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08th May 2017

COMMENT: Why we need to see more photos of makeup-free women

Good on you Dee. We need more women like you in the age of Instagram faux-reality.

When you look at this photo what do you see? A healthy, bouncing baby boy? An ecstatic and beaming new mum who has just been through one of the most difficult things that Mother Nature throws at women’s bodies? A beautiful image of mother and son clinging to each other in an aura of pure love?

Apparently, all some women can see is the fact that this woman – who has just GIVEN BIRTH – isn’t wearing any makeup.

I was not expecting to hear my own gender (in fact ONLY my own gender) commenting that “he could have let her put her face on first” or “she must be raging he posted that”. Now I don’t know about you but, personally, I was working on the assumption that a) posting the first picture of their baby was a decision they made as a couple, b) her made-up state or lack thereof is nothing to do with her man as Dee is an autonomous human being, and c) both she and her other half were happy with her (perfectly normal) appearance accommodating for the fact that she had just had a baby.

This photo, posted by a proud partner and father, is just the nice firm dose of reality the media and some women need. In our culture of celebrity and instant upload where anyone can be a social media star, having a baby has been turned into yet another Instagram production; making women somehow believe that the first thing Dee should have done before being photographed with her baby was put on her face. Weird.

I hazard a guess that there are thousands of women up and down the country missing out on having those first precious moments with their newborn photographed for fear of not looking their best. Newsflash mamas: you’re not supposed to look your best. You’re supposed to look exhausted, slightly bewildered, and have your sweaty hair scraped back. You’re supposed to be holding your baby, not your contour brush.

It’s not just new mothers falling into the trap of “don’t you dare take my photo, I’ve no makeup on” either. Be honest, how many holidays, special occasions, and group shots have you ducked out of, claiming you’re not social-media-ready? In the wise words of Baz Luhrmann:

“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind you will never understand the power and the beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in twenty years you will look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.”

That is, of course, if you’re actually in the photo in the first place.

Let’s resist the urge to comment on women’s appearance above all the other attributes we could choose to talk about. Let’s not teach our daughters and the next generation of mothers that once they’ve pushed a baby out or been through major surgery, the first thing they should think about is reaching for their mascara. Let’s practice what we preach in feminism and ask ourselves how disgusted and high-horsey we would be if we heard such commentary coming from the opposite sex.

So, here’s a timely reminder ladies: beautiful glowing-from-the-inside-out Dee is normal, this is bullshit…