How to write for The Guardian:
- Look in the mirror.
- Find something you don’t like.
- Find a celebrity with the same problem.
- Claim your find is a ‘fad’ or ‘the new hot thing’.
- Write column.
- Wallow in your virtue and the praise of an audience ‘miring your bravery.
The latest example is ‘Pimples are in’ – the rise of the acne positivity movement.
Next month: Hemorrhoids are hot – why bum berries bring us to our feet.
If you’re interested in writing one f these columns, remember to start with a ‘revelation’. The ‘a-ha moment’. This is usually best delivered by a child’s voice because they are innocent and their innocence exposes our jaded facade. In this case, literally.
It was on a family holiday that Kali Kushner discovered, abruptly, just how others viewed her skin. “At the end of the day I washed off my makeup,” she recalls. “My nephew said: ‘Why is your face so dirty?’ It took me a minute to realise he saw my foundation as a ‘clean face’ and acne as dirt.”
Kushner is an Instagram star (so she has a web page but can’ be bothered typing).
After years of oppressive aesthetic perfection, acne positivity is a drive for people to be more open about their skin problems, from the occasional spot to full-blown cystic acne. It joins recent moves to celebrate the many and varied appearances of our skin – from vitiligo to freckles and stretch marks – but also seeks to educate those who still believe that acne is a problem for the unwashed and unhealthy.
Now the struggle has been established – and her fight against society norms – it’s time to bring in the celebrity to show that what the non-celeb (Kushner) is going through is real and worth the read. It also shows that celebs are just like us. Apart from the money, the fame, the … you get the idea.
Many trace the movement back to the British blogger Em Ford, who in 2015 posted a YouTube video called You Look Disgusting. It showed her both in full makeup and bare-faced with her acne visible, as a succession of comments people had posted about her skin sprung up around her: “WTF is wrong with her face?”, “I can’t even look at her”, “Ewww, gross, horrible, ugly …”. In the first week alone, it amassed 10 million views. Ford, whose YouTube channel My Pale Skin now has more than one million subscribers, will shortly launch You Look Disgusting 2.0.
But slow is down. The Guardian is a serious journal. Hit the Google machine. It’s time to get credibility. Call an academic, or someone, anyone, qualifications.
Dr Bav Shergill of the British Association of Dermatologists says that acne “often affects people without much power in society, such as adolescents”.
I hope it didn’t take Dr Bav long to pay off that PhD.
He tells of a US study in which participants were shown a selection of photographs of high-school students with skin problems, as well as photographs of the same students with their acne airbrushed out, and asked for their impressions. The results, Shergill says, showed that “as soon as you have any disfigurement on your face, you get viewed as an introverted nerd”.
But science is hard. Struggles are … er … easier.
When [Kushner] made her page public, it was an act of defiance. “If anything, my account was a rebellion against the typical beauty blogger accounts at the time,” she says. “There was no curation taking place, no filters, angles, and certainly no Photoshop.
Yes, there was Photoshop. But back to this heart breaking story.
“I would take out my phone, take a picture, think of a caption within four or five minutes and post it. It was and always has been about keeping it real. It was a call against stereotypical standards of beauty, saying that you don’t need X/Y/Z to be beautiful. All you need is you.”
All you need is you!
Cut! And Scene.
And that’s how you get into The Guardian. If you’re into that sort of thing.