Breaking with convention, CoverGirl named Janelle Monáe and P!nk as the new faces of their brand. As wonderful as it is for a major company to choose women like them who advocate individualism, it seems a little odd that they’re advocating their unique beauty for a make-up brand.
Monáe told Billboard, “One of my core values is to help redefine what it means to be a strong and beautiful woman in the music and fashion worlds and to empower the wonderful things that make us unique.” Challenging conventional standards of beauty and democratizing its definition to fit all individuals is a good thing. P!nk has been doing that for years.
Esi Eggleston Bracey, VP and General Manager of CoverGirl, stated, “P!nk is a powerful and provocative role model, who has always been an advocate of individualism and making no apologies for who you are. That combination of irreverence and integrity is exactly what the CoverGirl brand loves about her and identifies with.”
Both these women should be considered positive role models as they encourage others to embrace their individuality by providing examples of women unashamed to be who they are. This is why CoverGirl picked them to be their spokeswomen. They saw them as role models too. However, I don’t understand how CoverGirl can identify with P!nk’s irreverent spirit when they make money based on a product that typifies beauty.
I have a love-hate relationship with make-up. And I have a general disdain for make-up companies. I know, it’s a rather conflicted position, but lemme ‘splain.
Make-up stems from society’s desire for perfection. As one spans from the individual, to the community, and beyond, the celebration of our little idiosyncrasies fades as favorable reoccurring traits are emphasized, creating standard forms of beauty.
It would be ignorant for me to say that attractiveness doesn’t matter simply because of the reason I previously explained. So many have based their sense of self-worth off this social criterion. I’m ugly if my complexion is uneven, my eyebrows aren’t shaped, my eyes are too far apart, the bridge of my nose is crooked, my thighs touch…
And make-up has done a lot to both alleviate and worsen these insecurities.
Make-up allows women, and some men, to see themselves in a fresh perspective that dissolves their insecurities; as they lose these insecurities, they grow in confidence and find more beauty in their outer appearance, and as they learn to love the outside, they start to accept themselves for who they are on the inside. And as they grow comfortable with themselves, women and men can use make-up as a form of self-expression, just like we use clothing and hair. On the other side, make-up may also be used as a mask. People become too insecure about their own natural beauty and rely on make-up to make them “beautiful.” Instead, they end up just worsening their skin and because they’re using similar products to achieve the conventional look, they start to look like everyone else. This is why I can’t stand make-up companies.
They make millions upon millions each year based upon people’s insecurities. These companies tell women how they should look. They provide an example—an image of a woman perfectly plucked, airbrushed, and photoshoped to perfection. This is the unachievable standard. And these companies tell consumers that it is possible to look like the absolutely flawless woman if they buy their products. But because the insatiable task is disguised only as Herculean, women and men will come back for more and more until they reach the marketed standard of beauty.
This is why it’s ironic that Monáe and P!nk with their unique dispositions would be spokeswomen for a company that—despite what it says—promotes conformity. What makes these women individuals makes them beautiful.
In the end, CoverGirl is sending a mixed message. They chose women who don’t conform to societal standards of beauty and behavior, praise them for it, and then stick them into the beauty mold they are praised for rebelling from. That’s taking away the very reason why P!nk and Monáe are role models.
I think, CoverGirl, that you’re confusing the term “role model” with perfectionism. You should be like this women because she’s the ideal! That’s wrong. Role models are beautiful because they aren’t perfect. They’re perfectly themselves. Don’t taint their image to make a few bucks. People shouldn’t have to live up to your standards.