s harmful to think being yourself is brave and that by understanding it as such we make it sound like being authentic and naked (exposed) is something awful that takes strength to do. I don’t mean to minimize how difficult it is for many women who struggle with self-esteem issues to simply be, as they truly are. But, that if we change the conversation, we can change the way women see themselves. If it didn’t take strength or courage to be oneself then we could all just do it, as as pie (sort of 😉

      Also, I don’t want people to stop caring about being attractive to others (since beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but I that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s worth it to have conversations and debate about it. Thanks so much for sharing your opinion 🙂

  2. AMEN, sister, preach. Oddly enough, I wrote about selfies today myself (but this one is a WHOLE OTHER ANMAL). In particular this line stuck out to me: “just be fucking amazing in your own right. Be interesting. Be amazing. Contribute something to the betterment of society. Or at the very least, please, think about how the things you do affect those around you.” I couldn’t agree more.

    In the past week, I’ve seen a video of a guy nearly get hit by a train for taking a selfie very close to the train tracks and read an article about a girl who friggin HIT A BICYCLIST while posing for a selfie. Seriously?! Are people so narcissistic and self-involved that the act of documenting where they are at every moment of the day trumps safety and sound reasoning? Idiots. Anyway, that was a tangent and I apologize.

    Back to what you’re saying re: makeup less selfies… I never wear makeup. I posed for a selfie once when I was accosted by a woman at the hair salon for a free consult. It was a “OMG, I have makeup on my face!” picture and only taken because it’s like seeing Haley’s comet. We need to think of a better use of our time and ways to contribute to society on a deeper, more spiritual level all around.

    1. That was such a good quote to select because it really sums up my point (so thank you for that!)…because the more I think about it, it’s not that I think people should never take a selfie (look at your example) and admit I recently took a few after I got an awesome new haircut that I was obsessed with…it’s just that I think we need to be a more considered society – we need to think about WHY we do the things we do. Thanks for commenting Charlotte!

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