Recently I started watching a lot of makeup videos on YouTube. Prior to this I had not done much with YouTube. I had watched some music videos, some old television shows and some skating videos. I had decided after Trump’s election to stop watching reality tv, especially those shows that promote uber rich people such as The Housewives franchise or the Kardashians. Reality tv gave Trump a platform that helped get him elected. I would hate to see a President Kardashian in the future. Since I have been finding the news so depressing I turned to YouTube.
The makeup videos I have been watching are mostly part of a category considered “Makeup for Mature Women” Even if it is a young woman doing the tutorial it is about applying makeup to the older face. One interesting thing about these videos is that mature apparently starts at 35.
Makeup videos share characteristics of commercials which are primarily about generating an anxiety over your looks so then you will buy the product to remedy the problem. Often before seeing the commercials you may not have even realized that you have such an issue.
Makeup videos on YouTube are not overtly selling you specific products. Rather they are selling a vision, often unattainable, of perpetual youth. The people who make the videos are perceived of as “real” because they are not public figures or paid spokespeople.
Usually they are an older woman, ranging from someone in their 40’s to someone in their 70’s. They have developed skin and makeup problems as they aged and this has prompted them to go on YouTube to describe their solutions. The format is that the woman appears with a clean unadorned face and shows you how to apply makeup to get the finished look. There are also videos that are tests of products with the person giving her recommendations.
Often they apply a lot of makeup and I am not sure the result is that great. The other issue is that the face they start with often looks good and does not have any glaring problems. So, not a lot of wrinkles, dark circles, or sagging skin. In this way, they are replicating how commercials present flawless people to sell you their products.
I don’t know what would possess someone to expose themselves like this but it is on the spectrum of public promotion that has me writing this blog. I started watching these YouTube videos to distract myself from the news while not indulging in the unreality that is reality tv. The irony is that make up videos on YouTube turn out not to be not much realer than reality tv.