A few weeks ago, there was a big ~drama~ because a photo of Cardi B at a shop wearing a face mask and gym clothes, with no makeup (I mean, why bother if half your face is covered and you’re just buying shower gel?) went viral. Big whoop, I know.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, there really isn’t one but people are pretty sad these days and apparently have nothing better to do than insult celebrities (rarely males, though, ever noticed?).
Melters people started slabbering accusing Cardi of “Photoshopping” her Instagram photos because she (particularly, her figure) looks different in them than this photo of her at the shop.
I mean, 1) IMAGINE not going to Tesco (during a pandemic) wearing makeup, heels and a bikini ? and 2) Prepare for the irony: the photo was fake, anyway. Someone edited the original photo to make her thighs and stomach look bigger. So, no wonder she didn’t look the same. Bloons.
Anyway, the point is: Even if Cardi B did edit her photos on Instagram, so what? Everyone and their ma edits their photos. Surely, that’s why Instagram comes with built-in filters and prompts you to apply one before you post your photo? Surely, that’s why the Instagram ‘Camera’ comes with effects and filters that can change your skin complexion, face shape and eye and hair colour? Or am I missing something?
How is ‘editing’ your figure any different than wearing illusion clothes, sucking in or tensing your stomach, pushing your legs back, wearing a push-up bra and posing in certain ways or taking photos from certain angles? Like, actually, how?
The same people calling Cardi fake are the same ones who upload photos of themselves doing these things, or with Snapchat/Instagram beauty filters. We all know that social media – especially Instagram – is a platform that people feel that they have to post photos of themselves at their best. I don’t look like my Instagram photos in day-to-day life (sadly). Like, does anyone’s Snaps to their best mates look like their Instagram photos?
People say that ‘Photoshopping’ photos sets an unrealistic beauty standard or a ‘bad example’ to young girls. Cardi B is a self-made, female multimillionaire. She made her mark and her fortune as a successful rapper, despite being in a male-dominated industry (I mean, she’s definitely a better rapper than her husband). She’s won countless awards, broken records and has worked really hard for her success. She made her money, had a child and came back to make even more. How is that a bad example? Is insulting and bullying someone because of their appearance a good example?
As far as an unrealistic beauty standard, Cardi B has always been very public and honest about her cosmetic surgery. She’s posted videos on Instagram about her breast enlargement, and announced to thousands of fans at her concert that she should be at home “recovering from lipo” instead of performing. So, she’s never pretended that her current look or figure is something she was born with.
Okay, imagine how a young girl feels seeing “natural” photos of celebrities. Now, think of how they feel when they see that all the comments are insults and full of hate. What sort of message does it send when ‘picture-perfect’ photos of celebrities with their professional hair, makeup and best outfits are full of comments calling them fake, unnatural and unrelatable; “Show us you naturally! No one likes someone that fake and superficial”. When more natural and toned-down looks and outfits are posted or ‘off-guard’ photos in supermarkets, the comments are calling them catfish, ugly and fat; “Wow, you’ve let yourself go, put a bit of makeup on!”; “You left the house like that?”. No matter what, you can’t win.
Maybe people do edit their photos because when they don’t, they get torn to shreds. Maybe these negative comments about women’s appearance makes others who have similar features, want or feel that they need to change themselves or how they look to avoid this hate. What if they think, “Well if people think someone who likes as amazing as she does is ugly, what the hell does that make me?” Maybe the fear of showing your natural self and not making any changes – digitally, or physically – isn’t just about the photos you see, but the hateful comments underneath.
Cardi responded by posting a video of her in a bikini on Instagram, to show everyone that she does actually look like her photos, and her figure is in fact, real. But, she didn’t need to. She shouldn’t have to feel like she has to “prove” herself to people, especially those who no doubt filter, pose and dress to look different than they naturally do. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best in photos, it’s your profile, your feed, your face and body.
Stop slabbering to women about their appearance. We have to fight so hard to be judged on our merit rather than our looks, but what’s the point if successful, record-breaking women are judged on their ‘Gram, rather than their GRAMMYs? What’s the point telling young girls that, “looks aren’t everything”, if it’s pretty damn clear from the hate and abuse that women are subjected to online, that they basically are? It’s a ridiculous, patriarchy-fuelled self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rant over 🙂