By Alexis Wolfer

Makeup Free Mondays is about empowerment and appreciating our Real Beauty. It is not about being “caught” less than perfect or analyzing “flaws.” It never has been. Yet two things happened last week that made me feel it necessary to reiterate this point – not only for you all, but for myself as well.

Untouched

For holiday gifts this year, I gave Johnny Rozsa’s Untouched, a book of unretouched/photoshopped celebrity photographs. Flipping through it with my dear friend Michael Angelo last week, though, I found us – two people equally bound to the Real Beauty movement  – commenting on one star’s less-than-perfect skin, pointing to another star’s cellulite. We caught ourselves and stopped. This very clearly was neither the point of the book nor the intention of the gift.

While there is benefit to seeing that celebrities are not “perfect” – it can make us recognize how unrealistic (and contrived) the beauty ideals set forth in most media are – it is important that we don’t bring others down in the process. The point of Untouched, Makeup Free Mondays or anything else I stand for is never about catching someone looking “bad” and thus feeling better about ourselves. It is about having intelligent conversations about what it means to be beautiful, expanding the definition of beauty and promoting self-confidence.

Katy Perry: Makeup Free

The day after Michael and I had the above conversation, he sent me a link to an article on Russell Brand apparently posting a makeup-free, caught-off-guard, less-than-flattering picture of Katy Perry on Twitter– and it got me thinking again.

The picture appears to be Katy Perry having just woken up. She looks surprised, sleepy, and well, nowhere near “camera ready.” The picture was quickly removed (online speculation suggests it was removed at the strong request of Perry), but not, of course, before taking on a life all its own on the Internet. What I found most interesting, though, was the fact that the plethora of online comments, blog posts and even newspaper articles seemed to be focusing on the fact that she isn’t wearing makeup (um, do you wear makeup to bed?! Hope not!) and that the picture is unflattering because she’s not wearing makeup.

I, however, beg to differ – and thought it only appropriate to respond in the context of Makeup Free Mondays.

It is not Perry’s lack of makeup that makes this shot unflattering. I am sure that she is gorgeous both with and without makeup. This photo is unbecoming of the star because it caught her off guard and wasn’t taken on her terms.

While I don’t suppose to have any idea about the confluence of events that led to the taking (and removing) of the picture, nor about Katy Perry’s thoughts on this issue, I do think that far too much attention is being put on the fact that she was makeup free – god forbid! – and the fact that she doesn’t look “perfect,” whatever that means.

This is not, however, what Makeup Free Mondays is about. Makeup Free Mondays is not about being caught naked. It’s not about paparazzi pictures of stars taken with telephoto lenses, through shrubs and fences. It is not about highlighting one’s flaws. And it is certainly not about analyzing the flaws of others (or ourselves) in makeup free pictures! (In fact, I chose not to even repost Perry’s Makeup Free picture here because it appears not to have been taken willingly – and The Beauty Bean has made a conscious decision to only post Makeup Free Mondays pictures explicitly given to us for that purpose.)

Makeup Free Mondays is about empowerment. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about being beautiful just the way you are. It’s about doing all of this on your own terms. It’s about promoting confidence, not tearing people down or putting them in positions they find compromising.

I encourage you all, today, on this Makeup Free Monday, not only to appreciate your own Real Beauty and the Real Beauty of others (Katy Perry included), but also to commit to be kinder to yourself and to others. (New Year’s resolution, perhaps?) Let people reveal their makeup free pictures on their own terms. Don’t support paparazzi-like, caught-off-guard images of celebrities. (Heck, I surely wouldn’t have wanted my picture taken first thing this morning!) And, most importantly, don’t criticize others’ Makeup Free pictures – on Mondays or any other days.

Katy Perry is not only physically gorgeous, but also she is much more than just her looks. She is a complete person with talents, quirks, passions and insecurities. We all are. So, let’s celebrate those things!

Photography Credit: KatyPerry.com