You are beautiful. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Not even you.
July 13, 2015 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Em Ford is a filmmaker, beauty blogger, and former model. When Ford, who suffers from acne, began posting pictures of herself without makeup on social media, she received over 100,000 comments. In response, she created the short film, You Look Disgusting [SLYT] "to show how social media can set unrealistic expectations on both women and men."

Em Ford on the BBC
The discussion continues at #youlookdisgusting.
posted by Room 641-A (79 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really like this. There's something about acne - maybe some leftover plague-based fear - that drives people totally crazy with disgust, despite the fact that it's incredibly common and normal and not contagious.

by the way, 'slyt' = 'single link youtube' which this isn't
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:53 AM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really like this. There's something about acne - maybe some leftover plague-based fear - that drives people totally crazy, despite the fact that it's incredibly common and normal and not contagious.

I feel like you could replace "acne" in that sentence with "women" and it would still be entirely correct and applicable to this FPP.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:55 AM on July 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


Both girls/women and boys/men with bad acne get a whole heap of pointless abuse. With girls it's combined with a bunch of other stuff as well, but this is definitely not a problem that only women have to deal with.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:58 AM on July 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Although of course women are expected to cover it up, and men aren't (though they are expected to treat it, and if it persists through treatment they're still assumed to be 'unclean')
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:03 AM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm really not trying to say that men with acne don't suffer; however, the abuse shown in the video IS heavily gendered. All of that horrible shit about "never trusting a b*tch with makeup" and "have some dignity sl*t" is very specifically a thing that women have to deal with and men do not.

Although of course women are expected to cover it up,

And then be excoriated as liars and deceivers and whores by the same men who demanded they cover it with makeup in the first place.

There is absolutely a strain in U.S. culture, at least, which says that a woman in literally any state of existence is fundamentally horrifying and wrong.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:08 AM on July 13, 2015 [39 favorites]


I like how the video showed the "turn back," where wearing makeup not only gets you compliments, but also horrifying invective from a chorus of idiots. It's not just about the acne here.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 11:11 AM on July 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


The complaint that makeup is "false advertising" only makes sense when you realize the men who say it are starting from the premise that women are a product intended for their consumption.
posted by almostmanda at 11:15 AM on July 13, 2015 [141 favorites]


I feel like you could replace "acne" in that sentence with "women" and it would still be entirely correct and applicable to this FPP.

YES we ride in on the backs of ravenous rats, unstoppable in the night, and destroy medieval european society
posted by poffin boffin at 11:16 AM on July 13, 2015 [38 favorites]


Make up is so amazing. I can't even approximate the skill it takes to do that.

Also, she's a great photographer.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:21 AM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


YES we ride in on the backs of ravenous rats, unstoppable in the night, and destroy medieval european society

is that MetaTalk thread still going where we share our tattoo ideas
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:30 AM on July 13, 2015 [24 favorites]


I had terrible acne in my early teens and again about ten years ago when I came off the pill. I wish this had been around. I spent such a long time camouflaging my skin, buying truck loads of foundations and concealers. And oh, the money spent on cleansers and drying agents and oil free moisturisers...

It's a horribly exposing thing because you just can't hide your face. The best makeup in the world doesn't help when you're in specific types of light, and I used to dread the end of the disco when the lights came on because what if I was talking to some boy and he saw The Truth and ran away? Beach holidays weren't fun because you feel stupid with a face full of makeup when other girls are floating around with clear, dewy skin, but going without meant showing the spots and also all the scars. I still have red marks at 39 and I still have a habit that I just can't break of putting my hand up to my face when I'm talking to people. She is so beautiful, with and without the makeup, and I wish I'd had someone give me this message back when it felt like I was literally disgusting.
posted by billiebee at 11:33 AM on July 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


i am in my 30s and i have acne. i have tried all sorts of things to heal it. i never wear makeup (unless i don't want to be hounded about my acne at family functions). i have more than a handful of times had kids (strangers) point and laugh at me or make big exaggerated ewwww noises at stores and such - nearly always girls. many of those times, when the parent - nearly always mom, thinks they're out of ear shot they'll say something like "and this is why you have to shower/wash your face/etc because otherwise you look like that!"

