Skin Positivity Is The Beauty Buzzword Of 2018
Over the last five years, a series of events has slowly but mightily amalgamated into the women's empowerment movement. It started as a revolution to accept our bodies and implications of female-specific biology, namely periods, a conversation that gained traction a few years ago when we finally started talking about it openly.
At the same time, body positivity activists attracted attention from clothing brands, mainstream media outlets, and other influencers interested in championing body diversity, diverting from the media's idea of "perfect" in favor of real women facing real women problems, not model problems. Darling magazine was the first national publication to ban airbrushing from its pages. Aerie, a lingerie brand, followed suit, paving the way for several other commercial brands and media companies to make a statement.
The 2017 presidential election was the event that seemed to neatly dovetail these progressive tendrils of activism, which resulted in the inaugural women's march. A year later, now more than ever, the dynamism of women to be at once loud, proud, and less afraid to speak our truths, and simultaneously soft, healing, and nurturing is taking shape and changing the way we think about ourselves and the perception of women at large.
"Weaknesses" like menstruation are seen as strengths—how cool is it that we bleed for the sake of humanity and that we have different strengths depending on where we are in our cycles? How incredible that we can sync our moon cycles with the cycles of Mother Earth? And thank goodness not all bodies are the same—there'd be no fun in that. Stretch marks are celebrated, no longer hidden from view. Now, in 2018, we're beginning to see real change in the way we perceive our own beauty, specifically the skin on our faces.
It's high time to rethink "flaws."
When writers at Manrepeller asked What if acne wasn't a flaw?, lengthy responses full of praise and gratitude were posted in the comment section by women who had, at one point or another, experienced acne. If acne wasn't a flaw, then the presence of any "flaw"—wrinkles, age spots, fine lines, freckles, you name it—comes into question.
As early as last year, a community of Reddit users—always ahead of the curve, those Redditors—started a discussion about acne positivity after a model walked the Dolce & Gabbana runway with a noticeable breakout. It continued picking up steam when Instagram stars and models with millions of followers started posting their bare faces sans filter with captions expressing self-acceptance despite the acne. A cursory look at the #skinpositivity hashtag on Instagram opens up a new world: Women who reveal and share their acne on social media with the hope of empowering others to feel comfortable in their own skin.
On mindbodygreen, Cocokind skin care founder Priscilla Tsai shared her journey with acne, which led to embracing it, whether she's experiencing a flare-up or it's under control. In the same vein, Kendall Jenner's acne didn't keep her from attending the Golden Globes this year. In fact, when one of her fans mentioned how empowering it was to see her on the red carpet with a few zits, Jenner replied, "Never let that sh*t [sic] stop you!"
In 2018, skin positivity is in.
Here's an idea. 2018 is the year to embrace your face—dark circles, acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and the rest.
Being skin positive goes far beyond acne acceptance. Aging is a perceived flaw that deserves re-imagining, for example. So do under eye circles. Why is (almost) every article about aging, or under eye circles for that matter, involve a step by step to erase, plump, or undo? This kind of language and positioning robs us of expressing differently, of a chance to embrace the self, and to come as we are. Developing a new way of speaking about women's beauty that's not judgmental, or implicative, would benefit us all.
If "body positivity" isn't for you, you'll want to read up on body neutrality—so many good points here!
Lindsay Kellner is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist based out of Brooklyn, NY. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology at New York University and earned a 200-hour yoga certification from Sky Ting. She is the co-author of “The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide to Ancient Self Care,” along with mbg’s Sustainability Editor, Emma Loewe.