By Margretta Sowah
Beauty blogger Em Ford is a beautiful woman. Though the British beauty guru has severe facial acne issues, her YouTube page ‘My Pale Skin’ has over 300k followers. Em’s page shows others how to conceal sensitive skin issues by enhancing features. Being a self-taught “makeup tutorialist”, Miss Ford has been in this Vlogging game for a while now. The more followers you have on YouTube the more payment you receive for driving traffic to their site. With great attention, however, comes an even greater need for protection. Statements, opinions and ideas can cause unsolicited fire on an unsuspecting person through the lens of the desktop/mobile experience.
With the blogging sphere rising up to new and exciting landing pages of mass promotion, we are swamped with the noise of content typing for attention. Vlogging (Video Blogging) is a huge part of the market – YouTube, Vines and apps like Snapchat create an avenue for relating to users through different interests. Apps like this fall under the DIY sensation that has taken over in almost all facets of our daily lives.
Internet “trolls” and cyber-bullies are everywhere – belittling and bulling others with their comments and opinions. This is what Em Ford faced when she decided to post pictures on her social sites of before and after – with make-up and without; a daunting experience for someone with visible facial acne. I know what you are thinking: why would a beauty blogger go without makeup and put herself in that position for haters and fabricators to pounce? The simple answer: because she CAN. Make-up is not her life. It is an ENHANCEMENT. An added feature. A tool to play with. It’s fun, its frivolous and keeps your unique look fresh.
Does her social position as a video beauty blogger (a different side of Celebrity) give us, as her viewer’s, permission to give an honest opinion – as we would with a model being underweight (or overweight – let’s not forget Tess Holiday and her #EffYourBeautyStandards), or an actor on the Red Carpet? Em Ford provides make-up tutorials, so we should be able to comment on her make-up – or lack thereof, right? I suppose the reality of opening your interests to the World Wide Web is you may be playing Russian Roulette with your self-esteem… BUT that by no means warrants us to be opinionated hooligans. There is a difference between criticism and constructive criticism. One is for the benefit of growth and the other isn’t. It is quite simple.
The response on her site was overwhelming. Over 10,000 comments (and counting) on her appearance; some naughty, some nice and some just downright brutal – mostly shade. Remarks such as “You look disgusting!” and “I can’t even look at you!” are sadly not surprising in this age of Social Media.
Freedom of speech is a wonderful and powerful privilege. We are free to do and say (for the most part) whatever we want but we are not free from the consequences of those choices. There have been plenty of examples showing the aftermath of bullying, with some students taking their own lives – or taking someone else’s. Most tragedies like this can definitely be avoided. Whatever the situation is we all need to be aware of the very real repercussions.
The price of fame has always been a real issue for those seasoned to the reality of breaking it big. Most of us are waiting for that moment to shine – to ‘break the glass ceiling’ and enter the realm of success. Deciding to place ourselves out there for commercial reasons opens a platform for change. The internet offers us ‘normal people’ a place of refuge (ironically) for our unique interests and talents. This should be celebrated not disregarded as we ‘sign into’ another year.
The one thing people like Em Ford have that make them successful is the real X factor – Relatability. Miss Ford is able to illicit such a response because she has real concerns people share – acne. Without her alleged ‘handicap’ she would not be able to do what she does. Cindy Crawford once said; “Isn’t it ironic that the very thing that made me most insecure [her infamous mole] turned out to be my trademark?” I agree 100% with what Cindy SuperModel Crawford is saying. We all have flaws that we believe bring us down and turn us in. When you are able to not only embrace but to elevate those flaws to your benefit, you’ve won the battle with yourself – the biggest and baddest critic.
Em Ford’s video showcasing the different reactions went viral, with this discussion still at large. She is truly brave. Placing your vulnerabilities in the world’s lap is not a spanking anyone would look forward to – even if you are that way inclined (wink wink, nudge nudge). The strength she showed will no doubt empower her audience… and maybe even her haters.
Would you want the world to comment on your face, if it meant addressing an issue? Let’s be real; make-up is just another paint to add on your canvas. Carry on contouring, I say.