Society has always had unfair stereotypes for both men and women, one being that only women should wear makeup and play with Barbies, while men should play sports and act tough. The makeup brand Covergirl, is known for having iconic female role models as their campaign ambassador; Katy Perry, Pink, Taylor Swift, and countless other famous women. It was a shock to the beauty world when Covergirl announced that their new Covergirl (coverboy) would be James Charles, age 17. Charles first started getting attention on his Instagram account and Youtube channel, where he produces makeup tutorials. Covergirl has a great opportunity to shine light on this stereotype and hopefully make progress towards breaking that barrier for both men and women.
The first impactful action that put Charles on the map in the beauty community occurred last month on social media when he posted his high school senior portrait on Twitter. The photo depicted the act of applying highlighter to his face.Those lacking a background in beauty were astonished; this was an irregular act for a teenaged boy.
I thought this was extremely influential by sending a blunt message. If you really want something, then you have to put yourself out there. Yes, there are going to be critics, but once you can get past them, you can show your true self. I took Charles’s brave stunt as an inspiration for my future self. I’ve always been hesitant to voice my opinion because I was afraid of what others would think about me.
In recent years there has been a surge of male “beauty gurus” popping up on social media platforms, demonstrating that they too, have the freedom and confidence to put on makeup and transform themselves into a more feminine version of themselves, which many would call a “women’s act.” Growing up as a young woman, it was very clear to me what society’s message was: to always keep up your appearance in order to satisfy society’s standards. Charles has opened a door that will hopefully give the general public some insight into fascinating world of both gender makeup artists. I am an avid YouTube watcher, and currently a good 45 percent of the people I am subscribed to are males. What’s funny is the fact that most of the male “beauty gurus” are close to or are better at applying makeup then the female YouTubers.
A new generation has arisen as we embark on a diverse path and open mindset towards gender neutral pronouns. The brand hopes that Charles will resonate with “Generation Z” and hopefully be profitable, “Getting Gen Z on board with the brand could help the brand find more success in that market again. Social engagement is off the charts,” said Laura Brinker, Vice President of Marketing at American makeup brand Coty. Having a Coverboy could open up the conversation of gender roles and hopefully mitigate the vast amount of stereotypes that currently exist. If such a small change can spark a revolution, then why can’t we apply similar efforts to the wage gap and other very important concepts? If we desire a future in which the gender barriers are no longer a reality, then we must create an environment conducive to progressive thinking and follow the path that generation Z has begun to pave.