Whenever a celebrity shares a makeup-free selfie or flaunts her natural hair, social media usually celebrates. But one woman just learned that the same praise isn’t necessarily poured upon regular people.
Chelsea Gulley recently took to Twitter to share a photo of herself barefaced with curly hair in a half-up, half-down style. Along with the photo, @CTheCapicorn, her handle, shared, “I ain’t half naked, I don’t wear make up, and I don’t have weave. Therefore, this pic will get 0 likes. But hey ya’ll.”
However, Gulley’s prediction didn’t pan out. The post has received more than 18,000 likes, 2,600 retweets, and 1,000 comments, including a spirited debate.
I ain't half naked, I don't wear make up, and I don't have weave. Therefore, this pic will get 0 likes. But hey y'all. pic.twitter.com/QSz3NajgF1
— Chelsea (@CTheCapricorn) July 9, 2017
“This Pic deservz a Love not a like…God Bless!” wrote one supporter. Another simply noted, “Girl yesssss.” Many others also applauded her confidence and wit.
Yet others weren’t as complimentary and accused Gulley of putting down other women.
Oh no baby no one is offended. It's just sad that you have to put down other women to lift yourself up lmaoo
— IVY (@heauxnews) July 11, 2017
The only ppl no letting ppl live as they please r the 1s acting like they deserve a cookie for not wearing makeup, like…. pic.twitter.com/oijONn3Jj9
— NakeyNakeyNaked✨ (@aemoryofficial) July 12, 2017
It ain't that serious post your pic and go without putting down other black queens for embracing themselves how they want to. pic.twitter.com/SVQ9Afpe3V
— 50/50 Type Guy (@laskey2011) July 11, 2017
I'm just saying, don't slander women for doing something you've been doing. People express themselves differently.
— 50/50 Type Guy (@laskey2011) July 11, 2017
Well you got the likes you wanted but, look at what it came with. Be careful what you wish for ♀️
— Aerin (@aerincreer) July 11, 2017
In response to the controversy she unintentionally stirred, Gulley tells Yahoo Beauty that she believes “most women feel the need to wear makeup, dress certain ways, and wear weaves to feel attractive.” But, she notes, that doesn’t mean she’s against those things — she just doesn’t think women have to do that to feel beautiful. “There are so many women glamorized because of their artificial appearances as well as surgeries on their bodies. I don’t want women thinking they have to look that way to feel attractive, because it’s already so many who don’t feel they look good enough being natural,” she clarifies.
Ovbiously some feelings were hurt just cause I was stating facts. So me saying what I don't have in a picture is putting down others? How..
— Chelsea (@CTheCapricorn) July 11, 2017
The 20-year-old aspiring entrepreneur was taken aback by the criticism she received — and by how many social media users misinterpreted her post. “Never did I say I was against makeup or weave. I’ve worn them before, and I wear it every now and then. I love to watch makeup videos and hair videos. I personally just don’t have the patience to do those things, but I like seeing it, just not so much to where you aren’t comfortable without it,” she says.
Gulley has never personally felt pressure to conform to societal beauty ideals to get more likes on social media, but she has noticed lots of others that do. “I’ve seen many women put on makeup and outfits as if they’re going out just to take pictures, and don’t even have intentions of going anywhere,” she shares. “Some women don’t even leave the house without putting on makeup, and I feel they should be comfortable without needing to do all that. I understand makeup is also a hobby, but I don’t want any woman feeling like they have to wear it to be defined as beautiful.”
Gulley doesn’t regret her post, but she does say that she could have been more careful with her wording. “I can see how it could be construed that likes are important. I know some of my feedback to some of the women was using vulgar language, and I do apologize because that’s not in my character,” she says.
Gulley was happy to see that her point successfully reached some and wants to continue to be a motivator in encouraging others to accept their natural beauty. Even if she’s not a celebrity…yet.
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- Zendaya Proudly Rocks Natural Locks in Paris
- Woman Shares Mastectomy Scar and Powerful Message: ‘Representation Matters’
- This Blogger Is Over Women With ‘Socially Acceptable’ Curls Defining the Natural Hair Community