i haven't yet gone around the corner and given them a run down of everything i've tried and how for some of us, unless we want to chance really awful side effects, acne is just a way of life and her daughter could be unlucky enough to be one of us and maybe instead her parents could teach her that she is valuable with our without a skin condition she can't fix. instead i usually get out of the store as quickly as possible and hope i don't start crying until i'm in the safety of my car.

we socialize women so young to hate ourselves and to hate other women for our perceived flaws. sometimes i try to imagine what i could have done with the time i spend obsessing over my skin but then that's just more time i'm losing to hating myself.
posted by nadawi at 11:37 AM on July 13, 2015 [42 favorites]


oh and i'm in no way suggesting that boys/men with acne have it easy or don't have struggles with it - i know that's not true, but i can only speak about what it feels like as someone that society reads as female.
posted by nadawi at 11:38 AM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Linking this perfect Amy Schumer skit for the second time in a week: Girl, You Don't Need Makeup.

This is just another one of those arenas in which men are given the leeway to exist largely in a state of WYSIWYG -- see also -- and women are told that if we do suck it in/cover it up/etc. we're fraudulent and contemptibly fussy, but if we don't? Whoops, now we're disgusting and slovenly! Either way, we're inherently worthy of abuse and hatred, both from ourselves and the public at large. Maybe we're born with it...

This video made me cry a bunch of big, hopeless tears, like a kid who can't find her parents in the department store and is pretty sure they've just left her there for good. Powerful stuff. I wish Em Ford and all of her cohorts all the peace and love in the world.
posted by divined by radio at 11:40 AM on July 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


I'm always amazed at what makeup can do. There was that series of photos showing adult stars with and without makeup which I found fascinating.

That video, though, with the comments overlaid? I'm going to go apologize to every lady friend I've ever had if I've ever thoughtlessly said anything about needing makeup or not.

---
by the way, 'slyt' = 'single link youtube' which this isn't
huh. I have always used that as "slightly long youtube"...

posted by qcubed at 11:44 AM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've always wondered what putting a full face on like that every single day costs. I have bad skin but my attitude has generally been to only cover it up for times when first impressions can have a serious negative financial impact--interviews, mostly. That kind of coverage... is a bottle of foundation even going to make it through a month? I'm glad to see stuff like this not just because nobody should get shitty comments because of their skin, but because I simultaneously feel like people should be able to wear makeup if they want... and the public really needs to see that the expectation thereof is a big thing to be asking of every woman and adolescent girl with the slightest skin imperfections. I dread the idea of ending up in a situation where I have to do this every day, and I'm in my 30s. I expect I probably won't really be free of it until I retire.
posted by Sequence at 11:44 AM on July 13, 2015


at a former job in a mall photo studio - one i held for 10 years and was a goddamned rockstar at - i was not so subtlety threatened with being fired if i didn't start wearing makeup because i didn't look "professional" enough to let babies puke on me/kids hit me with bats while i shook a stuffed bear in their faces. and when i started wearing makeup i was then cautioned that i was wearing too much, even though i had the bare minimum required on my face to have the spots not tear through within the first 20 minutes of my shift.
posted by nadawi at 11:45 AM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm one of the lucky duckies who took isotronin (Accutane) before researchers had quite realized its correlation with suicidal depression and its manufacturer ceased distributing it. I've struggled with chronic depression ever since, and I still say it was worth it to not be tormented in high school over my acne.
posted by xthlc at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


