Body positivity
is radical self love.*
And it is hard
to learn.

acne-positive activists help
us along
this journey.

is a data story about them.
It's an anthology of the first 51 TikTok posts while searching #acnepositivity.

A data story where numbers do not conceal the people behind them.

A story full
of beauty, intertwined with racism, gender normativity, social media algorhythmic rules and capitalism.

Fighting a norm may enforce all the others.**

Skin tone

The neat prevalence of female people can be explained by the fact that the patriarchal society has a long history of subjugating females to a specific canon of beauty.
It is a recent phenomenon the fact that males are allowed to express anxiety for beauty-related issues.

But beauty has no gender.
Beauty has no canon.

* Datum assumed, waiting to be confirmed.

Some videos have product placements to provide help in the fight against acne. The genuine ideological debates around beauty
are then mixed with the gains of big corporations.
It is important to keep in mind that the beauty canon is a way of creating a market within the female world.

What if a company truly supports the change?

Acne is a disease. There are some cures, but still not definitive. The point is that we can live beautifully anyway. And we deserve representation in the mediasphere.

Consequently, some videos criticize mainstream ideologies; others give a mood boost to all acne fighters; re-imagine the relationship between acne and makeup; and give tips about skincare and nutrition.

Remember to check the quality of the source.

Networked vanity has
its instruments: one of those is the use of the right hashtags. To create a worldwide community of strangers that advocates for the same cause, it is important that the message is recognizable.

These are the rules of the medium.

Acne is indeed more visible on pale skin. But this is not an explanation for the absolute majority of light-skinned activists.

Is it because the Western canon of beauty has never considered the black body? But how is it to be a black person with acne?
Or are we in front of a bias of the algorithm of TikTok? Maybe it is easier to be
a white activist on social media.

We need intersectional body positivity.

Still, talking about acne positivity seems to be a privilege.

(*) Marie Denee quoted in Jessica Cwynar–Horta, "Documenting Femininity: Body Positivity and Female Empowerment on Instagram," York University (Toronto, Canada – 2016)

(**) Chris Bobel and Samantha Kwan, Embodied Resistance: Challenging the Norms, Breaking the Rules,Vanderbilt University Press (Nashville, USA – 2011)

Data: 30th March 2021

The dataset has been made manually. Categorization along advertising, message and skin tone is based on personal sensibility. Information about location is often the result of a process of induction from public sources. (!) Information about sex derives from guessing along current stereotypes of physical femininity and masculinity. In order to change this parameter, I am now collecting data about the pronouns every activist uses for addressing theirselves. Acnephobic does not claim to be scientifically accurate. This is not a scientific project.

Acnephobic is made within the course
of "Information: Studio" by the Media Department of Aalto University (Espoo, Finland).

If you wish to report anything or to give
me any advice, feel free to contact me
via email. :)

Fe Simeoni © 2021

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