Tumblr has provided us with many novelty pages, from dogs texting their owners throughout the work day, to Ryan Gosling’s seductively feminist soundbites. And while on the surface, the Tumblr Celebrity Close-Up can seem like just another shallow excuse to laugh at celebrities’ flaws, it’s hard to not find it at least slightly refreshing. Instead of pointing out that so-and-so has gained weight, or might have an eating disorder, or has kneecaps that are way too wrinkly (an absurd accusation that is actually lanced at aging starlets), it just simply shows the people we’re used to seeing under hours of makeup and photoshop in a more honest light.
This is what thick, well-applied foundation looks like up close. This is what sun damage can do to skin. This is how wrinkles develop as you age. This is what these people look like when not put through the beauty-ideal destroying process of photo editing. It’s an acute reminder that the people to whom we are often looking up as the paradigm of physical appeal, the people who are often referenced as “the sexiest people in the world” are simply flawed, normal human beings. Even if they’re better-looking than average when stripped of the pomp and circumstance, it still doesn’t make them demigods of aesthetic perfection, completely immune to signs of aging or the effects of stress and partying on complexion.
At the end of the day, none of us look good in extreme close-up. Not even supermodels. I think we can all take a deep breath and relax, because we’re all in the ugly boat together, depending on the lighting.