Yesterday, Drew Barrymore shared a headline-generating selfie on Instagram. What was so comment-worthy about the picture? It wasn't the fact that she's barefaced with no makeup; that's been a celebrity trend for some time now. It was that she sported bushy, unkempt eyebrows and a few wiry gray hairs in her part — you know, like a "real" woman.
Fans and followers were quick to comment on the image, praising the actress for "keeping it real" and being "impressive." Media outlets immediately followed up with news stories about the picture, celebrating the 42-year-old star for her honest selfie.
While it is, of course, admirable that Hollywood icon Barrymore is confident enough to share such an unglamorous picture with her thousands of followers, it does highlight the ridiculous standards women hold themselves to thanks to filtered Instagram posts, retouched magazine images, and airbrushed red-carpet appearances.
The same is true whenever a celebrity forgets to shave. Suddenly, their decision to eschew the razor for a few days is greeted as some kind of feminist statement. The same can be said about dressed-down stars, the phenomenon of "no makeup" selfies, and greasy top knots. All of these relatively routine decisions — to dress in whatever is lying around, to avoid heavy foundation, or to not wash your hair — are suddenly fetishized as "brave" decisions.
Just look at Chrissy Teigen. Heralded as one of the most relatable celebrities thanks to her candid nature and outspoken views, she can't help but generate news whenever she highlights her normalcy, namely having stretch marks or getting bad skin on her period. These are two things that should just be accepted anyway.
We need to start normalizing the way women look — rather than jumping on A-listers for "keeping it real" every time they post a picture with a hair out of place — and quit constantly placing so much value on our looks altogether.
Barrymore looks great here — and yes, normal or "real," because women get gray hairs and don't always groom their eyebrows — but is that really worthy of a headline? Let's hope it won't be for much longer.
This post was written by Rebecca Cope. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.