In a recent interview with W Magazine, actress Brie Larson talked about her beauty routine and her relationship to beauty. When asked about what she would say to young women who are struggling with their relationship to beauty standards and don’t see themselves represented by beauty brands and fashion magazines, Larson responded:
“I don’t believe that there is a beauty standard. I struggled with feeling ugly and like an outcast for so much of my life. And so I really, really feel for that.”
It’s almost a kick in the chest that Larson’s response to women who struggle to see themselves represented as beautiful is to act as if those beauty standards don’t really exist, just because she, too, has felt ugly. Equating the personal insecurities she’s experienced as a thin, white, and heterosexual woman with the dehumanization and violence experienced by people who do not meet racist, fatphobic, and otherwise oppressive beauty standards is certainly a…. bold choice.
“What breaks my heart is to think of people in the world who don’t feel that they have safety within their own bodies. That, to me, is my ultimate goal in life: to do whatever it is that I can so people have the freedom to express themselves and be exactly who it is that they want to be—whatever that is—knowing that that can also change.”
Although it’s nice to hear that Larson wants to support people being who they want to be, using such vague and apolitical language is actually unhelpful. How can she even begin to help people “have the freedom to express themselves” when she doesn’t even understand the significance of beauty standards—standards that are not random and subjective, but that position whiteness and Eurocentric features as the epitome of beauty. And being deemed more desirable (by more closely meeting white beauty standards) isn’t just about your dating possibilities, it affects everything from whether you get hired at a job to whether someone will rent you an apartment.
Although aspects of beauty are always left up to the preferences of an individual, beauty standards are deeply political. [W Magazine]
Carl Lentz, former head pastor at Hillsong, shared an Instagram post on Thursday afternoon after news broke on Wednesday that he had been fired from his position at the Christian megachurch. Although Hillsong had declined to offer an explanation for the reason behind his termination (offering up the vague explanation of “moral failures”), in his absurdly long Instagram caption Lentz explained that he had been “unfaithful in his marriage.”
“Laura and I and our amazing children have given all that we have to serve and build this church and over the years I did not do an adequate job of protecting my own spirit, refilling my own soul and reaching out for the readily available help that is available. When you lead out of an empty place, you make