What is it about narcissists that compel them to want to forcefully deputize the rest of us to serve as a bulwark against their own insecurities?
This isn't about making fun of the way people look. Everyone knows only jerks do that. Even the jerks know that, they just don't care because they're jerks and that's what they do.
This is about purposefully calling attention to something and then scolding everyone for noticing.
It started with a 31-year-old British Esthetician, Joanna J Kenny, who, as Glamour UK put it,
...took to Instagram to share a close-up snap of her upper lip hair in all its glory alongside the most empowering caption.
This is what passes for "empowering" these days:
Facial hair is normal. Noticeable facial hair, or "hirsutism," on women, is not. See, that's why there's a big medical name for it, which I just typed. Hirsutism affects between 5 and 10 percent of women, which means 90% to 95% of women don't have excess facial hair. Having 90% to 95% of women share a common feature is the very definition of "normal":
What makes this even more manipulative is that Kenny doesn't have anything remotely like hirsutism, which she freely admits.
"As I am naturally fair haired I'm aware that my peach fuzz isn't as noticeable as my brunette friends. But I do still get the occasional troll in the comments pointing out I have a moustache!"
Here's a still from the video she made of the stunt just before putting on the blue mascara.
"I'm hairy like a man."
No, you are not. You are hairy like a woman. I know you want to be Internet famous, but a little peach fuzz is not that big a deal. You have two choices, ignore it and the occasional troll who happens by, or do something about it. (She knows this, of course, being an esthetician.)
She instead manufactures a third choice, standing in solidarity with her "brunette friends" who I guess have blue mustaches or something?
"So this is me normalising facial hair for anyone who's grown up believing it's something to be ashamed of," she signs off. Obviously she amassed plenty of supportive comments from her followers, with people thanking her for sharing the unfiltered post.
Putting on clown makeup does not normalize being a clown, and highlighting some peach fuzz with dark blue mascara does not normalize facial hair. What it does do is trivialize people's genuine and legitimate insecurities and turns it into a spectacle for your own self-aggrandizement.
When I started going gray in my early twenties I didn't like it, but I also did not go around insisting that it was normal and that everyone nod falsely in agreement, nor did it ever occur to me to dye my hair blue so I could stand in solidarity with my much-older silver-haired brethren somehow.
Of course, this was way before social media with its built-in audience of emotionally damaged individuals desperate for their own affirmation and eager to pronounce me as such.
And while I'm thinking about it, I have absolutely no interest in normalizing ear hair or insisting it's "beautiful," either.
"by choosing not to remove my facial hair does not mean I don't agree with other people choosing to..."
Keep in mind, she's an esthetician, she's got bills to pay, too, and hair removal is probably a decent hunk of her business. But yes, people can do what they want with their own face.
...The point is, we should all have the freedom to make choices for our own bodies without fear of judgment."
There's a sinister element to this way of thinking. It's one thing to insist that you have the autonomy to make decisions about yourself. It is quite another to insist that everyone else behave the way you want them to.
You can't have it both ways, either everyone can think and do as they please, or no one can. You don't get to dictate other people's behavior while demanding no one dictate yours.
It's also very odd coming from an esthetician whose business exists due to the judgment of others:
The work of estheticians involves applying treatments and performing procedures to the skin as a way to maintain its health and vitality, improve its overall appearance, and combat the effects of sun exposure and aging.
Waxing, threading, or using depilatories to remove unwanted hair is a common practice for estheticians, as is the application of makeup.
Her job is literally to make it more likely that people will judge her clients in a positive manner.
And no, people don't get beauty treatments just for themselves. Do you dress and groom the same way for a dinner date and drinks as you do for a Netflix date and a pint of Häagen-Dazs?
Glamour UK, a beauty magazine whose business model is to elevate unattainable ideals of beauty, can't seem to get enough of this new non-aesthetic aesthetic.
Society's policing of female body hair is so strong that most women don't question it anymore. Shaving, waxing, lasering and plucking hair from our legs and armpits to bikini lines has become an accepted – and expensive – part of our beauty routine, which is why posts like Joanna's are so important.
Really? Okay, they seem pretty serious about this new non-judgmental everything-is-beautiful editorial policy.
"All hair is good hair," they pronounce.
In the very same issue, they also pronounce this:
There's good hair, and then there's better hair if you know what I mean.
Also in the same issue:
That's kind of rude.
Chicken skin is beautiful!
I think we need to normalize scalp acne.
Here's your chance Instagram influencers. Go get some blue mascara and highlight your scalp acne. Stand in solidarity with your pimple-ridden sisters.
Pick a lane, Glamour.
How about this.
Rather than proclaim everything is "normal" which robs the term of any meaning, why not recognize that a world absent differences would be a boring one. There are people who find facial hair on a woman attractive or at least don't much care about it. (Heck, crooked teeth are considered "kawaii" or cute, in Japan.) However, most people don't prefer to see facial hair on women.
Deal with it. Like a grownup.
And let's drop the fantasy that people don't or shouldn't judge. We judge everything and everyone every day and it's not a bad thing unless we're a jerk about it.
Sitting around and making fun of people as they walk by is boorish behavior, of course, as is trolling people's social media accounts, and that should rightly be condemned.
But we make judgments about people we are considering hiring, marrying, dating, being friends with, working for, and so on pretty much every day, and yes, some of it will be based on appearance. If appearances didn't matter we'd all stop showering and combing our hair and buying nice clothes.
If appearances didn't matter we'd stop wearing pants to work just like we do on Zoom meetings.
In other words, how about we all start behaving more like adults and less like children.