Tyra Banks' No-Makeup Selfie Reminds Us What "Real" Can Look Like


Think what you see in magazines — and on Instagram — is "real"?

Tyra Banks interrupted our filtered, contoured, perfectly lit Instagram feeds Wednesday by posting a statement-making photo: the rare no-makeup selfie.

"You deserve to see the REAL me": Tyra explained the photo in a lengthy, Tyra-style caption:

You know how people say #nofilter but you know there's a freakin' filter on their pic? Or maybe there's a smidge of retouching going on but they're lying and saying it's all raw & real? Well, this morn, I decided to give you a taste of the really real me. I wanted to smooth out my dark circles so badly!!! But I was like, "Naw, Ty. Show 'em the REAL you." So...here I am. Raw. And there YOU are...looking at me, studying this picture. Maybe you're thinking, "Whoa, she looks ROUGH." And if you are, great! You deserve to see the REAL me. The REALLY real me. #RawAndReal

There is, of course, a downside to celebrating "no makeup" as an empowering cause; as Lauren Davidson, writing for Micpreviously noted, "Reclaiming natural has been warped into a bizarre brand of 'bravery' for daring to upload a makeup-less picture." Looking like a normal unadorned human being shouldn't have to be considered an audacious rebuttal of womanhood, much less headline-worthy.

The power of the truth: But given the world we live in, models and actresses going makeup- and filter-free can have a powerful positive effect: It can remind everyone, especially young female fans, that so much of what we see is fake — bronzed, lightened, airbrushed, pixelated. 

It's not just the Instagram filters and magazine Photoshop; it's the layers of makeup that give the illusion of flawless skin, and the seductive power of contouring that gives the impression of high cheekbones and slender chins.

In short, makeup and filters and airbrushing add up to create beauty standards that literally cannot be achieved without cosmetic or digital enhancement. As Banks' fellow Sports Illustrated swimsuit alum Chrissy Teigen told New York magazine:

"Even on television I am full of fake hair and covered in body makeup head to toe. Those full lashes have been applied meticulously one by one, my teeth have spent more hours in a dentist chair than I ever imagined. We have a team of people whose sole job is to make people appear close to perfect. And oh, the retouching. My bathroom mirror on any normal day would laugh hysterically if you told it I was flawless in any way!" 

That's crucial for women to know as they strive for these unattainable ideals. Studies have shown gazing upon seemingly perfect women in magazines makes us feel depressed or guilty and can hurt our self-esteem. And yet we keep feeling inspired by them, using them as our unconscious targets for beauty.

The more we can realize the targets we're striving for — eyes sans dark circles, perfectly white teeth, eyelashes for miles — are false idols, the more we can start striving for a new goal: feeling happy with what we've got.


h/t Yahoo Beauty