Amy Schumer Takes On The Beauty Industry

When it comes to women’s beauty, there’s a lot of mixed messages going on. Although popular musicians from Bruno Mars to One Direction sing about how we’re beautiful just the way we are, the cosmetics industry brings in over $55 billion annually. Clearly, either women aren’t getting the message that makeup doesn’t make them beautiful, or maybe they just think they know better.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, cosmetics are defined as “articles…intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.”  Basically, makeup is a catch-all product.  If you’re not beautiful, make-up promises to remedy that, and if you already are considered beautiful, make-up promises to enhance that.  Faced with the choice of being less attractive or more attractive, who among us really wants to opt for less?

When you feel good about your appearance, you feel good about yourself.  A woman’s looks may not be all there is to her identity, but everybody wants to put the best face forward, especially when it comes to competing for male attention.  Don’t they always go for the pretty girls?  According to a study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the answer is yes.  Looks are the number one quality men look for in a woman.

No wonder we don’t know what to think.

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Last night Amy Schumer, queen of Feminist comedy, shared her take on the issue with a music video spoof featuring a very One Direction-type of band.  While the boys initially tell Amy that “you don’t need no makeup/you don’t need no blush,” as soon as she follows their advice, the boys change their tune telling her, “you’ll be the hottest girl in the nation/with just a touch of foundation.”

Even though men in the music industry may claim that we’re perfect just the way we are, really they’re just telling us what we want to hear.  Most women are highly insecure about their physical appearance, and the music industry knows that hearing some attractive guy croon uplifting platitudes is going to sell more records.  That’s just how consumerism works.  The more unhappy we are, the more likely we are to buy more products to try and correct that.  Even though it never works, that never stops most of us from buying into it.

Maybe it’s time to stop measuring our self-worth by male attention.  Maybe it’s time to start defining our beauty on our terms.  Our bodies, our choices, right?

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Before the episode even aired, Schumer took to Twitter with the following message for her fans: “Post your #girlyoudontneedmakeup photos.”  Unsurprisingly, the Internet responded, and Schumer’s hashtag went viral almost instantly.

It’s not that women are unwilling to believe that they’re beautiful without makeup, it’s just that there’s so much pressure on us to believe the opposite.  It’s going to take more than one sketch to change an entrenched perception of self worth, but it’s a start.  Now it’s up to us.


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