The People Who Treat You Differently After Sex

It’s not your imagination. You had an intimate encounter with a friend, and somehow, it seems that your genitals zapped them through to the Twilight Zone. Suddenly, they are calling you “bro” and “pal”. Or perhaps planning your wedding? Or even serving you up some cold, fresh apathy?

What gives when you give someone head one time and they let it swallow every meaningful thing that previously happened within your friendship?

I thought I had intimacy issues. And I do. I can’t stand to be touched unless I’m very comfortable or familiar with someone. Even then, it’s no guarantee – not by a long shot. Most of the time, proximity is a poison to me, but I have a lot of experience with my own idiosyncrasies and my own inexperience. I try to respect my own boundaries, but at the same time, assure others that the problem is mine and I’m working on it. My own mental health issues and my social unbecomings are points of sharp awareness and clear visibility, perhaps to the entire universe. No matter how embarrassing, I like to explain myself and over-explain myself, just to make sure no one is seeing my issues as a reflection of themselves.

I think lots of people with higher self-esteem and a more experienced touch than me have intimacy issues too, but rather than clumsily acknowledge them, it is far more unspoken. The blame ends up falling upon whoever stumbles into its haphazard path. It’s difficult not to take other people personally in respect to what they make you feel, but it’s important to live through that emotion and observe its patterns. Eventually, the results will come back negative: it really isn’t you, it’s them.

Sure, sometimes it seems initially awkward to interact with someone after a sexual encounter. But it becomes quickly apparent when temporary awkwardness morphs into a completely different beast. Genitals may look like aliens, but friendships shouldn’t feel that way.

I have known some amazing creatures and some utterly bullshit humans. Mostly, though, they have fallen somewhere in between. The complexity of imperfection is that it is difficult to distinguish who is a good person treating you badly, and who is a bad person who treats you well when it suits them. Even my life’s villains have not always been figureheads of cruelty. Generally, they are apathetic, selfish or just emotionally reckless. People don’t tend to realize they’re doing something unkind, either through denial or ignorance. If they did, I like to think that they wouldn’t do it. Nonetheless, the accountability is still there, but so is forgiveness for those who deserve it.

Dysfunction sometimes comes to a head during intimacy – pun intended. Other than their flesh, people are a bit like computers. And while sometimes you might need an expert’s help to tinker and debug you, it’s pretty handy to have some basic savvy with your own circuits and to understand malfunction in those of others. You can’t learn anything about why someone operates in the way they do without cracking open some motherboards to see what makes them tick, even if it doesn’t always go as expected.

Perhaps I cannot expect everyone to be super in-tune with their thoughts and actions at all times, but I can sure call attention to it and see if they respond with a willingness to communicate openly. Sometimes, the plain truth can shock others into sincerity. “Is there a reason for the fact that ever since we fucked, you’ve been refusing to stand without a six-foot buffer zone between us, as if you’re standing at an appropriate distance in an ATM queue?” may sound like a horrifying mouthful, but it’s scarier on the receiving end and its directness commands a similar directness in return. When it incites defensiveness or cock-and-bull excuses, there is an answer in that behavior as well. Bare butts are a lot less frightening than looking someone in the naked eye and owning your words.

Sex shouldn’t have an impact on how humanized or dehumanized someone makes you feel. Hang up on their hang-ups.

If they try to make it weird, make it weirder.

 

Tell Me Your Stories

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Wikimedia Commons

Lately, I have discovered that I love to hear people tell me their stories. My past few jobs have been in the service industry, and gave me the opportunity to interact with the public on a daily basis. In all of those roles, the part I liked best was listening to what customers would share about their lives and what journeys brought them to my workplace. 

 Recently, a woman came in tea shop I barista at, and I ended up having a short conversation with her and one of my coworkers. She told us that her son plays the organ and because of that was able to spend a year at Eton, a private boys school,  in the UK. While attending there, he got to have a brief conversation with the Dowager Queen Elizabeth, the mother of the current monarch. I was incredibly impressed. How many of us can say we got to converse with the Queen Mother herself?

