Sunday, 15 May 2016

I Looked Into Myself Like A Case With You, You Don't Weigh Me Down Like You Think You Do... (Are IG Baddies the unsung beauty trendsetters of this generation?)

 This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and stumbled upon this article from UK Vogue titled 'How Fake Lashes Got Cool', accompanied by a picture of a young woman called Sarah Snyder who i'd never heard of until I made the mistake of clicking through and reading the article. Apparently she is Jayden Smith's girlfriend. If you do not wish to read it, the bones of the short article (which admittedly is just a thinly veiled advertisement for a few brands of false lashes Vogue is pushing) are that this fresh faced, skinny white blonde girl wears fake eyelashes all the time and this is apparently cool, new and trendsetting of her because she usually wears otherwise simple makeup, unlike the 'perma-tan girls in body con dresses' with whom false lashes are apparently traditionally associated with. So non-orange white girls take note- the false lash stigma is now gone- go and buy some!

Sarah Snyder and her 'trendsetting' fale lashes

I don't know what it is that got to me about this piece in particular. After all, misattributing the popularity of beauty and fashion trends to white girls is absolutely nothing new and happens in these types of publications all the time- Kylie Jenner being the most obvious recent example, having single handedly started wigs and invented lips. But even for sloppy western fashion media this is a hot ass mess. There are sooooooo many Black girls who wear false lashes as part of their everyday look now that you can visit any high school with Black students in attendance and see half the girls rocking falsies. The lash revolution was massive and it happened years ago with the introduction of semi permanent lashes and the growing popularity of eyelash enhancement that meant a better offering of affordable falsies becoming available on the high street. The pioneering make-up whizz's popularising them in everyday looks for ordinary women aren't invisible online either- they're pretty much running Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, Twitter and any other social media platform you can think of, attracting droves of followers in the process and they are regularly Beat. To. Absolute. Perfection. I'm talking about: beat hair, beat nails, beat clothes, beat makeup- beat lashes and beat selfies...

Instagram @sonjdradeluxe

Instagram @heathersanders 

Instagram @itsreesiie 

Instagram +ItsMyRayeRaye 

Instagram +msroshposh 

Instagram @jomichelleartistry

  I think what really riled me about the story was that it described Sarah Snyder as 'one Instagram IT-girl that is giving falsies a fresh approach'. Oh please! False lashes aren't in need of a fresh approach. Beat Black girls on IG are already serving fresh lash look after fresh lash look, from the dramatic to the subtle. The Beat Black girl look is just not palatable enough for Vogue for them to advertise false lashes off the back of it. The Beat Black girl look is assumed to be off-putting to Vogue's readers. The Beat Black Girl is not 'cool'. I checked the Cambridge Online Dictionary for the definition of 'cool'. The 3rd entry was 'fashionably attractive or impressive' and the synonyms included: 'trendy', 'funky', 'happening' and 'in'. Spearheaded by Black women, Instagram Baddies are arguably some of the most influential and copied girls on the scene. They wield huge consumer power through their large audiences and many even have their own lines of make-up and eyelashes. I try to limit the time I spend looking at their accounts because my self-esteem is low enough already welp!, but who is more 'fashionably attractive' and 'happening' (lol, that phrase reminds me of my mum), more 'trendy' than the beat Black IG baddie who has grown herself a loyal following of 100,000+ people? This is a movement that has happened outside the rigid rules of what is in Vogue (ha). Carving out a niche for themselves that caters to audiences who fall outside the parameters of skinny whiteness. Vogue went so far as to write their own set of style rules for how false lashes should be worn- 'Keep it simple and leave the contour kit for another day'... OK then, thanks... Not so subtle shade duly noted!

For Vogue and other white publications, the image of a Cool Black Girl is a narrow and controlled one that comes in the form of women and girls like: Willow Smith, Amandla Stenberg, Solange Knowles and Zoe Kravitz. Obvious colourism aside (something that I know is also problematic within IG baddie culture as well... But that is another issue for another time), fashion and beauty wise these people all fit into the Vogue paradigm of coolness. Don't get me wrong, I like all those women, but through no fault of their own they make for easy reference points when it comes to featuring a token ethnic. Vogue would probably rather close down tomorrow than do a piece like this using Blac Chyna as their credited source of trendsetting beauty inspiration. Yet Black women such as Blac Chyna, Amber Rose and many others continue to lead the way in what's popular in beauty and hair, never managing to escape the labels of 'ratchet' and 'ghetto' that plague Black women while the white girls they inspire go on to be branded cool and trendsetting by Vogue, Elle and countless other fashion and lifestyle publications.

Now unlike with braids and certain styles of dress, I have no qualms with white people wearing false lashes. Why would I? False lashes are for everyone who wants to wear them and they are certainly worn cross culturally to stunning effect. I'm just saying that in an age where people power is exposing beauties and make-up talents who are setting the beauty agenda of so many women, it's time to start giving credit where credit is due... Sarah Snyder is behind the trend, not the leader of it... But I suppose this is a bit of a water is wet post. Point is... The jig is up Vogue. The 'eye-lash renaissance' already happened, you just weren't a part of it! xx

(P.S. Title = lyrics to 'Choose Me' from James Blake's incredible new album The Colour In Anything)

**I don't own any of the images used in this post. They are featured for the purpose of observation only. If you own any of the photos and would like to have them removed, please e-mail me and I will do so**

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