Beauty

This powerful video is redefining what ‘pretty’ actually means

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Lucy Partington
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Em Ford, creator of viral video You Look Disgusting, is back with an empowering follow-up called Redefine Pretty.

Back in 2015, YouTuber Em Ford filmed a video titled ‘You Look Disgusting’ in which she publicised the messages she received on social media whenever she posted pictures of her bare face.

The video, which has since had over 29 million views, signalled the start of #skinpositivity – a movement that aims to help people embrace skin conditions rather than feeling ashamed and hiding them away. 

Now, three years later, Ford is back with another powerful film that may or may not have brought us to tears when we watched it. Titled ‘Redefine Pretty’, the video looks at the relationship women have with their appearance and what society defines as ‘pretty’. 

“I set out wanting to discover if today’s beauty standards are to blame for the way we see and feel about ourselves,” says Ford. “This is a real picture of how ‘beauty’ is measured, and if it’s ever truly achievable.”

‘Redefine Pretty’ is about “Real women, real stories and shining a light on both the harsh reality and psychological effects beauty standards place on women,” Ford continues.

“I want to empower all women and give them the confidence to live their lives without the feeling of being judged for their appearance.

“Beyond that, it leaves one question - what effect would changing these negative standards of ‘beauty’ have on young women?”

The video, above, features candid conversations from real women with acne, psoriasis, vitiligo, birth marks and scarring. Ford also enlisted the help of Vincent Walsh, Professor of Human Brain Research at University College London, to see how the brain reacts and what emotions are linked to seeing pictures of models wearing make-up, models with bare faces and retouched images.

In the video, women are seen having brain scans while looking at photos of models. 

Heartbreakingly, they all had a negative emotional reaction – similar to that experienced during trauma – when looking at images not traditionally seen as ‘pretty’, which just proves how serious this issue is, and how much the traditional meaning of the word needs to change. 

Although the beauty industry has come a long way in the last few years, there’s still a long way to go, so let’s hope this video is the start of yet another wave of change.

Main image: courtesy of Em Ford/YouTube

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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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