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Wikimedia Commons

I can’t quite explain why I like hearing about other people’s experiences so much. Maybe it because I’m a writer, and real life can be some of the best inspiration. Or maybe it’s because I’m an empathetic person and I want to know what the people around me are feeling.

These intimate moments of connection with strangers are some of the more meaningful parts of my day. Life has infinite possibilities and we are never going to get to experience all of them. But our lives are enriched when we learn about someone else’s background. When I am empathetic, I feel like I can live vicariously and experience people’s lives alongside them.

 The show Bojack Horseman on Netflix has a line that has stuck with me since I watched the episode it’s said in.  “In this terrifying world, all we have are the connections that we make.” The more I think about it, the statement holds true. We often define ourselves by how we connect to others.  Everyone is someone else’s something. 

So many of life’s most important moments happen because of the smallest things. Moments become memories, memories become stories. Stories are shared and the circle of connection grows. I feel such joy when I realize that by hearing people, I become part of that circle.

With all of the ugly events that have happened recently, more than ever we need to connect. We need to listen to each other. And this isn’t meant to be a simple blanket statement about sharing good feelings. We really need to listen and try to understand the experiences of those who we share the world with.

Please don’t stop sharing your stories.

 

Contour Queen: The Power Of Makeup Revisited

A few years ago, I wrote a piece called “Send In The Clowns”. As a photography student who was enthralled by feminism and bodily autonomy, I captured my thoughts on makeup through a series of pictures that expressed my confusion- whether weaing makeup was feminist or not. Two years on, I would’ve never thought that my makeup journey would have progressed this much, and my thoughts around feminism related to makeup have finally become clear.

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I’ve had to defend my choice to wear makeup amongst feminist circles countless times, which was disheartening, to say the least, when I started out experimenting with makeup. I’ve always seen makeup as a form of self-care, so to be met with negativity (especially from people I looked up to) made me question whether I was damaging my feminist integrity.

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I can’t say when the turning point was. I just stopped caring. I slowly began to realise that I loved what makeup could do for me, and starting owning it. Being a perfectionist, I would spend hours upon hours replicating beautiful looks I’d seen, getting frustrated when I couldn’t get it 100% right. However, slowly but surely, I started getting it “right”. I didn’t have to meticulously plan out every look I was doing the night before, making sure I had all the right palettes ready for me to start first thing in the morning. It was so empowering.

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I still had thoughts that were harmful to myself and others around me; maybe I was better without makeup on, more natural, maybe I would be seen as intimidating to others by having strong brows and bold lips. Was I supporting an industry that makes it’s money by tearing women’s self-confidence down, telling them that a blemish is the end of the world, and that no one will love them if they have chubby cheeks? After some tough talks with myself, I came to realise that it was the intention behind my cosmetic obsession that what was really mattered in my personal journey. I wore makeup as an extension of my personality, as a creative outlet, and as part of a self-care routine; and identifying this felt profoundly feminist. 18579307_1898696840350555_2027954573_n

From this long and exhausting journey, I started to love my own skin. I became aware of why my skin would break out, and learnt to forgive myself for mistakes. I became more conscious on what would give me the best value for money in regards to what products I was buying, and hugely boosted my creativity. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and reaped the benefits of it. As I realised that I was good at what I do, I was being told that I looked confident, and I felt it.

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I have become aware of the flaws in the beauty industry. I try not to ignorant. I give advice where I can, and I learn as much as possible. I dedicated my Instagram to purely makeup (give it look here), and I practiced, practiced, practiced. I write makeup pieces for Rosewater. But most importantly, I feel confident, inside and out. This weird and wonderful art of makeup has allowed me to embody the sharpness of my eyeliner wings, the glow of my highlight, and the holographic wonder of my glitter. And even after a long, hard, exhausting day, if my cheekbones are contoured sharp enough to kill a man, it’s all worth it.

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Bring Yourself Back ~ Free Desktop Wallpaper

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Take time for yourself this Summer. You are important.

