Alicia Keys, gorgeous Grammy winner, wrote an essay about going "make-up free" that some are calling empowering, and others are finding judgmental. In an essay for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner's feminist newsletter, Lenny LetterKeys chronicled her relationship with makeup and how it's tied into the pressure women feel to be perfect:

We all get to a point in our lives (especially girls) where we try to be perfect.

Does it start somewhere in second grade after picture day when you wear your frizzy hair out 'cause your mama says it's beautiful but all your "friends" laugh at you?

You grab the brush and gel and pull your beautiful big hair back into the tightest ponytail you possibly can to contain your unique hair in a bun — hiding a piece of who you are in order to fit into a picture of what others seem to see as perfection.

Yeah, that's one moment.


And while the fear of being laughed at launches in childhood, it goes into overdrive in middle school:

Or how about in junior high school? Where all the "pretty" girls are wearing lipstick and eyeliner and mascara. Some of them are so skilled they even look like those models in every magazine you ever read — the ones who made you feel slightly uncomfortable with yourself or misrepresented or just unseen.

It's another moment where some piece of you realizes that to fit in or be thought of as beautiful, you have to cover up to be a bit closer to perfect.