NATURAL UNADORNED CELEBRITIES: POSITIVE TREND OR THE BEGINNING OF THE FUTURE?

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JESSICA SIMPSON’S MARIE CLAIRE spread makes her the latest brave celebrity (there aren’t many) who has been willing to be seen by a mass audience without the prerequisite beautification process.

“I think she was at a place in her life where she felt comfortable doing it,” said the magazine’s editor in chief Joanna Coles.

While few are willing to go where JESSICA has, more are popping up.

Unretouched shots of BRITNEY SPEARS from a Candie’s ad surfaced recently on the net next to other images the company actually used.

MARIE CLAIRE had asked many celebrities to go bare faced. But none had agreed, Joanna Coles commented.

According to Ms. Coles, JESSICA was motivated by her VH1 show THE PRICE OF BEAUTY. The program had her travelling the globe with two friends to examine standards of beauty around the world.

“I think it changed the way she thought about things. I think making that show was really quite a profound experience for her. There was something very liberating for her about doing this. I just think she’s an interesting person to do it with because she is usually so packaged.”

So few have gone unadorned that those who do earn notice – both positive and negative.

“It’s a gimmick,” remarked Lesley Jane Seymour, MORE’S editor in chief. “Aside from a gimmick, you are not going to see many celebrities bare faced. They can’t even go to the mall bare faced.”

European publications first photographed women without makeup and no retouching last year. Then the trend crossed the Atlantic. Often, it’s the celebrities and their publicists who demand more retouching, Ms. Seymour stated.

In JESSICA’S case, what’s the risk? She’s beautiful with or without makeup, Ms. Seymour stated.

DOVE has accurately depicted authentic women in photos in their print promotions since 2004 as part of their Campaign For Real Beauty. The company also uses real women instead of professional models in ads.

A study conducted for DOVE made executives realize they should encourage women and girls to build a positive relationship to beauty, said Kathy O’Brien, the vice president for personal care of DOVE’S parent company, Unilever. Only two per cent of women around the world described themselves as beautiful in the study.

“I think it’s encouraging that we are seeing more and more individuals or organizations embrace this idea of real beauty.”

Lisa Wade, whose areas of expertise includes sexuality as power, the media and feminism, teaches at Occidental College. She said JESSICA SIMPSON and others are going natural voluntarily and have control over the images as opposed to paparazzi photos that emerge without their permission.

“We actually do have lots and lots of celebrities when their makeup isn’t perfect. What is amazing and what we find so intriguing is that they choose to be seen that way.”

Looking at less than perfect photos of celebrities makes their status “not that unattainable” to those who view them, Ms. Wade reasoned.

“We internalize the idea that beautiful people are better in every way and then we are told by society that we don’t measure up.”

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