 

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Interview with Art: Pippin Lee Truman

We sat down with animator and illustrative artist Pippin Lee Truman to chat about their artwork, intersectionality, and their advice for fellow artists! Check out the interview below!

V: What inspires your artwork?

P: I would say that my inspiration mainly comes from the media around me, especially things like comics, because they’re such an interesting way of telling a story. At the same time, I’m really inspired by illustrations that incorporate different types of media, that maybe are part digital and part traditional. I often make comics out of everyday things that happen around me, like dreams that I’ve had- it helps me communicate abstract thought through art. It’s really a combination of lots of different things, but definitely other artists, especially ones that I grew up admiring. I love James Baxter, and classic Disney artists too.

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 V: Do you think the mundane, everyday experience is more inspirational than huge, impossible things? 

P: I’m a huge fan of absurdist humor, and that style that’s really popular on Tumblr. So making comics about dreams is a really fun way to explore communication, especially with those weird transitions that we all get in dreams. It’s a really fun way to explore as a storytelling device. I also make comics of my day-to-day life, conversations I have and little interactions I have, in order to capture those moments. Especially since I suffer from chronic depression, those mundane moments can be the nicest. Obviously, the everyday can be really tough when your feeling rough, but the mundane can be a really nice escape from it all. The little moments are really sweet to look back on, especially through my sketchbooks. 

V: So, you’re in university at the moment. What would you say are the main things you’ve learnt through studying art, and looking at it as a career?

P: The main thing I’ve found is that there is a huge separation between your working art and your doodling art. The difference between work and home has really helped me, especially when working in an industry environment, as my course is quite strict about that. I find myself much more productive when I’m in a stricter environment, working on tight deadlines, rather than at home relaxed. I set myself such strict goals, and then let myself relax when I was at home, so I can draw what I want. On such a tight schedule you don’t have the luxury of only working when you’re inspired- when you’re working on a project that is much bigger than yourself, you need to put that before your own inspiration. 

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V: What would be your advice to new artists to stop getting burnt out when working to a deadline? How to you keep the creativity flowing?

P: When I first started out, I would usually just doodle, and that’s where I did a lot of my growing. What worked for me, was studying other artists I really liked the work of. Years and years ago I came across some fan art for one of my favourite shows, and just started copying their style, because I loved their art. I gradually got better and better, because I was studying, but it was something I enjoyed studying. Obviously this only went so far- I found myself thinking that I didn’t need to study anatomy, because I had already got it. I now realize that made me look like a fool, because you need to study something in the 3D to properly translate it to the 2D. I started taking life drawing lessons, and still to this day take them too. Always try to be improving yourself, once you’ve learnt something, you can then break the rules too, which is such a lovely milestone to come to.  When you start to see your past mistakes, that’s when you know you’ve become a better artist.

V: Your work features a lot of people other than cis, able-bodied, white people, and it’s so great to see such intersectional artwork. What are your inspirations for creating such diversity in your characters?

P: I’m a massive believer that if your feminism isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism. If you’re not including all kinds of women, disabled people, or trans people, it’s not feminism. I’m transgender, I’m non-binary and I use they/them pronouns, and I’ve always been very outspoken about that in order to demand respect. I have a character called Jules, who when I was younger was very much a mirror of myself and who I wanted to be, and he’s really androgynous. He’s actually his own character now, and I draw him every so often. He was born out of my own gender and sexuality questioning, so I like to draw characters that aren’t similar to myself, because other wise I wouldn’t be challenging myself as an artist. I live in Birmingham in the UK, so it wouldn’t occur to me to not draw people of diversity, because I grew up surrounded by so many different people. In school I grew up around people of different races and religions, so if you’re not drawing the people around you, you’re not representing them. I obviously still have some learning to do about racism, and ableism, and we have to find out our own information on topics like that. I constantly have to educate people on what non-binary is, or what transgender is. It comes along in leaps and strides, and sometimes it doesn’t. I see people saying that, for example, they can’t draw fat people, because it’s too hard- but it’s really not, it’s exactly the same as learning to draw anyone else. Everyone needs to be engaging with intersectionality, because we are all linked with it. ahahahahahaha

V: How has drawing people other than cis, able-bodied and white been received by your colleagues and lecturers? 

