I’ll admit it- I take seriously guilty pleasure in perusing celebrity gossip magazines. My favorite feature is when they show the celebrities in their everyday lives- at the grocery store, in sweatpants, and- best of all- without makeup on.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised when Buzzfeed released a list of “33 Startling Photos of Porn Stars” without makeup. And yet, I found myself mildly peeved. Perhaps it was the comparison of photos- one of the woman with makeup, and one without directly next to it. But that alone isn’t upsetting, those are just the images. It’s how the images were framed that got to me- images that were apparently “startling.”
I see where Buzzfeed was going with this. The images are certainly shocking, especially those that involve a lack of eyebrows or medically enhanced lips. But by framing the images as “startling” straight from the get-go, readers weren’t given much space to form their own opinions- they were already preconditioned to see these women as “ugly” without makeup on.
These images also got me thinking about the notions of beauty that accompany the porn industry. Granted, I didn’t recognize any of these women from the feminist/queer porn industry, so I have to remind myself that the beauty ideals within the framework of this particular article are a bit different. Still, I was shocked by how many of these women looked “unnatural” without their makeup on. A few of them didn’t change that much when they painted their faces:
But for many of these women, it’s clear how much the makeup covers all of their cosmetic surgery. I was really surprised by how many of them had painfully clear evidence of work done- on their lips, their eyebrows, and, not as surprisingly, their breasts. But why get the work done if you need makeup to make it look real?
All criticisms of the skewed beauty ideal (and a laundry list of other issues I have) in the mainstream porn industry aside, I have to give these ladies props. Being naked on camera is one thing, but being completely bare is another thing altogether.
All images in this post are from the Buzzfeed article.