In the past few years, social media outlets have allowed for people from all reaches of the world to share anything, whether it be advice, entertaining content, or life hacks. One of the largest sub-genres of online culture is beauty content. There are thousands of YouTube “vloggers” or video bloggers who post a stream of makeup tutorials to create certain looks, do reviews on new or popular makeup products, and recommend products for a variety of audiences.
Ever since the popular photo-sharing social media platform Instagram started allowing users to post short videos up to 15 seconds long, these makeup tutorials have made their way to the app in a slightly different form. The videos show a time-lapse video allowing an entire makeover to be seen in less than a quarter of a minute. This format allows for more content because users don’t need to be Internet famous to get attention. The shorter videos mean that Instagram viewers can watch more videos in less time and see a variety of makeup artists.
Among these artists are what many would call unconventional makeup artists. For as long as makeup has been in use, it has been primarily marketed to women. It has become associated with femininity and female beauty. Women have even been told that they should wear makeup to impress men. Therefore, it may have seemed strange to some Instagram users when they scrolled through their feeds and saw a significant number of makeup being put on the same faces that sport beards and mustaches.
That’s right, the Instagram makeup scene features the work of female, male, and trans vloggers! The best part about this is, there is nothing stereotypical about any of it. In the case of male, cisgender vloggers, these are simply men who love makeup and want to teach others how to love it just as much. While the majority of their followers are female, if these vloggers can find a way to end the stigma against makeup in their own demographic, it only makes the situation better. Masculinity is often treated as a fragile thing, and these men prove that being “masculine” can mean anything to many other (especially younger) men too.
The reaction to male beauty vloggers in particular is what makes all of this even better: There is none. They are treated just the same as the female artists and appreciated for their talent more than anything. There are a few potentially harmful outcomes that could come from men wearing heavy makeup:
- They could be attacked for being too feminine.
- They could be praised for doing something that women are criticized for.
- Statements like, “his contour looks better than mine but he’s a guy,” can be made, suggesting that makeup is still for women and a man wearing it is a novelty.
However, in many cases, the quality of artistry seems to be the only thing that matters.
This is a subtle yet important step in the direction of making the makeup industry more gender-fluid and non-binary. It shows people in general moving towards a future where makeup use is acceptable among both sexes, instead of being associated strictly with women or men in the fashion, film, and television industries. Male beauty vloggers on Instagram show regular people ready and willing to challenge gender roles and do whatever makes them feel beautiful.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.