P: I’ve had a couple of occasions where teachers or fellow students don’t seem to connect with my work. A lot of the time, my main experience is with being trans. I’m completely out at university, and have been for a while. In the first few weeks of university they had my legal name on the registers, even though my preferred name is different. I wouldn’t respond to my legal name being called out, and would be marked absent, which was a huge problem academically. Another time, we had to choose a clip to animate a lip-synch to. The clip that I chose was with two voices, one being a higher pitch and one being a lower pitch, and I decided to do it with two girlfriends, with one being a trans woman. In my head, she suited the lower voice, so I put her to lip-synch with that voice, and everyone misgendered my character! Obviously in that situation no one was getting hurt, but it was very odd to have to deal with that. 15

V: What would be your advice to those who find themselves in similar situations? 

P:If anyone ever finds themselves in that situation where someone demands information, or just doesn’t understand, you are never obliged to educate anyone. If you want to give them a whole detailed run down of your subject, or who you are- go right ahead! However, you do not have to do that if you don’t want to. Hopefully in the near future, people will be educated on a base level on subjects like that, so we won’t be put into that sort of situation. If I’m not in the mood to go into details, I tell people to Google it! We have a wealth of information in our pockets all the time, and you never asked to be put in the role of a teacher. Obviously I’m speaking from a place of privilege, I’m a white person and a trans person that is generally at lower risk in the community, unlike my trans sisters or some of my other trans friends, and that’s always important to keep in mind. But keep in mind that you don’t represent everyone, and everyone’s experiences are totally different. 

V: Do you think everyone can use art as a therapeutic activity? 

P: When you’re frustrated or annoyed or sad, I always feel  a little better when I’m doing some art, even if it’s really shit! Communicating your feelings in a way other than just to yourself is a really healthy way to process your feelings. 

V: If someone booked you as an artist, and would give you unlimited money, and allowed you to do any project you wanted, what would it be?

P: I have a lot of projects living in the back of my head that I would love to make a reality! I have an idea for a video game where the protagonist is deaf, and you have to navigate the world using vibrations and very small amounts of clues- but I have lots of little ideas, that I’m constantly adding to. My character I mentioned previously, Jules, has an entire expanded universe and world that links with him and his best friend Adam. That story has been with me ever since my teens, and it’s been developing and growing ever since I’ve been developing and growing. I would love to make that a reality, but I would never trust anyone else with it, because they wouldn’t understand and connect with the characters the same way that I do! I would love to make a fun, experimental animated series for young adults involving all these characters that I’ve been developing for years. I’ve been trying to write a novel for years, but I never have time. So, if anyone wants to give me lots of money and time, I have about ten years of plot living in my brain- hit me up! 3

V: Can everyone be an artist?

P: I think everyone is an artist in their own little way. It might not be drawing a beautiful portrait, but it could be a beautiful singing voice or being great at drumming. There are a lot of ways to create art. Talent doesn’t get you that far- talent will get you a failed audition and a coffee cup full of tears! The idea isn’t to have talent and just see how it goes, it’s about working hard and putting heart into everything you do! Even if it a tiny thing, that’s more than you would’ve made if you just sat there and been sad (not that you can’t just have a self-pity day), but after that’s done, I pick myself up, take a deep breath and pick up the pencil again! 

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Check out Pippin Lee Truman’s portfolio here!

Please contact leeleetruman@gmail.com for information on artwork or commission enquiries.

I Want to Talk About Rape

I want to talk about rape but I’m not really sure where to start. I only have three sessions left with my current therapist. We’ve been working together for about eight months, yet it’s only in the last three sessions that I’ve been able to voice anything further than, “So that happened” or discuss what other people have told me they’ve felt about it. For a really long time it felt as though everyone else’s reactions were more valid than my own; that when they questioned if it had happened or how much responsibility I must take for it, there was no space for me to retaliate. How does one speak of a violation, of a silencing, when the conversation that follows it feels an extension of the original act?

