It’s not often you trawl the internet and find something genuinely inspiring. (And I’m not talking about cat memes.)
The catchcry of ‘body positivity’ feels like it’s been adopted and repurposed by big brands, looking to hook off an otherwise very progressive movement. But how many sites or corporations portraying normal women are doing so out of sincerity?
That’s why it’s so exciting when you see someone having an earnest conversation about real beauty — and today, I read something that really made me smile.
I.D. Magazine ran an article called, “How fashion is embracing the pimple positivity movement we desperately need.”
Wait, what? Pimple positivity? Now there’s a slogan I hadn’t heard before. I liked it.
Pimples. Big ones, small ones, red ones, blind ones. Acne. Whiteheads. Blackheads. Zits. Hormonal breakouts around your chin, and angry red mounds right in the middle of your honker. Pimples are a way of life for all women of all ages, yet the negativity and shame that surrounds them is immense.
“Pimples are still, for the most part, a reality we try to reckon with in secrecy,” writes Alice Newell-Hanson for I.D.
“We tend to them alone in our bedrooms. We apply creams and cover-up. We erase them with skin-smoothing app filters. And when they break out into public view we're at best annoyed... and at worst, dangerously depressed.”
I was lucky enough to escape puberty without suffering bad skin. I watched my younger brother and most of my peers battle seriously painful acne, and was always thankful that I was struck down with awkwardly large teeth, a flat chest, and not much else.
Listen: The strange popularity of pimple-popping videos. (Post continues after audio.)
But as I settled into my mid-twenties, my skin rubbed together its greedy little hands and planned a two pronged attack: firstly, I would discover I’m wildly allergic to, um, every skincare under the sun, and secondly, would suffer everything from eczema to rosacea to perioral dermatitis smack bang in the middle of my face. I went from someone who barely wore mascara, to piling on masses of foundation every day to hide the redness and inflammation.
While it wasn’t acne or even a pimple, it has given me some insight into how much life seems to suck when you feel like everyone you meet is looking at your face and thinking, 'gross'. It eats away at your confidence, and in time, can even cause serious social anxiety.
But imagine a world in which ALL skin - red, oily, pimply, dry, flaky, whatever - was embraced, just as we’re learning to embrace all other facets of individual beauty.
In its article, I.D. reference model and singer Starlie Smith of The Atomics, who also recently walked the runway for Dolce & Gabbana and has an Instagram following of over 109,000 fans. Why? Because this week, she posted about a make-up free selfie with her acne on display for all to see.
Normalising a condition that affects up to 15% of Australian women can only be a good thing, right? As any dermatologist will tell you, keeping inflamed skin clean and free of makeup is the best thing to let it heal - so imagine a world in which we didn’t feel like we had to cover our blemishes in shame.
And as I.D. points out, Starlie Smith isn’t the only celeb being loud and proud with problem skin.
“Petra Collins once issued a warning on her Instagram that read, "unfollow me now if you can't deal with pimples, hair, stretch marks etc literally anything that isn't airbrushed," the article explains.
"And actresses Bella Thorne, Zendaya, and Selena Gomez have all spoken out about their struggles with their skin.”
Indeed, this week radio star Sam Frost - who has often spoken about her struggles with her skin - uploaded a Instagram shot of herself with a mighty zit.
“I neeeed to pop you ASAP #LoveAGoodPimple,” read the caption of her Instagram story snap.
So, in a world where we protest airbrushing everything else - hips, thighs, wrinkles - why don’t we take a stance against ‘perfect’ skin as well?
Alicia Keys is setting a fine example of what women look like without makeup - beautiful - but maybe it’s time we had some role models with not-so-perfect skin, too.
Thanks, I.D., for a great article that bought Pimple Pride to my attention. And rest in peace, concealer.