Skip to main content

Once again, the women of the world owe Amy Schumer a big thank you for keeping it real. A video from last year has resurfaced and is making the rounds again on social media in anticipation of Season 3 of her hit show Inside Amy Schumer. The video, entitled “Girl You Don’t Need Makeup,” begins with your stereotypical boy band dancing around a lovely looking Amy, crooning and clapping about how she’s “got that inner natural glow,” and encouraging her to go back and wash her face because she didn’t need makeup. Huzzah! 

Girl you don’t need makeup
You’re perfect when you wake up
Just walk around like that all day

Of course, this being Amy Schumer, the bit does not end there. Amy comes back with her fresh face and a big smile, and the boy band quickly changes tactics.

Girl you don’t need makeup
You’re perfect when you wake up
Just don’t go out like that okay?

Things continue to go downhill from there—although the downhill slide is accompanied by a very catchy tune that you will be hard pressed to get out of your head—with lyrics like: "I didn’t know that your lashes were so stubby and pale… Just a little mascara and you’ll look female." My personal favorite line goes like this: "You see, it’s like I tore up the shag carpet assuming there were hardwood floors underneath, but it turned out to be just dirty linoleum. These are just metaphors girl, but they are about your face."

I laughed out loud when I saw this video and then proceeded to watch it at least five more times to make sure I didn’t miss any of the amazing (horrible) lyrics. But it did get me thinking about the perception of what women actually look like without makeup, or shapewear, or a perfectly angled selfie lens. 

Let’s face it—unless you are the world’s most self-assured human being, you’ve compared yourself, at least once, to an image that is not at all reflective of reality. I know I have. 

While I must admit I love makeup and am devoted to Sephora, I totally get the frustration conveyed in this video about the mixed messages and double standards that are constantly promoted by the world around us. Women’s magazines (Verily happily excluded) are notorious for publishing articles about how men prefer a natural look alongside a bazillion advertisements featuring the least natural looking women in the world. Beyond the fact that what men prefer should not be at issue when it comes to how a woman wants to dress or wear makeup, sorry guys, there is the disturbing reality that many men seem to have no clue what a woman over the age of 16 looks like without makeup.

It’s hard to blame them—even the images we see of “natural beauty” in the media are not natural at all. There is either a lot of natural looking makeup at work smoothing out skin tone and lengthening lashes, or a filter is put on the lens to give a rosy, dewy glow. Not to mention that lighting is arranged just so to make bone structure pop. Sadly, the result of all of this is that the concept of what women ACTUALLY look like without any sort of enhancement is getting lost. (For further proof of this, check out this Buzzfeed article.)

This kind of misconception can lead to all sorts of double standards for women. Rachel Bloom, the star of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, recently made the excellent point that women in the entertainment industry are basically in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Bloom said: It’s funny because women are praised for looking young. It’s like, 'Oh, at her age she looks so young!' Yet if it’s found out that they had plastic surgery, it’s, 'Oh, that phony b****! She had plastic surgery!' It’s double talk and double standards... be honest, but don’t be too honest. Look fresh-faced and young, but don’t tell us how you got there. God forbid you have plastic surgery, even though we’re telling you, 'Oh, you look old.'” 

Granted, most women don’t work in movies or television, but that mentality has a definite trickle-down effect. What Schumer and Bloom prove is that women deserve to be cut a little slack. Sure, we all love to consume media, but we have to do so in a responsible and discerning way. If we aren't able to tell what's real from what's fake—or worse, if we come to always prefer the fake look—we're headed in a bad direction.

Kudos to Amy Schumer, Rachel Bloom, and all the other women out there speaking up and reminding the world about the mixed messages we are sending each other. Wear makeup or don’t wear makeup, but don’t make that choice based on what other people tell you you should look like. The only person you should look like is yourself. 

Photo: Comedy Central