I want to talk about rape but I want to talk about the lack of a manual for those it has happened to, as opposed to the manuals I can find for partners and parents. Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea that someone has written a cheat sheet for supporters, but I want my own cheat sheet? I need someone to hold my hand through this; to reassure me that the world will swing straight again soon. I know it’s unfair to expect someone else to be able to offer me this when I don’t even know the answers myself, but I want there to be a guru who’s able to lead me through this. I want to go on a course where someone teaches me how to move past this; I want my twelve-step program.

I want to talk about rape but I want to talk about language – the language that ignores the victim in news articles, but makes sure we all know what happened to everyone else involved. The language that dictates me a ‘survivor’, suggesting I’ve fought through something and ‘survived it’ when the person I used to be is long gone. I didn’t ‘survive’ at all. This new person isn’t quite me yet. I’m someone new.

I want to talk about rape, but I don’t know the language to do so. If not a ‘survivor’, what am I? A work in progress? That makes me more similar to everyone else I suppose, and more than anything, I want to be like everyone else again. The clean, unblemished everyone else I held in my head before rape ran riot. I can rationally view every human as a work in progress, each on their own individual journey to self-actualization, as I am on my own. But what I cannot do is escape my envy that they may be able to achieve that without being touched by rape. Not that I wish this experience on anyone, nor am I naive enough to think their lives haven’t been touched by rape, but that somewhere there is a story line where I am unblemished, perhaps where we are all unblemished and I didn’t get that.
I want to talk about rape but I want to talk about quiet rape, the one that is perpetrated by the person you know, perhaps when you’re asleep, when you don’t yell because you don’t actually know who is doing this to you because you haven’t opened your eyes yet and if you’re lucky it’s the person you’re dreaming about. (You are not lucky. It is not them.)

I want to talk about the rape that happens in the grey area of friendships with blurred boundaries and expectations that are inferred rather than discussed. I want to talk about counseling services that only want to talk to me if I am under 18 or a victim of incest. Or they stipulate that they will only help if I promise to file a police report. I want to talk about my lack of agency during and after. I want to talk about what it’s like to scream and not be heard, either by those physically assaulting in the moment,  or those verbally assaulting after the fact.
My therapist made a link between rape and initiation ceremonies – in an initiation ceremony, something scary often happens that takes the current world view and spins it on its head. Afterwards, there is a celebration, a party, which heralds the survivor and welcomes them back to the world they once depended upon. And the shift falls back.
I didn’t get my party, and I don’t feel as though my initiation held any greater purpose. While I quite like this metaphor and can see its value, I am horrified that we could in any way make a comparison between rape and initiation. All I hear in this metaphor is fear. Quite horrifically, my ‘initiation’ most likely had fuck all to do with me and a lot more to do with the one who did it. I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or with the wrong person.

That decision that I didn’t know I was making flipped my world out of focus and if I’m honest – it’s still spinning.

I want to talk about rape, but I’m scared. I’m scared no one will listen, that no manual exists and that my party isn’t coming.

I say I want to talk about rape, but actually I want to scream.

 

 

(Image found at http://everydayfeminism.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/end_rape_img-f.jpg)

 

 

Bechdel Badasses

“She’s such a slut. And she’s not even pretty.”

I forgot my headphones on the train today, and this is what I found myself overhearing on the ride home. From what I soon gathered, the teenage speaker behind this snippet had been rejected by her love interest. He had fallen for someone else, and it was that someone to whom this toxic sentiment was intended. The girl’s friends loyally chimed in with a chorus of agreeable murmurs.

I had a strong idea of how the speaker of these words felt. She felt jealous and hurt, but was obviously not yet comfortable taking ownership of those emotions. The result was that of grabbing a pitchfork and impaling her perceived villain upon the crux of it. I had a strong idea of how her friends felt too. Most likely, their understanding of friendship was that of passive conformity. The result was blind support.

