Every woman has her reasons for wearing makeup, or not wearing it. To some, it’s a form of self-expression; to others, it simply doesn’t hold any appeal.
While the way we present ourselves to the world is a deeply personal decision, it’s hard to argue that social pressures and expectations can influence it — and not necessarily in a way that’s positive or even healthy.
This is something Alicia Keys learned the hard way when she entered the “harsh, judgmental” entertainment business as a young woman.
In ‘Time to Uncover’, an essay she wrote for Lena Dunham’s e-newsletter Lenny, the 15-time Grammy Award winner describes how fame and the constant pressure to look a certain way made her feel as though she “was not good enough for the world to see”.
“I started, more than ever, to become a chameleon. Never fully being who I was, but constantly changing so all the ‘they’s’ would accept me,” Keys writes.
Ultimately, the pressure to maintain ‘perfection’ — or at least, the stereotypical ideal of it — left her anxious about how she naturally looked.
“Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it???” she explains.
“These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”
Watch: Meghan Ramsay on the impacts of negative body image. (Post continues after video.)
The 35-year-old arrived at this conclusion while writing her yet-to-be-released sixth album.
Fed up with the scrutiny, stereotyping and judgement of women, she made a promise to herself that she’d approach her appearance differently in future.
“I was finally uncovering just how much I censored myself, and it scared me. Who was I anyway? Did I even know HOW to be brutally honest anymore? Who I wanted to be?” she writes.