At the other extreme, I actually trained as a makeup artist. I spent so much time perfecting it from I was 12 and got so good at it I thought I may as well get paid. I did it for a few years, and part of that time I ran a beauty counter in a mall. Every woman, no matter what age, who sat in my chair - models on the freelance jobs or customers at the counter - pointed out their flaws to me because that's what we do. And it was my goddamned mission to compliment every single person and tell them how beautiful their skin/hair/eye colour/lashes/smile/whatever was, and mean it, because we are trained to be horrible to ourselves and I wanted everyone to walk away feeling good about themselves and not because they'd bought something to hide with. (As a result I was a shit salesperson as I tended to talk people out of things, "you don't need that!" but fuck it, it was the best part of the job)
posted by billiebee at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2015 [28 favorites]


I've had psoriasis since I was 5 and I suffered through stuff like this--especially when I was young. Actually, in a way, I think it helped me to better understand people and to see the world a little more clearly. I wouldn't wish it on anybody.
posted by dashDashDot at 11:59 AM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh god, that Amy Schumer video. So great.

I've had a SOTU kind of talk with most men I've dated about the whole "no-makeup" thing. "Oh hi, that shitty thing you said about women who wear makeup, well, I'm a woman who wears makeup. Yes I am. I'm wearing it RIGHT NOW, I'm wearing FIVE KINDS of it. No, all makeup does not look like RuPaul. Yes, this is what putting on mascara looks like. No, I'm not going to stop wearing it. Hey, did I mention that your whole no-makeup ethos kind of falls down when you point out EVERY zit I ever get? Yes, I know they are there. Do you want me to count your gray hairs? Because I'll fuckin' do it, and we'll see how long it takes before you start gazing longingly at the Just For Men rack at the store." Christ on a bike.

I had clear skin through high school which literally every adult commented on, as it was pretty much my only attractive feature. Which made it extra cruel when college started and my skin turned into an acne battlefield forever after. Oh, the disappointed head shakes. It was my only good feature and I had to go and "ruin" it. Assholes.

Currently, my lifestyle lets me get by with almost no makeup--I blessedly never feel obligated to wear it, and choose to wear it less and less frequently. I'm also blessed with a partner who, whatever his inner thoughts might be, knows to just shut the fuck up about what I put on my face. And, possibly relatedly but probably just coincidentally, my skin is calmer and clearer than it has been in my adult life. But oh the surge of panic when I wake up to a surprise zit right at the tip of my nose...I don't know that that will ever go away.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:01 PM on July 13, 2015 [28 favorites]


No, all makeup does not look like RuPaul.

in conversations about makeup and feminine presentation it's easy to accidentally say transmisogynistic things and i hope we can be mindful of that in this conversation.
posted by nadawi at 12:23 PM on July 13, 2015 [19 favorites]


My husband and I have been together more than five years and we still have this conversation on the regular:

Him: "Why didn't you tell me I have a giant zit on the side of my face?"

Me: "Uh... I dunno? Why would I...? I figured you knew?"

After some years of acne myself, it's still so hard for me to grasp the concept of someone who A) doesn't instantly know when they have a zit, because they just spent ten minutes agonizing in front of the mirror about their facial failings and B) considers it a favor to be notified "Do something about that zit," not a salt-in-the-wound-style cruelty sure to induce another fit of prolonged self-loathing.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2015 [22 favorites]


I didn't know that accutane wasn't being distributed anymore. It was a lifesaver for me when I finally pulled the trigger and did a round in college. I didn't realize until after my face was clear how much I had been turning down opportunities and effectively sequestering myself out of a sense that my skin made me a monster.

I recall reading a while back that although accutane with suicide and depression, it is actually less correlated with both suicide and depression than acne itself is.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:29 PM on July 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


What is this magic about women being able to hide acne?

Oh god, I wish I knew these magicians from 14-23
posted by hal_c_on at 12:31 PM on July 13, 2015


Accutane is still available. It's generic now.
posted by colie at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm one of the lucky duckies who took isotronin (Accutane) before researchers had quite realized its correlation with suicidal depression and its manufacturer ceased distributing it.