It felt sad. It felt familiar. It felt symptomatic of youth, although scarily, not a mindset limited only to those who can claim the naivety of their life stage.

The transition into adulthood entails a steep learning curve in how much responsibility we accept over our own emotions, particularly with the more difficult ones. No human is immune from feeling hurt. No human should be. But it is an affronting indicator of juvenility when someone inflicts their unmet feelings or hurt ego as vicious blame upon others.

We reveal ourselves in the way we treat those who challenge us. Women are generally framed as each other’s competitors, but when we play into this, we are alienated from those who could otherwise be our strongest allies. Rivalry is ultimately a losing game. It serves to validate the many, many (many!) obsolete narratives that work against our best interests. It serves to validate internalised misogyny.

We are judged harshly, and encouraged to judge each other. As a result, when we feel threatened—by insecurity, by doubt, by envy, by embarrassment—the instinct is to avenge the loss of pride, rather than develop a personal sense of understanding and resilience in the vicissitudes of our emotive scope. This vengeance is a misguided endeavour and a displaced emotion.

The word slut does not merely attack the girl you envy. It attacks female sexual autonomy as a concept. To focus on a woman’s aestheticism simply reinforces the connection between female appearance and worth. If you don’t wish that on women in general, you cannot wish it upon a specific woman merely because she intimidates you.

Like most, I’ve been rejected before by men and women who wanted someone else. But I’ve also been a someone else. And been friends with a someone else. If the man or woman who rejects me is so great in the first place, then their someone else is probably pretty wonderful too. It’s not their fault I got rejected. It’s no one’s. That’s the nature of personal choice. And if anyone is blatantly cruel or hurtful within this kind of situation, they probably aren’t as great as I initially thought anyway. Even still, this wouldn’t warrant cruelty in return. Anyone who already has enough reasons to treat the world with unkindness doesn’t need to be provided with any more.

Female companionship tends to be portrayed flatly if represented at all, particularly when subject to the narrow view of the male gaze. Often these depictions only include that which panders to male or heteronormative interests – dull tropes like catfights, “hot” lesbians/bisexuals with no depth of character, and love triangles. Narratives which include more realistic female relationships tend to be written off as a niche interest such as “chick flicks”, “chick lit”, and probably any other form that is likened to a baby animal. As a result, we lack mainstream influences which promote and normalise female solidarity, and which actively reject the notion of these friendships as some kind of a male-centric ploy.

The women in my life are excellent—disgustingly, hilariously, imperfectly, authentically, beyond-belief excellent—but are also hugely diverse in personality, background and life experiences. I crave friendships that are emotionally intimate, open-minded and honest. These are qualities they all have in common, and it is enriching to love people who are equally respectful to each other, but with such a variety of perspectives to share. These differences and complexities are only intimidating if you forget that they are also just everyday people trying to be their best self, and not some cliché that a teen drama show warned you about, or a nightmarish caricature that appears in your mirror if you dare to speak its name. We will only ever misunderstand other people if we neglect to humanise them.

There is a glorious defiance in the refusal to relinquish our friendships to a world that could keep us weaker if we were to stand apart. There is power in acknowledging what has been prescribed for us by society, looking it dead in the eye and saying “no”. The only reason they want to pit us against each other is so we will be too distracted to turn on them instead. Do not chime in with an agreeable murmur. Do not fade into the drone of an insipid chorus.

Bleat out, badass.

Instagram Intersectionality: Even More Bloggers for the Feminist Makeup Lover

We are back again, with Part 2 of our intersectional Instagram piece! If you’d like to check out Part 1, link is here. Below are some more fantastic beauty bloggers to make your Instagram feed more intersectional and way more feminist!

Brandi.xo

Brandi specialises in “monolid” art. Monolids are common amongst Asian people, so her Instagram would be very beneficial, especially since the common trends (eg. cut creases) fail to adapt for people with monolids. Brandi showcases some fantastic eye looks, ranging from trendy glitter looks to modern, bright colours. This account is definitely worth a follow.

