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A Body Builder in a Makeup Ad?

by January 16, 2013
filed under Activism

Mac-Strength-Woman-Bodybuilder-Model-355x400In the article, “MAC Put a Female Bodybuilder in a Makeup Ad and its Beautiful” by Jenna Sauers, Jenna writes about how wonderful and how “beautiful” it is to see an unconventional model in a beauty advertisement for MAC makeup. Jelenna Abou, the muscular model in the advertisement, is a Saudi- American fitness model and poses a striking, powerful image in a latex dress. It’s tight at the top like a corset to showcase her flat stomach, with a flared skater skirt at the bottom of the dress to give the striking image of femininity and gurliness at the same time. Jelenna represents MAC’s new makeup line ‘Strength.’ Jenna writes that Jelenna’s is a body that is so different from the usual physical ideal that is shoved down women’s throats — the slim, uniformly “toned” but not muscular, waifish model body that we see in every other ad and magazine and T.V. show aimed at women.

Jenna also brings up that there is a stigma against women body builder models. People think that while it is okay for men to have large muscles and a six pack, they often do not think it is alright for a woman to have these same physical attributes. Women are supposed to be soft and curvy, or as a model, stick thin and beautiful. Women are also judged because they are fat. She writes that she finds this strange, since fat and thin shamers tend to at least cite health as a typical reason for their claims against a woman’s particular body type. This same logic does not apply to body builders. Typically, those women work out frequently and eat incredibly well in order to achieve the bodies they have.

Alison, a friend of mine, is also a female body builder and commented on this MAC advertisement saying that she thinks it is great that the company has embraced this side of feminine beauty. There are so many women out there who are both incredibly strong and incredibly beautiful. The female form in any shape is beautiful and I am glad that MAC has seen this. Just as women are many colors, we are also many shapes. Too long has mainstream beauty culture been about waifs. Alison thinks that women with muscle are like marble sculptures; both graceful and chiseled. These women are supermodels and superheroes combined.

So is it okay for a woman to be as muscular and fit and as some of her male counterparts? Yes, yes it is. Women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes, including those with muscles, and if some men and some women cannot wrap their heads around that statement it is their loss. Jelenna is “styled and photographed in a way that glamorizes her and highlights her beauty and her femininity, but the advertisement also does not camouflage or attempt to minimize her incredible body.” She represents MAC’s ‘Strength’ line so well that it’s a testament to her fitness. Some of the products MAC show cased in the ‘Strength’ line include such makeup products as 4-color eye shadow pallets in ‘all women’ and ‘inner strength ’Opulash mascara, a variety of eye pencils in certain colors and lip liner, lipstick, foundation, blush and nail color, all in special ‘Strength’ shades. Jelenna’s muscular arms are the focus of this picture. That is what makes this ad so commanding, and so incredibly beautiful.

I sincerely hope that more makeup companies start to use models in every shape and size on their product advertisements. Not just beautiful, muscular women like Jelenna, but women with other body types that are fat, thin, regular, plus-size and every size in between. Women need to see how products like MAC makeup will look on the average woman and not just skinny models.  That is why it is so important that Jelenna is the model for MAC’s ‘Strength’ line, so gurls with all body types can represent makeup products that the average person can see themselves using.


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