Uh... What? That's a pretty severe mangling of the facts. From the first link:
Conclusions

Consideration of the limited data available would suggest that the incidence of depression and suicide during isotretinoin therapy may be no greater than the background incidence. A causal relationship has not been demonstrated.
Roche didn't take Accutane off the market, they just renamned it Roaccutane and dialed their marketing way down. It's prescribed less often now, not because of any ties to suicide (acne treatment and suicide are both especially prevalent among teenagers, but correlation is not causation; people used to think acne was caused by masturbation for the same reason), but because it causes birth defects, which is of especial concern since it's quite often used to treat hormonal acne in women of childbearing age.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


in conversations about makeup and feminine presentation it's easy to accidentally say transmisogynistic things and i hope we can be mindful of that in this conversation.

Point taken. I apologize for the comment, which reduced a series of frustrating conversations in an insensitive way. (Though I will say that 100% of the time the dude actually did reference RuPaul in the specific, as their example of "what a person looks like when they wear makeup"; that wasn't an invented reference for effect or anything here.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I didn't realize until after my face was clear how much I had been turning down opportunities and effectively sequestering myself out of a sense that my skin made me a monster.

Yeah, similar experience here in high school. As a teen I once made a painting and later a song expressing some of those feelings, and the exact words I used to describe the feelings in both cases were: "Look, Scout! A Monster." It was such a massive relief finally realizing you don't have to feel ashamed about stuff like that when I was going into young adulthood. Treatment for the acne helped at various points, but learning to look at myself and the problem differently helped even more.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2015


i have turned down opportunities to volunteer or otherwise participate in activism activities because now everything is photographed for facebook. i've missed family events and friends parties for similar reasons. i wish i could just not care, but i'm not that advanced yet, i guess...
posted by nadawi at 12:55 PM on July 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


A bit of urban folklore has it that young men with acne aren't getting "enough" sex. I do not know enough about the folklore to know if solo actions qualify as sex.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 1:04 PM on July 13, 2015


For my part, back in the 80s I did some modelling gigs, and could have actually parried it into a career...except I wouldn't take my shirt off because of the "backne", and I was way too self-conscious about my face acne, even with professional makeup. And then there were the creams, and my mom's steamer- it looked like a transparent gas mask, and I spent hours in that, barely able to breath I the hot mist.

And what I went through was NOTHING compared to what my sister dealt with, even though her acne was pretty mild, comparatively. I'm amazed she survived.
posted by happyroach at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a horribly exposing thing because you just can't hide your face.

I love short hair. Love it, love it, love it. I have the type of face shape that would work really well with short hair. I have a whole pinterest board full of short hair styles. My husband frequently says things like, "you know, you'd look so great with short hair". I regularly fantasize about going to the salon and getting rid of my mid-back length hair, asking for a pixie cut. But I can't bring myself to do it because I am so attached to the idea of hair as a face-hider, from back in the day when my teenage acne was out of control (and I have the scars to prove it).
posted by lollymccatburglar at 1:23 PM on July 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why with acne as common as it is, does the myth about it being a result of bad hygiene persist? Why does it persist even when people are educated about it. I remember the whole this is what happens in puberty part of sex education where it was main part of it and still my peers would make fun of peoples hygiene.

This myth is right up there on my list of pet peeves. Gets me so angry when I hear or read comments about it.
posted by Jalliah at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2015


it seems similar to me to the myths that women who have a lot of sex have a certain type of labia or size of vagina - they are judgements that people want to make and the reality won't get in their way of being a shit person.
posted by nadawi at 1:34 PM on July 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why with acne as common as it is, does the myth about it being a result of bad hygiene persist?

Because people with regular non-acne pimples often get them from neglecting to wash their face or their hair. Most people who don't have acne have no idea that there's even a difference between acne and the single pimple you might get in the crease at the side of your nose from not washing off your makeup before you go to bed.

tl;dr as per usual people are morons who don't care about educating themselves
posted by poffin boffin at 1:55 PM on July 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm one of the lucky duckies who took isotronin (Accutane) before researchers had quite realized its correlation with suicidal depression and its manufacturer ceased distributing it. I've struggled with chronic depression ever since, and I still say it was worth it to not be tormented in high school over my acne.