Stefani_model

Stefania Ferrario is an activist, model and an artist that is determined to #droptheplus. Priding herself on being an “andro queen”, she banishes beauty standards in the best way possible- by slaying all day long! This is more of a fashion blog, rather than makeup, but it’s difficult to turn a blind eye to Stefania’s attitude and confidence.

Jbone89

Jordan Bone is a beauty blogger who has a passion for glamorous makeup looks. After a car crash ten years ago, Jordan became wheelchair bound and a tetraplegic, so is unable to open and close her hands, but still can do her makeup flawlessly, despite physical setbacks.

Oliveskinbeauty

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As you can probably tell from their account name, Arzo specialises in beauty for olive skin, creating an account that showcases makeup not just for white skin. She also does a lot of DIY beauty at home, including DIY facemasks and hairstyles, as well as mini tutorials. A great account with a great balance of everything!

Ellarie & Yoshidoll

These mother-and-daughter accounts showcase a beautiful mother, Ellarie, who creates incredible makeup looks and mini tutorials, as well as her adorable daughter, Yoshi. Over on Yoshi’s account (managed by Ellarie), we see fantastic hair tutorials for kids with black hair, whereas on Ellarie’s account, you will find straight up glamour. Follow both for an overload of sweetness!

Sebastienmua

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Serving barbie-pink glam couture, this account will have you begging for more. A non-binary makeup artist, Sebastien always delivers with their beautifully crafted looks. Full of diversity, we can see a super conceptual look one day, and then glittery glamour the next. Give it a follow if you like a little bit of everything on your makeup feed!

Featured image: Credit to sebastienmua

 

Intersectional Instagram: Beauty Bloggers for the Feminist Makeup Lover

In an industry dominated by thin, cis, white bodies, it can be difficult to wade through to find intersectional blogs and influencers in the beauty industry. Listed below are some fabulous Instagram accounts that focus on beauty and makeup that break through the stereotypes of beauty standards, so our newsfeeds can be as intersectional as possible!

Thuy Le (@xthuyle)

With flawless skin and a wide array of colourful looks, Thuy Le is a makeup artist from London who not only blogs about makeup, but also skincare rituals and hair. Going from strength to strength, Le has been jumped 20,000 followers in just 2 weeks; take a peek at her page, and you will see why. 

Kristi (@RawBeautyKristi)

Kristi is a self-taught makeup blogger who not only shows off her glamorous looks, but also dabbles in special effects makeup. She placed in the Top 6 for the NYX Face Awards, dazzling us with her detailed and unique work. Her 31 days of Halloween series is pretty amazing, which is available on YouTube (trigger warning: gore).

Heather (sokolum)

A page littered with makeup, fashion, piercings and tattoos, you’ll want to follow Heather to get your dose of alternative beauty. Original and colourful, Heather finds a fine balance between wearable, everyday beauty and out-of-the-box designs. A fantastic page to follow, even if it’s just to appreciate her ever-changing hair colours!

@queenpeaa

This talented professional makeup artist is not only a beautician, but also a licensed hairstylist! With stunning pictures of her clients before and after the makeup application, this is a great account to follow if you want to see lots of different styles in one place (especially bridal makeup). 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOnXShejqqL/?taken-by=queenpeaa

Ascher Lucas (@spectredeflector)

Destroying the stigma of boys’ wearing makeup, Ascher Lucas is a talented makeup artist, cosplayer and stuntman. Creating works of art of his face, this account has a very relaxed ambiance to it. You can also donate to Ascher’s fundraiser, which is raising money towards his top surgery (link in his Instagram bio). 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BM3_lOOASRm/?taken-by=spectredeflector&hl=en

Fifi Anicah (@fifi.anicah)

Described as a “modern day Frida Kahlo”, Fifi Anicah is a London based model, taking the world by storm, one “power brow” at a time. Fifi Anicah’s account will not only showcase her own modelling work, but will also show you how to constuct a full, natural unibrow that even Frida Kahlo would be envious of. 

