Over the last 10 years, several beauty companies, including Dove, abandoned images of ‘perfect’ women and have since opted for real images of women to promote their products. Thanks to millions of bloggers and Twitter users, companies are now more likely to be regularly called out for their problematic portrayals of women.
The problem is that many of these ‘real beauty’ campaigns promote a monolithic, inescapable affinity for Eurocentric beauty, excluding many women of color across the board. When it comes to women of color, beauty is often measured by how similarly their features mirror those of White women. They lose points for kinky hair, broad noses, darker skin or slanted eyes.
Fortunately, many women of color believe in creating the media they want to see and comfortably be a part of, and we have alternatives to the contemporary ‘real beauty’ campaigns where we can truly see ourselves.
Enter the BARE Project! Based out of Los Angeles, it features Black and multi-ethnic women and gives them the power to redefine themselves on their own terms. Women are invited to send in photographs of themselves along with a few words that do just that. The self-love is apparent and revolutionary.
Ashleigh Marie Brown and Kimberly Vandiver of LeighLy Media founded the BARE Project. Leighly Media focuses on television, film, and media projects with authentic voices and fresh perspectives. According to the website, “The BARE Project was borne of an acknowledgement of the unique and diverse beauty of Black and multi-ethnic women.”
BARE attempts to remove the warped stigma associated with non-conformity to white beauty standards. Going above and beyond, BARE focuses on the complexities of our beauty and womanhood both internally and externally. This project, The BARE Project, yields a safe space for women of color to celebrate and be celebrated, seeing themselves as beautiful, intelligent, capable, and more importantly, enough.