Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder; that’s what makes it such a special concept.
But that doesn’t mean that societal standards don’t exist, or that we’re not affected by the messages the mainstream media sends–and it sends a lot.
Without sounding too much like a dystopian YA novel, the fact is that we’re all trained from a young age to accept certain things from the media without thinking too hard about why.
Is it inescapable brainwashing? No. Are we doomed to be sheeple forever? Definitely not. But it does have impact. Chances are, we all have a subconscious idea of what ‘true’ beauty is supposed to look like.
You know: not too fat, not too dark, clear-skinned, able-bodied, with Victoria’s Secret-style curves, long, flowing hair–and God forbid you have an Afro, especially a 4c one.
Your features must be ‘European’, except for the on-trend full lips. Oh, but they can’t be too full, especially if you’re black, because that’s just tasteless! And on, and on, and on it goes.
Does that mean that the likes of Cara Delevingne, Angelina Jolie, the Kardashian-Jenners, and Tinashe aren’t actually beautiful? Of course not. Nor does it mean that they, or anyone else, should feel guilty for fitting in with society’s standards. I mean, no-one chooses to be born fitting the bill.
But if you take a moment to think about it, you’ll realise that the standard of beauty is EVERYWHERE–at the expense of anyone who doesn’t look the way society says they ‘should’. Frankly, I’m sick of it…but thankfully, things are changing.
People love to write alarmist think-pieces about ‘our generation’: these pesky millennials with their damned ‘Internet blogs’ and their fancy ‘self-esteem’ and their ground-breaking ‘social media’; sickening, am I right?
But seriously though; our generation does seem to scare people. And I think the reason for that is simple:
we know we have the power.
Think about it: this whole ‘beauty conversation’ revolves around society… but who is society?
And the online era has enabled us to direct our societal power more than ever. We have information and communication at the tips of our fingers 24/7. On social media sites like Twitter, multibillion-dollar corporations pander for our approval.
Anyone, like a mouthy disabled black girl who loves liquid lipstick, can have a website to shout their opinions from the rooftops.
We scroll through picture after picture of complete strangers and leave them positive feedback for nothing more than sharing themselves with us.
And on YouTube, anyone with a camera and a passion can become the equivalent of a TV writer, producer, and presenter all in one go.
We choose our own celebrities and opinion leaders. We put ourselves out there as whoever and whatever we want. We don’t need to wait for some industry spokesperson to tell us whether we’re the ‘right’ kind of beautiful. We create our own platforms.
The online beauty guru phenomenon is what really brought this new reality to my attention. In fact, it’s what inspired me to start my own blog, to start my own channel, to look how I want to look and be unapologetic about it.
I firmly believe in the power of beauty gurus to challenge societal beauty standards–and to smash them to pieces.
From the comfort of their own homes, through the mediums of their phones and laptops, talented people are creating amazing content centred around their own, unique kind of beauty.
No standards to be met; no rules to abide by; just them. And people are loving it.
Rebellion exists in the most unlikely places. Who would have thought that the beauty industry would be the breeding ground for a brand new definition of ‘beauty’? A definition that’s just one sentence long: ‘be who you are, and enjoy it’.
So, to celebrate this small but crucial shift in society’s mindset, I’ve listed a few of my favourite beauty gurus below. I hope that, even if you aren’t the media’s idea of ‘Team Pretty’, these trailblazers might start a beauty rebellion inside of you.
I want you to know that your beauty exists, and your beauty is real. Never forget that.
After all, if art is beauty, and life is art… What does that make you?
Lots of love,
My Pick of the Beauty Rebels
Shalom Blac: “Be your own kind of beautiful”
This talented MUA broke the Internet with her Power of Makeup video, in which she showed the world how she applies bomb makeup over the burn scars on her face.
Shalom’s burn scars can be found on areas of her body and hands too, and prevent her hair from growing.
Consequently, she’s a wig enthusiast with an aaaaamazing collection, though she also rocks her beautifully bald head like a queen. She tells her followers: “be your own kind of beautiful”.
Umber Ghauri: “Beauty for everyone.”
Umber’s amazing YouTube tutorials and blog posts go above and beyond, as they are inclusive of all ethnicities, shades, and genders. Check out brownbeautystandards.com to explore makeup as a form of not only art or entertainment, but expression of gender identity.
With videos and posts on the difference between masc and femme contouring, Umber is changing the game and living up to the motto “beauty for everyone”.
Jackie Aina: “Changing the standard of beauty, one video at a time.”
Jackie is one of the big names in this business, and rightfully so. The Nigerian-American guru describes her channel as “changing the standard of beauty, one video at a time”, and she’s not wrong.
Aside from being absolutely flawless, Jackie provides some much-needed tips and swatches catered towards darker skin, which has historically been downright ignored by the beauty industry. Plus, she’s hilarious. Win win!
Shaniah’s YouTube channel won’t be up and running ’til mid-July, but trust me, you don’t want to miss a thing; I’d subscribe now if I were you.
The super-creative beauty slays an Instagram Baddie beat with the Best of them, but she also uses her face as the canvas for out-of-this-world artwork. Check out her looks for some serious inspiration.
This popular guru had social media abuzz with her ‘butt contour’ tutorial–which was a joke, by the way! She has her bubblegum-glam aesthetic and effortless glow to thank for her hundreds of thousands of followers, as well as her funny and creative mini-tutorials.
On top of that, she selflessly shares her transitioning experience with the world via YouTube and other social media, spreading important information that helps tons of other transgender girls and women. She truly is the Mother of Draguns–better luck next time, Daenerys!
Who are your favourite beauty rebels? Let me know in the comments! I’m always on the lookout for new accounts to obsess over ❤