The Alarming Praise Towards Alicia Keys at the Recent VMAs

The annual VMA awards show occurred this past weekend, and as per usual tabloids are declaring who wore what best and who looked the most exceptional in regards to makeup and wardrobe. There has been much coverage in regards to singer Alicia Keys and her appearance at the awards, and the reasoning behind such coverage is disturbing, in my opinion.

Keys chose to attend the award show sans makeup. Yes, you read that correctly – an A list celebrity female arrived at the VMAs with a makeup-free face, and a lot of people are talking about it.

Dont fret – a majority of the coverage Keys is receiving is positive. She is being praised for attending a public event without makeup on, and she is being referred to as brave, bold, and furthermore as a role model for young girls. While all this sounds quite peachy, there is a dark undertone to the recognition Keys is experiencing. By praising Keys’ choice to go without makeup to the awards show, tabloids and critics are communicating a message to women everywhere that wearing makeup is wrong, and that going without is admirable.

The irony of this situation is incredibly vast. While a Grammy winning singer may be congratulated for not wearing makeup out in public, women in everyday society who leave their house without makeup are often scrutinized, and are deemed as lazy or dishevelled. Furthermore, while in this one scenario a woman is being praised for going Au naturalé, tabloids typically go after female celebrities who are caught without makeup like vultures. Tabloids even have several pages in some editions of their magazines that display female celebrities sans makeup, with headlines screaming ‘stars: they’re just like us!’ Or ‘stars without makeup!’ This behaviour screams the message at women everywhere that makeup is mandatory in order to be respected, though simultaneously suggests going makeup-free is admirable and brave. Could this circumstance be anymore hypocritical?

While Keys made a bold move at the VMAs, it is frightening that she is being labeled as a hero for simply choosing not to contour her nose or highlight her brow bone. Her choice to go without makeup was ultimately her own, and it should not signify the type of woman she is.

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