In our modern culture, beauty is still viewed in a single-minded way. What we perceive as beautiful is mostly confined to a cookie cutter in the shape of a Victoria’s Secret model. Women are expected to fit the mold, while others are excluded entirely.
“In the Western world, we equate being a man to macho culture or having to be hyper-masculine,” David Yi, the founder of men’s beauty and grooming site Very Good Light tells Yahoo Beauty. “Because men are expected to play traditional gender roles, they’re unable to embrace their feminine sides. They fail to see that femininity does not equate to weakness. Rather, it’s the complete opposite. A man who owns his femininity is often a person who owns his identity and has confidence for days.”
Yi made it his mission to normalize beauty for men, and now he’s working to remove gender from beauty completely. Teaming up with Milk Makeup to create a campaign free of any gender boundaries, Yi and Milk Makeup founder Georgie Greville are giving everybody the opportunity to own their beauty, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.
On Monday, the pair launched a campaign called Blur the Lines to explore makeup in a new and diverse light. The campaign features seven models, including transgender, cisgender, gender nonconforming, gay, straight, and bisexual individuals.
“We wanted to present as many angles of gender as possible with a focus on ambiguous, line-blurring individuals. I wanted to show the spectrum of individuality through the lens of gender, and everyone we selected had to have a fresh, positive perspective on the subject,” Greville tells Yahoo Beauty. “For me, what is amazing about this group was their awareness of the male and female balance inside themselves. That balance is different in everyone and is ultimately what we all have in common. We are all part of the spectrum of gender and hopefully this piece will help people understand that.”
For Yi and Greville, beauty is an extension of self. It has no inherent sexuality and should not be limited as such. “[Beauty is] years of placing people in rigid boxes that have created unfair gender roles for both women and men. I believe that beauty should be about self-expression, empowerment and finding your best light, no matter who you are. Genderless beauty, therefore, is all about being your authentic self. Using products that enhance who you are, and finding that inner confidence from the inside out,” Yi says. “I am really excited about the potential of makeup to help do that and let us see each other and our unique, individual beauty better,” says Greville.
The pair planted the seed for the campaign back in October. Very Good Light launched with no advertisers or partners, as Yi was adamant about finding the right brands. For him, Milk Makeup was just that.
“Even before launch, I had only three brands I wanted to work with. One was Milk Makeup. It was so obvious. Milk Makeup is all about freedom of expression. The brand has also always touted that it can be used for anyone and everyone, not just for women. I loved that they were so forthright about their mission to create a more beautiful world,” he says.
They sat down when Milk Makeup launched its cult favorite Blur Stick, a pore and line-blurring product for all genders and skin tones. “I wanted to create a metaphor for the product that really spoke to its deeper, revolutionary meaning in the industry — a truly universal product for anyone that could help you feel like who you really are on the gender fluidity spectrum. And bam, we just looked at each other and blurted ‘Blur The Lines!’ We were on the same page immediately and the project came together in a really beautiful, natural way,” says Greville.
Greville says, “For us, it’s a Public Service Announcement that calls attention to the universality of self-expression and that we are all just part of the spectrum of individuality.”
The campaign proves that makeup is more significant than many give it credit for. “Makeup is that vehicle that is there to truly make a difference in someone’s life. And it’s also one of the only mediums that can open up this world and make it a safer, more positive place,” says Yi.
“We need beauty now more than ever, and I hope Blur the Lines can make people stop to think, meditate, and love more often. Our futures depend on it.” Greville says, “Genderless beauty is the future.”