Leandra Medine, hilarious mastermind behind The Man Repeller, is a brave girl. She's not afraid of taking an unflattering photo. Even crazier, she's not afraid of taking an unflattering photo and posting it online for her 561K followers to comment on. She boldly appears in public wearing clothes that, as her blog insinuates, repel the males of the species. She also rarely wears makeup.
To someone who's just come back from fighting in WWII, these examples might not seem worthy of the term "bravery." Good for her; HAS SHE BEEN SHOT AT RECENTLY? But if you're growing up in the digital, sharable, filterable age we call today, you know that for a woman, these achievements are pretty impressive. Because everyone's thinking about the way women look, and it's hard for all of us to duck away from the claws of beauty culture.
Yesterday, Medine posted a simple manifesto on her blog, titled Why I Don't Wear Makeup. Her baseline reason for skipping the eyeshadow is as charmingly honest as she is: um, she's lazy, and makeup is way too much effort. Well, that and the fact that she read a study somewhere claiming your eyelashes are 70 percent more likely to fall out if you sleep with mascara on. (Please don't be true. Please don't be true.)
But what's truly shocking is the anecdote that spurred Medine to write her post. She was reading through an email chain that had been forward to her by the male founder of a website who was apparently trying to collaborate with her on a project. This cool dude had forgotten to delete the previous comment thread on the email, so Medine saw everything he'd written to his assistant about her, including the following:
“She is ugly as fuck tho. Truly a man repeller.”
Horrifying. The fact that Medine even gets up in the morning after a slam like that is worthy of a Purple Heart.
Unfortunately, this idiot whose website deserves to founder in the dark depths of Google search is not alone. As is so common with a) internet commenters and b) anyone who has an opinion on women, those who troll the Man Repeller are disproportionately invested in her makeup-free face. It makes them SO ANGRY that she doesn't wear makeup that they have to swarm onto her comment section and demand she put on blush, as though Medine's makeup-free face has the same effect as Medusa's.
Which, of course, it doesn't.
But somehow, Medine seems as unflustered as anyone could be after facing this ridiculous criticism on a daily basis. "I am comfortable with how I look," she writes. "I don’t hate what I see when I look in the mirror. Even if legions of others don’t agree." That's smart, very healthy, and above all, straight-up brave.