Thick brows are the new trend and I bet you’re wondering how to obtain them. People have become obsessed with filling in their brows to get a sharper, more defined look. Queen Kylie Jenner often rocks this gorgeous trend along with her notably full lips coated with a layer of nude lipstick that really pops against her golden, bronze skin. It’s something we’re all dying to have and I’m here to tell you the simplest way to have these features: being born with them! This method is quick and easy; you only have to do it once for a lifetime guarantee of beauty!
There are countless articles and makeup tutorials on how to fill in a person’s eyebrows and overdraw lips that emphasize the way that these two features are now a part of a fashion trend. I need to clarify that I don’t have any issues with people getting plastic surgery to alter how they look, but the problem is more so the way that people capitalize and aestheticize these features that aren’t tied to identity. The number one example of this idea that everyone always uses is Kylie Jenner. At only 19, she has become a pop culture and fashion “icon” along with every other one of her sisters featured on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I’ll admit I’ve never seen this show and have only been exposed to clips my friends show me or anything that pops up on my social media, but even as a passive witness, I am able to see the way that she dominates our culture today. She has her own popular lipstick line because her full and pouty lips have become something that many wish to adopt.
The issue that many have discussed with her lips is that it takes something that people of color have been living with for years and have been made to feel ashamed of because they did not align with Eurocentric beauty standards. Kylie and the rest of her family are known for the way that they take from PoC features and aesthetics and make them acceptable in mainstream society; when a white girl does it, it finally becomes beautiful. White girls everywhere are now aiming to have these looks that people of color have had for years, and the fact that they are considered to be popular is really uncomfortable.
The obsession with lips is everywhere. People have been overdrawing their lips or pouting them in pictures to make them seem fuller. Whenever I see this, it just makes me feel uncomfortable on multiple levels; one generally being that it just doesn’t look right. When I see a white person with overdrawn lips, it feels like something is off and I’m only focused on that one aspect of their face. Eyebrows are a similar story but aren’t as noticeable as lips and have not been as heavily discussed.
Many women of color are made fun of for being hairy, it’s just a sad fact. Our hair is dark and thick, so it’s very prominent on our bodies as opposed to white bodies that often have thinner and lighter colored hairs. From a young age, women, especially women of color, feel like they need to shave and trim everything in order to fit in with all the other less hairy women. It’s an insecurity that I know I had when I was younger and upon discussing this with other women of color, they also felt this way. One of the hairy points of contention have been our eyebrows. Brown and Black women are known to have naturally thick, bushy eyebrows. We are taught to maintain them and present them a certain way along with the rest of the hair on our bodies.
It is now becoming more popular to shape and fill in your eyebrows to make them appear to be thicker and defined on your face, something that women of color often naturally have and are made to feel ashamed of. In the same way that I’m not opposed to plastic surgery, I’m also not saying I’m opposed to the use of makeup. I love makeup and use it all the time, but my issue is when people try to recreate something on their privileged bodies that those with marginalized bodies have historically been made to hate about themselves. What makes me feel so uncomfortable is that I know that from my own perspective I have hated these aspects of my body for years. When I was eight years old I thought my eyebrows were too thick, so I thought it would be a good idea to trim the hair and ended up cutting off my eyebrows, which is now both a funny and somber memory. I hated my lips because they were fuller and “pretty girls” didn’t seem to have the same size lips as I did, etc.
I’ve hated my eyebrows, lips and other features of my body for years, but I’m thrilled that I can begin to feel more comfortable, because it’s finally beautiful now because white girls want it. It’s actually kind of messed up, and I wish that these features were more accepted on the bodies that were born with them. There’s a difference between progression and co-opting for your own gain: one works towards abolishing systems and recognizing where you might be taking things from, the other is a form of colonialism, just taking from communities with little to no recognition and continued violence towards them. It may seem like just a fashion trend or makeup style, but it’s necessary to realize where these “trends” are coming from and how they might be considered harmful.
Sarah Zumba is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zumba Works it Out appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.