Sabina Hannan (@sabinahannan)

If you crave glittery, glamorous makeup looks, this is the account for you. With an incredible YouTube channel to partner her Instagram account, Sabina Hannan’s makeup is always flawless.Sabina challenges the stigma of wearing makeup within the Muslim community. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BO0PjsPBVNC/?taken-by=sabinahannan&hl=en

Habiba (@makeupholic_moon)

A DIY godess, Habiba seems to be able to make a beauty remedy out of everything from your kitchen cupboard. Not only does she showcase some incredible makeup looks, she also will help you DIY your way to clear skin, using natural products you can find in your own home. She also reviews some wacky beauty tools, so be sure to check those out!

Shalom Blac (@shalom_blac)

An exceptionally talented artist, Shalom Blac fashion and beauty account has something for everyone. A burns’ victim, Shalom’s mini tutorials include a wide array of brands, ranging from high end to drug store; so no matter what your budget, you can follow along too!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMwlxAxAFMD/?taken-by=shalom_blac&hl=en

Tania (@whentaniatalks)

A lifestyle and beauty blogger, Tania’s Instagram is beautifully minimalist and constructed beautifully. Mainly working from her blog of the same name, Tania balances out her beauty posts with lifestyle posts, updating her followers on her health, her journey with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, food allergies, and lots of other interesting things happening in her world.

A Toothbrush Rabbit Hole

Not long ago, I heard a duet on the radio, in which country stars Dierks Bentley and Elle King tenderly croon,

“It’s different for girls when their hearts get broke

They can’t tape it back together with a whiskey and Coke

They don’t take someone home and act like it’s nothing

They can’t just switch it off every time they feel something

A guy gets drunk with his friends and he might hook up

Fast forward through the pain, pushing back when the tears come on

But it’s different for girls.”

My response was one of cavalier and effusive self-satisfaction, roughly along the lines of:  “What a crock. You’d never fall for the notion that men and women each have such uniformly one-dimensional responses to a breakup, probably because you’re evolved as fuck, self.”

Thereafter, I never thought about that song again, until a day when I opened my medicine cabinet. I was in search of a bobby pin, but instead found the toothbrush I had given to a guy I had been dating until about a week prior.

I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. I didn’t miss Jack. I wasn’t reminiscing about our time together. It wasn’t the pang of wistful sorrow. The source of my hurt was, annoyingly, the fact that Jack’s absence was making waste of an otherwise perfectly good toothbrush.

The toothbrush I’d given to Jack was aesthetically pleasing — rare in a toothbrush — and, in my opinion, its bristles represented the ideal compromise between hard and soft. Let me tell you, as a lifelong manual toothbrush user, this kind of toothbrush is hard to come by and now, after so little use, it was going in the trash – an utter injustice.

For five miserable seconds, I was reeling. Next, I found myself amused by my own melodrama. Then, a feeling that stuck around for a while — guilt.

I should miss Jack, I thought. I should reminisce about our time together. I should feel a pang of wistful sorrow. And yet, here I am, bothered only about a toothbrush. As Bentley and King sung it, I’m supposed to be heartbroken, unable to move forward.

I knew better, but this wasn’t coming from a place of knowing or logic. This was coming from years of internalized societal pressure to express myself and my womanhood in the “appropriate” manner.

I tried to convince myself that, actually, I was torn up about Jack and was using the toothbrush as a distraction from my true emotions, as any good armchair psychologist would posit. I even tried to muster up melancholy from deep within me, the kind I had felt when I watched an elderly lady singing “Tomorrow” to her Basset Hound on a commercial for Entresto. (Tangentially speaking, advertising prescription medications to the general public, as we do in the United States, is reprehensible, but that’s another article entirely, and plus — dogs get me every time).

I’ve since climbed myself out of the rabbit hole the toothbrush sent me down, and now I’m here to remind myself and you of something that, at once, seems obvious and yet is so often not expressed in our popular culture.

Your emotional processes are valid. You are no less of a man, woman, or person based on your emotions. I am not callous. I am empathetic and thoughtful and whole, and free to be sad — or not. And you are, too.