I already know this is going to raise a few eyebrows & potentially even shake up a few of my friendships but the world seems to have become a positively progressive place in the current situation, with everyone doing the things we’d previously been too reserved to do. And rightly so too – live & let live & all that jazz, we only live once!
Anyone who has ever read a post on here or my Instagram will know that, above all else, I’m all about the self love.
Although another wanky internet buzzword, self love is essential for that happy lifestyle we all desire; being, owning, embracing, utilising, treating, proving, enjoying ourselves for who, what, how & why we are.
But, friends & readers will also know that, as a close second, I don’t shy away from sharing an unpopular opinion.
So, with that in mind, I want to spill the tea (I’ve re-watched a lot of Drag Race during lockdown – sorry not sorry!) on how I feel about lockdown liberation. Or, more specifically, how I feel about the Don’t Rush challenge on Tiktok.
Don’t Rush Ahead & Miss Out
This viral craze connects us all during an otherwise very lonely time.
It encourages us all to exhibit our talents, humour & imagination.
It entertains us all when we we’ve got a quarentine’s worth of spare time on our hands (I feel like a “quarantine” is an appropriate measure of time, don’t you?).
It inspires us all to make the same old internet fad our own by adding our own creative spin on the before & after format.
Tiktok has brought us incredible versions of this challenge recreated by marginalised bodies, ethnic minority groups, individuals with disabilities, charity fundraisers, life-saving key working superheroes. And it’s all so heart warming that it could melt any of our hearts. Yes, it could even melt that steely heart of Susan on Reception.
The aspiring optimist within me loves every part of this Don’t Rush challenge & I’d love to let that part of me win for us all to live happily ever after…
Don’t Rush Into The Positivity Too Soon
But the bigger, stronger, cynically observant part of me wins here, as I can’t help but notice the common theme of what I can only describe as “self shaming” running through a good 90% of these otherwise uplifting videos.
As we all know from the umpteen creative variables we’ve viewed from this, the general premise of this particular Tiktok craze is to edit ourselves a “before & after” style makeover using the wonder of modern technology as follows:
Step One: Make no effort in our appearance (no make up, no cute outfit, no fucks given towards our personal aesthetic)
Step Two: Spot our reflection & see how repulsive we look with an exaggerated, comedic nod of “what is that? Ugh, that shall not do!” towards ourselves
Step Three: Spot a tool – usually a make up applicator of some kind – that can improve how physically disgusting we are right now & have a lightbulb moment that this very tool can rid us of our ugly ways
Step Four: Use said tool to obstruct the vision of you, e.g. use a foundation brush to brush over the camera lens
Step Five: Remove said obstruction & add a clever bit of video editing to reveal a fully made up, visually beautified vision of ourselves
Step Six: Spot our reflection again & see how much better our new look is with another exaggerated, comedic nod of “how you doin’!” towards ourselves
Step Seven: Pass the original tool off camera for the next slovenly, sloppy, slob to “take” from you & start the makeover process all over again
Most of us are living a life of makeuplessness in the comfort of our pyjamas so a reason to get all made up to make people smile is warmly welcomed but, honestly, what’s wrong with the bare-faced “befores” that we all seem so disgusted by in these videos?
And why oh why would we then pass this notion of “bitch, please” to someone else afterwards?
A lot of marginalised bodies – predominantly my fuller framed fat friends – fight hard to deter the notion that they are someone’s “before” photo, so why are we now volunteering ourselves as that very thing & actually inviting people to judge &/or laugh at us for/based on it?
Furthermore – a word I probably haven’t used since my A-Level exams! – even if we do feel “better” about ourselves when we make more of an effort with our physical beauty, are we not placing unnecessary shame on ourselves for the times we don’t want to or even can’t (hi there, chronic & mental illness!) scribble on a winged eye line?
Not to mention the judging others aspect of the challenge, when we then see someone else’s unwashed hair crowning their loungewear laden physique as something unsightly that needs changing.
The self love societies, plus size populations, body positive brigades & gratitude gangs to name but a few subcultures have all paid homage to the Don’t Rush challenge with their own inventive renditions of the same overall “before & after” concept, with the “before” more often than not being portrayed very much as the lesser version of the more acceptable “after”.
But, hypocritical much?
Don’t Rush to Judge Me Too Quickly
Many of the communities joining in with this are those who have spent so much time building themselves & others up to not only accepting the physical card we’ve been dealt but loving it, & occasionally even giving me jip for my own decision to lose weight for my health because I’m the one implying their fat bodies are my “before” (!).
Isn’t this Tiktok craze going against the collective beliefs of the communities joining in with this?
Isn’t this whole thing essentially doing the opposite of loving ourselves as we are, while signifying that we – as our self-endorsed “before” pictures – are less worthy if we look less physically appealing?
Isn’t this exercise of well-intended positivity just welcoming others to judge us by showing ourselves judging others sporting the same quarantine couture?
Because, at a time when none of us need any more negativity throwing at us, the damaging implications of this slap me too hard ‘round the chops to just let it settle without getting on my soapbox & getting it off my chest.
Don’t Rush To Block Me After This
The final word I want to shout from my soapbox before I nip off to make my millionth brew of the day is that of positivity; absolutely zero shade is cast on any of these Tiktoks or any individuals joining in with them.
Not all of you (“you” being the Don’t Rush beauties) are examples of what I discussed & some of you have gone above & beyond to whip up even funnier, more body confident versions of this. So yes yes yes to you!
You all look amazing in your challenges but never forget that you all look equally as amazing “before” the makeover.
Hats off to you all who have shown the vulnerable, make up free, pyjama clad side of yourselves that Tiktok ordinarily wouldn’t see, just to entertain the masses at this time.
Stay safe. And get those hands washed.
Mrs Walmsley| The Unseasoned Wag x