My job usually looks like this: 9 am: power walk from my house to the office, 9:32 am: roll up to the office 2 minutes late, covered in sweat and sit down with our fabulous editor Sara to pitch her ideas for articles, 9:35 am: because Sara is kind and wise she lets me write about these ideas (like this article!) and at 9:45 am I spend the rest of the day researching and writing these stories, and thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner. Sorry that last bit isn’t really part of my job description, I just really like dinner.
But honestly, as a writer you don’t always get to choose what you write about. I’m lucky. For the most part writers all across the world wide web are being asked by their editors to write articles like 3 Ways to Look Like a Victoria’s Secret Model or 8 Million Tips for Looking Hot on the Beach this Summer, and you would be astounded by how well these articles do for website traffic. The truth of the matter is these kind of articles are like the McDonald’s of internet browsing- they’re quick, addictive, and profitable. But at the end of the day they will clog the shit out of your arteries.
So yes, I understand why sometimes beauty blogging and magazines have a bad rap. By now everyone knows that looking like a Victoria’s Secret model is an unattainable standard of beauty, and that there is only one step to getting a bikini body, 1) put a bikini on your body. But I’m not writing off beauty writing altogether, because I also think it has a limitless capacity to provide women with the tools for being their most bad-ass selves. We just need to change the dialogue.
In an article titled Why I Don’t Wear Makeup, Leandra Medine, the creator and Editor in Chief of Man Repeller, describes a conversation she had with her mother. Medine’s mom says something along the lines of Makeup is meant to enhance the natural beauty of a woman, so, really, why wouldn’t you use it?
This doesn’t sit well for Leandra. Even though Medine has built her whole career around beauty and style blogging, she knows the difference between giving her readers McDonalds versus a soul-filling balanced meal that will foster their inner #Girlboss. In Medine’s letter she replies, Man Repelling is an attitude. It is a state of existence. It is not whether you do your hair or curl your lashes, or even what you wear. It is how you approach doing those things. Why you do those things, and perhaps most importantly, it is a love letter to individuality, which is something that manifests itself in plentifully different ways.
This is what beauty writing should be about” individuality, creativity, and expression. So consider this my personal vow to you and also to myself. I will never tell you you need to look a certain way or wear makeup to be considered beautiful. I will only try and show you the plentiful ways you can harness your individuality and the options that are available to you. Because in the wise, wise, words of a little known British pop boy band” baby you’re worth it.
Liz Willcock, writer, girl, human on the internet.