Spotted: The NUDE Project and Why I’m totally here for it

I was scouring my Facebook News Feed when I saw this striking photo pictured down below.  I had to do a double take and click the link.


Photo by Anastasia Warren

This photo is part of a special project called Not My Nude by Anastasia Warren which exhibits women of colour wearing makeup shades or underwear that has been labelled as “nude” in our mainstream society. This is how Warren, who is a student at New York’s School of Visual Arts, describes this project:

“These women have skin tones that contradict the white standard implied by assigning a color to the word “nude”. Not My Nude is examining the cause and effect of micro-aggressions.”

Makeup and micro-aggression?

The two words least likely to be used in the same sentence. Micro-aggression is a term coined in the 1970s by Harvard University professor and psychiatrist Chester H. Pine that referred to “insults and statements made to black people by white people.”

From that came micro-aggression theory which Columbia University professor Derald Sue calls “brief, commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

So how does micro-aggression theory relate to the makeup and beauty industry of today?

Well, it assumes this notion of “one shade fits all” similar to clothing that boasts ” one size fits all”. It is assumed that foundation shades deemed as “cocoa”,”sable”, or “cappuccino,” can fit all black women or South Asian women. It doesn’t take into consideration our undertones, our skin types (dry or oily skin) or any skin needs we may have.

We’re expected to fit into the box.

Like I mentioned in my previous blog post about the start of my makeup addiction, it  was common for me to pick up the darkest shade at the drugstore only to find that it was either too light, too dark or too red.

So, I had to opt to higher-end brands and going to places like Sephora where they offered an array of makeup brands. YouTube became a place where I discovered makeup companies that catered to all women of different ethnicities, as well as makeup techniques  that were specifically geared to women of colour.

So when I look at the images of women of colour in these nude and flesh tone shades that are supposed to considered “natural”, it reminds me that we have to continue attacking these European standards of beauty that  tell us that we have to “fit in the box”.

See more of Anastasia Warren’s project here.

Till next time ~ The Makeup Enthusiast

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