Reddit’s ‘The Power Of Makeup’ Photo Ignites Conversation
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Women around the world would not question the power of makeup - the power it has to instill confidence; the power it has to portray a particular feeling; and the power it has to transform. However, few women would dare to juxtapose the contrast between their faces with makeup and their faces without.
One woman dared to do just that. That particularly image, a three-month-old photo posted on the social news website Reddit, entitled "The power of makeup," ignited conversation online on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Yahoo! News first reported on the Reddit makeup photo, posted by user "munner83" in December, on Monday night. Yahoo! cited that the post's rankings jumped dramatically, with 5,000 Reddit users "up" voting the photo. At the time this article was published, the Reddit post already had 670 comments.
The Reddit "power of makeup" photo shows a woman with half of her face painted with eyeshadow, mascara, blush and lipstick, while the other half is completely bare. Either the one purposefully ornamented one side of her face or she digitally altered two photos to create one face.
Click here to see the photo.
Although the tone of comments on the photo was mixed, many commended the woman for honestly portraying the effects of makeup.
"This is incredible. It is so interesting how we can paint our faces on, and how transformative eye makeup can be. What does it say about me that I find her beautiful made up, and plain and sad looking without? Is makeup a mask, covering and distorting our true self? Or is it a tool to highlight those qualities in a face that people respond to?" commented one Reddit user.
"I understand why girls put on make-up. There is a lot of pressure out there today from all of the marketers and Hollywood models. Girls, don't be afraid to be you! I stopped wearing makeup four years ago, and I can't tell you what a difference it has made on my skin!" wrote another.
Others thought that the woman in the photo did not portray an accurate example on either side of her face.
"I actually think she looks better without the ton of makeup. How about just a little on both sides?" commented one user. "It looks like she was punched in the face, then had fake eyelashes put on," wrote another.
What is interesting is the popularity this photo and the preceding thread have maintained, despite the fact that the original post was added over three months ago.
Makeup continues to fascinate many. Celebrities are photographed by paparazzi without makeup, leaving the gym or heading to the grocery store. Those photos are then plastered in supermarket tabloids and on blogs for the entire world to gawk at. Supermodels without makeup or Photoshop grab just as much attention (possibly more).
Psychological studies suggest that makeup is not only appealing to the women who wear the cosmetics, but also to those who view them.
In a 2008 study, a French psychologist found that by wearing makeup, a woman could increase her odds of have a male approach her at a bar.
In the study, 30 female volunteers fraternized at a bar on two separate occasions - one time with makeup and the other time without. The males who approached said women were monitored by an undercover observer.
Time elapsed before first contact from a man
Makeup: 17.09 minutes
No makeup: 23.08 minutes
Average number of men who interacted with the women
Makeup: 2.07 (this number is averaged over 30 women; the 0.07 of a man is not an ex)
No makeup: 1.57
Psychologist Nicholas Gueguen wrote: "The results found in the experiment have some practical implication. They suggest that women can successfully employ cosmetics to increase their attractiveness and to encourage men to establish contact with them."
Makeup is often used as a means of building self-confidence.
A 2007 study by Thomas F. Cash and Diane Walker Cash revealed that, among 42 female college students, subjects reported being more self-confident and sociable when wearing makeup versus when not wearing makeup in a variety of imagined situations.
The use of cosmetics has also proven to affect external perception of a woman's earning potential and job status.
A 2006 study explored whether four Caucasian women would be evaluated different on four social measures depending on whether they presented themselves with or without makeup. The results revealed that women who wore makeup were perceived as healthier and more confident than those who did not wear makeup. They also were awarded with a greater earning potential and more prestigious job titles.
What do you think of the Reddit makeup post? Do you think the woman exhibited bravery revealing the differences between makeup and no makeup? Or do you think the issue is nothing but a moot point?
Apr 18, 2012 10:05 AM EDT