Isotretinoin is still available under a number of different brands. I think it's starting to be given in lower doses or shorter courses now too though I definitely did the full-on hardcore version when I was younger.
posted by atoxyl at 2:29 PM on July 13, 2015


I had pretty shocking acne as a teen. Didn't clear up until I was in my early twenties. Combo that with being fat and a ginger and I gotta say, I know how these people feel.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:13 PM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


[One comment deleted. This is a tough subject, let's be decent to each other and not make it personal. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry. It is a touchy subject. Didn't mean to make it personal. It was very hard getting over my own severe acne scarring and took many years of trying. No one should fault anyone for wanting to wear makeup whether to cover scarring or for any other reason, but shaming them into doing it is still awful.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:42 PM on July 13, 2015


Wow, is she ever skilled with the makeup! I would love to have her come over to my house and teach me.

I just love the men who howl about how makeup is "false advertising", but if you walk out the door barefaced, you're a "whore", "slut", "ugly bitch". Make up your fucking minds, assholes. Even Beyonce doesn't exactly wake up like this. That "natural" look takes some work.
posted by MissySedai at 4:18 PM on July 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


>"No, all makeup does not look like RuPaul."
>"in conversations about makeup and feminine presentation it's easy to accidentally say transmisogynistic things and i hope we can be mindful of that in this conversation."

Ru Paul isn't trans, he's a drag queen. I'm a little surprised and offended you equate being trans with presenting like a drag queen.
posted by Dr. Sockley McThrowaway at 5:09 PM on July 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


i don't equate those things at all. the way drag performers are insulted for how they present femininity is a function of transmisogyny (and there are arguments to be had that all drag is transmisogyny, but that's another topic all together).
posted by nadawi at 5:23 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


when men are insulted for doing something seen as feminine, it's a function of misogyny. that's not me equating men with women, that's recognizing that misogyny has far reaching tentacles. similarly, when men dress as women - whether in traditional drag or as a function of an snl style shit joke, and then other people bring up the way they present femininity as a negative, it's a function of transmisogyny. that is the angle i was coming at it from. i certainly didn't mean to suggest that i don't understand the difference between drag and trans or that i think rupaul is trans (in fact, i'm pretty well versed on all the ways that rupaul has been transphobic and has used male privilege to deflect those criticisms).
posted by nadawi at 5:29 PM on July 13, 2015


[Maybe we can set down the RuPaul thing as a sidebar, since it's kind of off the main track of the article?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:38 PM on July 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Late 20s / early 30s before acne let me off the hook. *Mostly* let me off the hook, mid 30s til I was free. It started at maybe 13, and it was the neat-o kind, too, not just the angry red bumps but pustules here and there. Sometimes even boils. It was special. I sure was happy.

The scars it's left, people think I'm a goalie for a dart team.

I had it on my face, my neck, my chest, my shoulders, my back. The boils showed -- mostly -- on my shoulders and back. Though the fact is that it all had free reign, it did what it wanted, where and when it wanted. It really sucked.

