Makeup Free Selfies Teach Women to Embrace Themselves


There has been a recent trend across Facebook where women and some have been posting makeup-free selfies over the last month or so.  This has been a challenge for some and not for others, depending how much makeup they routinely wear; the trend, however, does not appear to have its roots in simply teaching women to embrace themselves as they are.   Over 1,500 selfies have cropped up in the last month in particular.  The “raw” selfies appear to be in solidarity with actress Kim Novak, who was criticized for her physical appearance at the Academy Awards March 2.

Author Laura Lippman, known for her Tess Monaghan series, felt bad for the actress, who is likely best known for her starring turn in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.  Now 81, Novak drew wide criticism for having had what appeared to have been extensive plastic surgery.  She has also made headlines in the press for diagnoses of breast cancer (2010) and bipolar disorder (2012).

Lippman was upset about Novak being targeted for her looks, and she posted a natural, makeup free selfie on Facebook in solidarity, challenging others to do the same.  To her shock, she was inundated with photos, and the trend has leapt from the United Kingdom to North America as well.  Men and women alike have been posting selfies since Lippman’s original selfie March 4 on Twitter, and the “raw” selfies have popped up on Facebook as well.

Selfies themselves are not new, as self-portraiture has existed for decades, but these makeup free selfies have gone a long way towards teaching women to embrace who they are.  Many have been irritated by the selfies that have hit social media over the last several years, but it seems to be a continuing trend, with studies having just been completed to determine current trends in selfies – which city, for instance, smiles more (that title belongs to Bangkok) in selfies.

The term seems to have been introduced by an Australian known as Hopey, who shot a self-image after having fallen face first at a friend’s 21st birthday party.  He was seeking advice about whether or not he needed stitches, and said, “Sorry about the focus, but it’s a selfie,” thus introducing the word that would become the 2013 word of the year for the Oxford Dictionary.

The “raw” selfie is a trend that continues to grow, though it should come as no surprise that few people may actually realize the reason why the trend began in the first place.  After seeing how much the makeup free selfies have helped women – and some men – come to embrace themselves, Lippman says men and women alike seem to have grown frustrated with being judged on their appearance above all other things.  A man identified as “The Hyperbolyst” on Twitter says the exercise was “strangely moving”, and another identified as David J. Montgomery also took “raw” selfies, and by doing so, seem to have further supported Kim Novak.  While the actress does not seem to have commented about the trend she has inadvertently sparked, the selfies experiment appears to have sparked a worldwide trend that continues even now.

By Christina St-Jean


The Selfie

Psychology Today

Daily Mail


Daily Mail




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