bella instagram

(Instagram/@crfashionbook)

We live in a world where posting makeup-free selfies or unretouched photos of ourselves is a “brave” or “fearless” action. So, when Bella Hadid‘s new CR Fashion Book photos were posted, and they were revealed to be both makeup-free and unretouched, I steeled myself: The first “she’s so brave” comments were bound to flood in. It was just a matter of time. Here’s the problem with that, though: These photos are not brave. Beautiful, for sure, but not brave.

(Related: Cindy Crawford’s Unretouched Photos Earn Applause For Proving Even Supermodels Get Older)

Bella is only 18 years old. She hasn’t been modeling for very long, but with a model mother Yolanda Foster and sister Gigi Hadid, she’s no stranger to how the fashion and modeling industries work nowadays. She, just like we do, probably knows that it’s common practice to airbrush the hell out of a model’s face and body for the sake of a campaign. That doesn’t mean that, just because she’s participating in a campaign where that practice isn’t observed, she’s brave for breaking a mold or stepping out of some comfort zone or anything like that. It doesn’t make her brave. It just makes her normal.

(Related: Vanessa Hudgens Poses With Her Dog For A Cute No-Makeup Selfie That Shows They #WokeUpLikeThis)

Let’s take a look at these pictures, shall we?

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(Instagram/@crfashionbook)

bella instagram 3

(Instagram/@crfashionbook)

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(Instagram/@benperreira)

These photos are absolutely gorgeous. I’m not denying that. But we need to quit it with the idea that just because a woman, no matter how old she is, is happy taking photos without makeup and Photoshop, that there’s something brave about her. When did it become this huge act of valor to show people who we really are and what we really look like. And, for that matter, when did it become cowardly when we want to cover up perceived imperfections with makeup or Spanx?

(Related: Vogue UK Bravely Puts Makeup-Free Nigella Lawson On The Cover)

The idea that models or women in the public eye are brave for taking unretouched photos just because they’re supposed to be seen as these idealistic portrayals of perfect women is absolutely ridiculous. I go out and take pictures without makeup all the time, mostly out of laziness rather than bravery. If we are to continue with this whole “makeup-free modeling” business, which I think we should, we need to change conversation. It’s not about being brave. It’s about being real.

(Featured Photo: Brian To/WENN.com)