“I think much of beauty advertising relies on a false premise – that women need to be treated in an infantile way, given a ‘fantasy’ to aspire to… Real women are already inspired by other real women, so perhaps beauty advertising needs to get on board.”
In arguably, the chillest makeup ad ever, she says, “Makeup is just makeup. It’s how you feel wearing it that matters.”
The campaign challenges the typical portrayal of makeup as a necessary tool that women must buy to fix all their inherent flaws. Instead, Adichie iterates that she loves the ritual of applying makeup, but also loves her face without it.
— Muchaneta K (@FashNerdEditor) October 20, 2016
“I love make-up and its wonderful possibilities for temporary transformation. And I also love my face after I wash it all off,” she said in a statement. “There is something exquisitely enjoyable about seeing yourself with a self-made new look. And for me that look is deeply personal. It isn’t about what is in fashion or what the rules are supposed to be. It’s about what I like. What makes me want to smile when I look in the mirror. What makes me feel slightly better on a dull day. What makes me comfortable.”
She further discusses her personal relationship with makeup and femininity in an accompanying video. As spring flowers blossom, Adichie speaks about realizing that her most authentic self doesn’t shun makeup just because women are unfairly seen as unintelligent for caring about their appearance.
Of course, there is always a critique to be made about the problematic commodification and potential weakening of a political movement in order to sell products like makeup. But, as Adichie says, makeup is also, for many people, an integral part to the performance and celebration of femininity. Rather than shunning the makeup industry altogether, then, it is more productive and exciting to see campaigns that do not shame consumers or speak down to them, but rather, that feature aspirational women showing that power and femininity are not oppositional.