I’m pretty sure Make Up For Ever had folks like the Feministing community in mind when they put together this ad:
The ad claims to be the first for make up that isn’t retouched. The feminist critique of retouched images of models has gone mainstream, so I’m not surprised to see a make up company engage with it directly. But I see this more as an attempt to co-opt the critique in order to sell a product than actual progress. Don’t get me wrong, I love make up – my feminism has equal space for stilettos and work boots. But this ad still represents a very specific beauty standard – the model is still incredibly thin, white, blond, the photo’s still lit and shot professionally to make her look as smooth, thin, and pale as possible, and the make up is still done by a professional. In fact, pointing out the ad wasn’t retouched serves to make this unattainable idea of beauty seem more real. Retouching is part of the problem of what the beauty industry’s selling us, but it really just scratches the surface.
So kudos to feminism for pushing this issue to the point where a major make up company starts engaging with our ideas in its ads. But sorry Make Up For Ever, you’re not gonna make me think you’ve gotten unproblematic that easily.