Woman of the Week: Phoebe Baker Hyde

Women in America are obsessed with makeup. In order to have the “perfect” skin, eyes, and lips, the average American woman spends about 160 hours a year covering up her face to create a more beautiful one. Phoebe Baker Hyde, a mother of two currently living in Boston Massachusetts, decided in 2007 that enough was enough, so she started The Beauty Experiment. In this experiment, Baker Hyde went without makeup, jewelry, and fancy dresses for one year, saying “I did what a man would do. Put on deodorant. Put on a little gel and head out the door. Maybe I can approximate that. The makeup would go, the jewelry would go” while being interviewed on The Katie Show. She ultimately wrote a book about the experiment to explain to other women “how I skipped lipstick, ditched fashion, faced the world without concealer, and learned to love the real me”.

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At the end of the year, Baker Hyde said that she felt even more beautiful without her makeup. While society still has its problems in regards to its expectations for women’s appearances, Baker Hyde is woman of the week because she’s taking a step in the right direction. Her experiment is demonstrating that women should learn to feel beautiful without pounds of makeup hiding their true appearance. If men can feel comfortable going to work, class, or on a date without using foundation, mascara, blush, and lipstick, why can’t we?

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Our country unfortunately still has a long way to go: study after study has shown that the average citizen is more likely to help a woman who’s more dolled up than someone without makeup or fancy clothes. The Katie Show even conducted an experiment during the episode with Baker Hyde in which one of her coworkers dressed up and asked people on the streets of New York for help with directions, then dressed down to glasses and no makeup and did the same thing. When she was more dressed up, the coworker got help almost every single time she asked, with some people even offering to walk with her to where she needed to go. When she wasn’t as dressed up, the coworker had a hard time getting people to even stop and talk to her, and nobody offered to walk with her.

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Women should feel comfortable going out in public in their own skin without having to worry about having less opportunities or receiving less attention for it. Therefore, I’m posing a challenge to all of you: go without makeup every once in a while. Women don’t have to swear off makeup and cute dresses completely, but we also shouldn’t be dependent on them to feel confident. Try out Phoebe Baker Hyde’s experiment, even if just for a day, a week, or a month. With the leadership of such an inspirational woman, hopefully we can all start learning to feel comfortable in our own skin.

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