I came across a Facebook post that caused my stomach to clench and twist with absolute disgust. The other day I was scrolling through the feed and I came across an image of a beautiful girl who had acne. She posted a “before” and “after” image of herself. This in and of itself takes strength, considering that we live in a society that oppresses women and holds them to the unattainable expectation of physical perfection. Her image was shared by two men. The first man posted her image with the caption, “This is why I have trust issues.” The second share had the caption, “Can you imagine going to sleep with the woman on your right (the image of her wearing makeup) and waking up to that thing on the left? (The woman without makeup.) It took everything in my power to be the bigger person and not go off on these two men, who obviously thought they were being funny by putting down another human being.
This isn’t the first time I have come across these kinds of vicious posts. The “before” and “after” images that women post are not meant to be an invitation to be cruel. They are an act of strength to show other women out there, who are ashamed of their skin or their body, that they are not alone. I keep seeing these images with comments under them like, “gross,” “haven’t you ever heard of soap,” and, “she looks like she has an S.T.D. on her face,” in addition to making comments about the woman no longer being beautiful without her makeup on. The one that makes me the angriest is the most common comment that I have seen, “This is why I have trust issues.”
This comment makes me want to scream right back at them, “This is why we as women have confidence issues!” Women are held up to expectations of physical perfection; the standard given to us by the media. Woe to the woman that fails match up to that air-brushed and photo-shopped expectation. To fall short is to be seen as less than human and degraded and shamed into self-loathing and hating parts of our bodies. The concept of “flaws” is purely created by the media and held by society. We as women are expected to have a face without visible pores and not a pimple in sight. If we break out, we feel the need to cover our face with a skin colored cream to create almost a “doll-like” appearance, mascara to make our lashes longer, and lipstick to make our already colored lips, "a bit of color." If we do not do that, then we are subjected to public ridicule.
So here is a little bit of information to counter act the ignorant comments made about acne. Acne does not usually have to do with not using soap. Often times it can be a hormone problem, the result of humidity and environmental pollutants, genetics, medication, oil based cosmetics, stress, or a result of hard/tap water.
The comments I see on social media feeds about acne isn’t funny. It’s bullying and it is cruel. How would you feel if you were in her shoes? If you had a daughter that struggled with her skin, would you tell her what you just said about that woman? How would you feel if someone else said that about your daughter? How would you feel if she came home crying because of the cruel remarks that were made about her skin? How would you feel if you watched your own daughter feel the need to cover her own face with a coat of paint in order to even remotely feel beautiful and when she takes off this mask, she hates the beautiful woman she sees in the mirror? If you wouldn’t want someone to say that to your daughter, don’t say it to someone else’s daughter.
If you don’t care, you should reevaluate who you are as a human being. Just because you are broken, doesn’t give you the right to break someone else. Why would you pick on a girl’s acne, or her weight, or any physical part of her body? How is that clever, incisive wit? Does it really make you feel better about yourself to hurt someone else?
To all of the women out there who have acne, I want to be very clear to you right now. You are just as beautiful without make up on. Don’t let the small minds of others bring you down or cause you to think any less of yourself. The concept of physical perfection is a lie that media has brainwashed us to believe. Media dictates what is considered a flaw and what considered beauty. So I am standing up and saying to all of you that you are beautiful and you don’t need makeup. If you want to wear makeup, wear it because you enjoy it. But don’t feel ashamed to go without it. You are beautiful no matter what.