TikTok’s ‘Ugly Beauty’ Trends Show That We’re Officially Done With The Male Gaze

Photos by Kristy Sparow/Anthony Ghnassia/Getty Images/SSENSE Designed by Marli Blanche u0026 Briar Clark
TikTok's 'Tomato Girl' aesthetic and glowy golden hour makeup belong to the club of natural, traditionally pretty style and beauty trends that always seem to have a place in the wider cultural conversation. But what is a bit of a headscratcher is the emerging popularity of trends that seem to throw all of those traditions and conventional beauty standards out the window. #UglyBeauty has amassed 13.7 million views on TikTok and is projected to be one of the biggest emerging beauty trends on the app this year. Similarly, in the world of style, #ManRepeller aesthetic (not to be confused with the now-defunct publication with the same name) has garnered 4.8 million views on TikTok.
Some of the app's content creators, including Julia Fox, have abandoned the male gaze altogether, embracing the "man-repellant" aesthetic, and making public declarations that “dirty girl, ugly, not wearing clothes that fit your body type... just wearing anything you want; all those things are in.”
@juliafox Ooooo I know this is gonna make the broke boys mad #OLDISIN ♬ original sound - Julia fox
When she's not delivering messages online to "make the broke boys mad" Fox is donning large sheets of manipulated plastic, hats that look like feathered mohawks, removing any traditionally 'feminine' facial features with a face full of avant-garde white makeup and black lipstick, and walking the red carpet at Cannes. I'm inspired.
Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images
Celebrities like Doja Cat too have employed the help of professionals such as makeup artist Laurel Charleston with the specific desire to create makeup looks that challenge the ideals of traditional, glamorous and beautiful makeup. As a result, the pair have realised some of the artist's most creatively imaginative and boundary-pushing looks. Charleston has decorated Doja's entire body in blood-red Swarovski crystals, painted abstract and intricate artwork onto her shaved head, and made her look like the late Karl Lagerfeld's cat Choupette using prosthetics. No one could ever argue that the intention behind a single one of these looks is to meet the traditional standards of 'pretty'. But that's why it's so good.
SSENSE’s new bridal collection launched last week, and depicts new non-gendered ideals within the construct of traditional heteronormative motifs. The collection includes designs from labels like Simone Rocha, Sandy Liang, Chopova Lowena and more, who have all reimagined what the pinnacle of heteronormative traditionalism looks like. Chopova Lowena literally ripped apart a wedding dress at the seams and reconstructed it with metal hardware elements. Simone Rocha ballooned the silhouette of her bride with layered curtains of sheer lace, making it impossible to discern the figure of the person underneath.
SSENSE photographed five real couples in the new collection with the disclaimer that it seeks to "investigate the meaning of marriage itself" by presenting "the future of an old-fashioned idea". As a result, not a single frame of the shoot feels like it's seen through the lens of the male gaze; the overwhelming, strong silhouette of an oversized groom's suit softly adapts to the slight shoulders of the person wearing it. Another has hitched the skirt of their Fidan Novruzova dress to reveal an unshaven leg and Nike sneakers. It's genius.
@oldloserinbrooklyn SSENSE launches a bridal category and its SO GOOD ripped straight from my own wedding moodboard. Just obsessed. #bridallook #wedding #bridalfashion #ssense #bridetobe #alternativebride ♬ original sound - Mandy Lee
Coupled with the 'girls rule, boys drool' energy of the Barbie movie and the impending promise of rat girl summer (our bodies are ready), it would appear that we're well and truly sick and tired of hearing what men have to say, let alone attempting to appeal to them by adhering to traditional beauty ideals. In the words of Keke Palmer: "Sorry, to this man".

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