“Don’t need make up to cover up. Being the way that you are is enough.” Didn’t someone say that last year? Oh, that’s right, it was five pop culture phenomenon someones known as One Direction. Were any of us listening, though? I mean, we were all definitely listening, but did we actually hear the message? It is quite obvious that three girls from a Texas high school got the message loud and clear and as a result, a beautiful campaign was born.
How often do you put makeup on before you go to class? Do you regularly feel the need to tend to your face before running to Target on a Saturday morning? Does it take you an hour to get ready to go just about anywhere that could be considered public? Are you sheepishly answering yes to all of the above? Don’t be embarrassed; you aren’t alone. As it turns out, girls at Plano Senior High School reported that it takes them anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to get ready for school in the morning and thus, Operation Beautiful was born.
Students Madeline Milby, Binna Kim and Monica Plenger were inspired to help their classmates prioritize bettering themselves on the inside versus focusing on the outside when they realized just how much time was being spent getting ready for school. Blow drying, hair straightening, makeup application – you name the beauty regime and it was most likely happening in the households of PSHS students, all in the wee hours of the morning before heading into class. So, armed with a camera and a mission, the three girls set out to convince their classmates that, while makeup isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t what makes you beautiful and girls certainly shouldn’t feel pressure to never go without it. The result was a student body united, pledging to go makeup-free for an entire day on March 8, 2013, and a viral video that has inspired thousands.
When the trio openly discussed the need for makeup with their classmates, they received a variety of responses from male and female peers alike. Messages ranged from heartfelt to humorous, all words positive and supportive. The level of confidence these teenagers displayed in one another is certainly a form of kindness that should be celebrated, as should their reasons for supporting Operation Beautiful.
Girls should be able to be confident with or without makeup.
I think girls are pretty just the way they are. They are beautiful in their own skin.
More important than her looks are her personality and her confidence in herself and how she thinks about herself.
Makeup isn’t a bad thing but by (supporting) one day of not wearing it, it can help us remember that we are beautiful without it.
Towards the end of the video, one student passionately drives home what the campaign is really about by posing a series of questions allowing us to wonder what school, or the world for that matter, would be like if we focused on what was truly important.
What if we went to a school where none of that really mattered? What if it was more about what was on the inside than what was on the outside? What if the personality was more important than the perfect face? What if that were our school?
These teenagers possess wisdom and kindness beyond their years and the world would do well to take a listen to their message; not just listen but really hear it. What if we lived in a culture more focused on inner beauty? What if we spent as much time on bettering ourselves from the inside as we do preparing ourselves on the outside? What if we could simply feel like we could go to the grocery store without putting make-up on? I don’t know a woman out there who wouldn’t support that.
In talking to ABC News, Milby revealed that she felt, “There’s pressure for girls to look a certain way, to meet a standard. The standard is being pushed through media and magazines and everything.” She is right in her observation and it only starts in high school, continuing and intensifying as we stumble into and through adulthood. We are, without a doubt, a culture obsessed with looks, a society that places great value in appearance. The truth of the matter is that makeup isn’t the enemy and you aren’t a superficial person for applying it each morning or once a month, whatever your personal preference may be. No one is doubting your feminism or character for owning a red lipstick or loving a shimmery eyelid. Above all argument, it is simply refreshing to know there are still people out there looking for and celebrating the inner beauty behind it all.
Kindness comes in many forms, but giving someone else the opportunity to find confidence in themselves is a wonderful and selfless act. Operation Beautiful has done just that. Milby later added that her hope for the project was to “make the girls at school feel more comfortable and see that they’re beautiful without makeup and they don’t need to use makeup to cover themselves up.” It is safe to say Miss Milby and her friends not only offered their classmates a chance to be confident in themselves, but also reminded thousands of women far removed from high school of a valuable lesson they learned long ago; that is a beautiful kindness.
Plano Senior High School, I tip my mascara brush to both the ringleaders of your campaign and the entire student body. As a group, you have shown one another what acceptance and kindness look like and have set an example that we can only hope millions of others will follow. You are beautiful; inside and out.
I support Operation Beautiful. Do you?
Feature Image Via Shutterstock