I used every soap. Every scrub. Steaming hot water. I baked in the sun -- that did seem to help some. Those lights that people used for "suntan" in the house -- again, it did seem to help some. Tetracycline -- that seemed to help some, but you can't stay on it forever, plus it made me sick to my stomach.

~~~~~

Cosmetics.
If I'd have been female you're damn right I'd have used make-up. No doubt about it. Why not use it, if it helps a person feel more attractive. Plus, as we all know from those Dove soap make-over videos, cosmetics do way, way more than just cover a rough or blotchy complexion, they can make a person look like an entirely different human being.

I dated a woman who lived in Manhattan, we dated for about 12 minutes, a silly long-distance thing, but anyways Beth's room-mate was a model, which made absolutely no sense to me at all -- not only was she not attractive but in some ways she looked sortof like a bug; I'd listen, nights, to see if she chirped or whirred or buzzed or whatever. Beth, the NYC woman who knows everything, Beth gave me the low-down -- her room-mate had the right face, the right shape to her face, and when made up professionally and under lights she looked like an entirely different person. This was 1987, a couple of years prior to youtube, so I couldn't see it as I would be able to today, but I did believe Beth, and I knew that her room-mate was a model, too.

It really is an art. The best make-up is the make-up that you don't really even know is there, or so it seems to me -- Johannes Vermeer rather than Jackson Pollock, if you catch my drift.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:07 PM on July 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like how the video showed the "turn back," where wearing makeup not only gets you compliments, but also horrifying invective from a chorus of idiots. It's not just about the acne here.

That "turn back" moment was when I went from thinking "meh, this is an ok video but kind of predictable" to being blown away. This is a fantastic video and I am really glad I saw this FPP.

I had a lot of acne as a teen (and still get more zits than my age deserves, dammit) but no one ever made fun of me for it or said anything explicit. I was overly self-conscious about it and shortchanged myself socially in some ways, but the lack of cruelty is something that everyone should experience, not just young men (or even more so, lucky young men).

How long would it take to do the full makeup regimen that she shows in the video?
posted by Dip Flash at 7:24 PM on July 13, 2015


I found that video very moving. Very hateful comments, relegating a person's value to how they look. It reminded me of an exchange in "Orange is the new black" where one character says it's not outer beauty that counts, but rather "talent, orginality, and a sense of humour" ... Pause... And then they all laugh uproariously.
posted by anothermug at 7:50 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Drag queens are performance artists who wear heavy stage makeup. They would be the first ones to tell you that it's not meant to look like everyday street makeup. Saying that someone's everyday street makeup looks like the stage makeup worn by a drag queen isn't an insult to stage makeup - its saying that you're wearing the wrong makeup for the occasion and context.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:43 PM on July 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I started getting acne a few years ago when I turned 30. Before that, I had dry but clear skin. Although reddit's asian beauty subreddit has helped a lot, I'm still struggling a little, so I know how she feels.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:58 AM on July 14, 2015


I'm not sure if I'm missing something about her point, but there are many treatments to control acne and rid yourself of this misery.

I had a pretty bad case well into my 20s because family doctors often failed to treat it as an illness or to recognise the serious psychological effects. But then I saw a dermatologist privately - spending probably the equivalent of a single month's worth of useless over-the-counter creams and makeup - and antibiotics cleared it for 10 years. Then moved onto topical antibiotics, now controlled with salicylic acid and glycolic acid. I've also had laser treatment to remove scars, which took five minutes and cost maybe 100 pounds, again an actual saving compared to the amount you can get ripped off by stupid cosmetics companies preying on your sadness.

Obviously all women are under pressure to wear makeup (and somehow wear it 'correctly') but it looks like she has a moderate case of a skin condition that would respond very well to treatment.
posted by colie at 1:18 AM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming that she tried as many kinds of treatments as she feels she needs to try. I'm also not hearing her complain about the acne.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:32 AM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


But she covers it up with a more expensive and time consuming process than just treating it or not caring.
posted by colie at 1:37 AM on July 14, 2015


Yes. I'm assuming that she has considered her options and chose this one.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:45 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


In which case it could be argued that she is contributing to the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry that actively militates against people getting medical treatment for their skin conditions. The 'you are beautiful' message is pretty standard material for cosmetics companies.
posted by colie at 1:50 AM on July 14, 2015


As do most of us. What point are you trying to make here?
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:53 AM on July 14, 2015


I don't make YouTube videos in which I suggest that the only way to deal with the negative comments arseholes make online about my skin condition is to cover it up with a ton of makeup. She's making a statement, not just living her life, which as you rightly point out is totally up to her.
posted by colie at 1:57 AM on July 14, 2015


Her video did not suggest that to me. In fact in my view it suggested the opposite: that covering it up with makeup doesn't help. So I'm clearly getting a different statement from her video than you are.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:02 AM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used to suffer from horrible acne. Make up didn't really help, it was the type of big, throbbing zits that make up slid off (and of course made them worse). It seems to have cleared up finally (due to one or more of the following: taking the contraceptive pill Yasmin, running outdoors, eating more healthily, taking vitamins and using an antibacterial wash, general old age). But the number of people who said things like "What's wrong with your face??" or helpfully pointed the spots out, as if I wasn't well aware of them myself was ridiculous. I wished I could put a paper bag over my head. I think now I could handle any kind of yucky skin condition or deformity so long as it wasn't right there on my face.
posted by intensitymultiply at 2:43 AM on July 14, 2015


I don't make YouTube videos in which I suggest that the only way to deal with the negative comments arseholes make online about my skin condition is to cover it up with a ton of makeup.

Did you watch the video the whole way through? Because it clearly shows that she gets negative comments from arseholes online with or without makeup. The message of the video is not "wear shit loads of makeup and everything will be fine", it is literally "you are beautiful and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, including yourself".
posted by billiebee at 2:53 AM on July 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have to wonder, though... what if we're not beautiful? Isn't that possible too, and shouldn't it be fine as well? Do we really need to consider ourselves beautiful, by definition?
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:10 AM on July 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Good point. I guess I don't take that as "you're beautiful in some way which measures up to societal standards" but more "everyone is beautiful in their own way" (which isn't necessarily an external thing). But yeah, I do get what you're saying.
posted by billiebee at 3:13 AM on July 14, 2015


As a long-time battler against acne (with the scars to prove it), I found the video very moving: my eyes had welled up by the end. People who have not suffered (and I use the term "suffer" very purposefully) have no idea just how psychologically damaging the condition is. I seem to be over the worst of it at the moment (or have finally hit upon the right combo of products to keep it under control) but I still have a hard time looking people directly in the eye or feeling at ease with people looking closely at my face, especially under harsh lighting. I hate you with a passion, fluourescent lighting!

That being said, I have mixed feelings with campaigns like this one, or those related to body-size/shape acceptance, etc., where the message remains focussed on beauty. I.e., "you are beautiful despite X, Y, Z". This is because the message is still adhering to the idea that beauty is all that matters if you are a woman. So long as you are externally beautiful - or believe yourself to be - then you have attained the highest (female) good there is. And so wheeeee, you can now twirl around in a skirt and jog along the beach - in slo-mo of course - in a state of pure bliss.

It isn't realistic, of course, to think there will ever be a day when appearance does not matter, but damnit, I'd like it to matter a hell of a lot less, especially for people who move through the world as girls/women.

[On preview, I see Too Ticky feels similarly.]
posted by Halo in reverse at 3:16 AM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have to wonder, though... what if we're not beautiful?

You know, I tell my nieces all the time that they're beautiful (because they are, because all children are) but I try to tell them just as often "you're smart/funny/interesting" whatever so they don't think that all they are is their looks. But maybe what would be better, for this type of video (though I totally thought it was great and she's free to name it whatever way she wants) and in general, is not to say "you're beautiful no matter what" but something more like "you are worth respect no matter what".

(On preview I agree with you Halo in reverse)
posted by billiebee at 3:21 AM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


If we're going to tell little girls that they're beautiful, I think we should also be telling this to little boys. And if we're going to tell little boys that they're smart, strong or brave... ayup.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:57 AM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Agreed.
posted by billiebee at 4:02 AM on July 14, 2015


I'm not sure if I'm missing something about her point, but there are many treatments to control acne and rid yourself of this misery.

Do you honestly think a professional beauty blogger and model hasn't thought of this? Her face is her fucking livelihood.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:24 AM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


[A couple of comments deleted. colie, drop it - in general drop it before you start making harsh negative generalizations about how other people in the thread look. In general if you are a man who's dealt with acne and is here to tell women with acne that it's something they should get over it/how to deal correctly, reconsider whether there might be some relevant differences in men's and women's experiences in this domain.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:33 AM on July 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm sorry if anyone was offended by my comment about how I used to feel when I looked in the mirror. It was intended in similar vein to what showbiz_liz said in the very first comment upthread.
posted by colie at 9:52 AM on July 14, 2015


In general if you are a man who's dealt with acne and is here to tell women with acne that it's something they should get over it/how to deal correctly, reconsider whether there might be some relevant differences in men's and women's experiences in this domain.

Definitely. And I haven't seen anyone mention female hormones, but yeah, those will mess your face up if they want, and no amount of antibiotics, medications or lasers will help if your acne is there because of wacky hormones.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:30 AM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hormonal medications, including birth control and spironolactone (an anti-androgen), are regularly prescribed for acne, and that's helped me more than anything else.

Of course, it took me literally 12 years under dermatologists' care before they tried it (after exhausting every antibiotic and topical, and multiple courses of isotretinoin).

And of course, the scarring I got in the meantime is so extensive that it can't be fixed with thousands of dollars of lasers and peels.

Sure do love choosing to be sad and ripped off by stupid makeup companies.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:11 AM on July 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are hormonal causes for acne in both men and women and the general opinion seems to be that males tend to suffer from more severe acne but for a shorter time; females are more likely to develop it later in life and/or have it for a longer period.
posted by colie at 11:41 AM on July 14, 2015


Why is there the assumption that the comments came exclusively from men? It would be interesting to see a breakdown of those awful comments by gender.
posted by jcatus at 12:44 PM on July 14, 2015


I'm thinking the comments calling her a slut and calling her made-up face "false advertising" were from men. But yes, women can be cruel too and it's possible some of the "ugly" comments came from women or girls. "Imagine waking up with that" probably not so much.
posted by billiebee at 12:49 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beauty isn't necessarily about appearances. I always think of it as being more about having a certain kind of meaning in relation to the world than about surface appearances. People used to make elaborate arguments about Truth and Beauty being the same thing, for instance, and those arguments weren't remotely talking about beauty as having to do with appearances. But yeah, that's not how people usually mean it, or how a song like 'All about that Bass' uses it when trying to push back on body shame; that seems to be all about trying to extend the bounds of what people view and accept as physical beauty.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:33 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: how a song like 'All about that Bass' uses it when trying to push back on body shame

Maybe not the best example, because that same song also calls some women 'skinny bitches'.

But yeah, personally, I use different words than 'beauty' when I'm not talking about appearances, or I use modifiers like 'inside' or 'as a person'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:03 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe not the best example, because that same song also calls some women 'skinny bitches'.

It's a pity that line sticks out so much more than the line that follows it, which puts it in context:
Go 'head and tell them skinny bitches that--
No, I'm just playing, I know you think you're fat
So the song is playing off the perception that she's supposed to be fighting with "skinny bitches" but recognizes that skinny women also get caught in this hamster wheel of not measuring up to impossible standards and that there's no need to tell them off for anything. Except that "skinny bitches" is really easy to make out and the next line a loooooot less decipherable, so the casual impression is that the song's doing something mean.

Granted, that song is not the one I would choose as my body acceptance anthem.
posted by foxfirefey at 5:00 PM on July 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


"The turn" also reminded me of my experience gaining and then losing weight - all the compliments on your "new" look, which thinly conceal an awful backhand of hatred for the way you looked before (and might look again, if you don't watch it).

All praise, all approval, is conditional.
posted by Miko at 7:42 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Go 'head and tell them skinny bitches that--
No, I'm just playing, I know you think you're fat


Thanks, foxfirefey! I had no idea that was how it went on.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:11 AM on July 15, 2015


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