I cannot pinpoint the first time that I heard, “Yassss honey, your face is beat!” in reference to beauty; but it didn’t sit well with me. I was confused when I heard it. It sounded like a backwards compliment. When I heard it I thought about the scars that are hidden by makeup. Scars caused by the hands of a person that says “I love you”. The eye shadow that does not take away the swelling from a black eye. The lip stick that blends the blood from a busted lip. Blush that provides contrast to the bruises. Concealer that masks the facial destruction. I think about the pain of domestic violence.
The beauty industry has taken the phrase “beat your face” and made it into something that makes people more comfortable with the idea of having a beat face. In my opinion, that is an odd choice of words. It is understood that words have power. Words also have history and meaning. The fact that the terminology refers to assault, abuse, and pain does not lend itself well to beauty. As a survivor of domestic violence, I take offense to the phrase. I was not beaten in the face but I was broken on a regular basis. However, there were times that I feared for my life.
Hearing someone say that they are going to willing have their “face beat” sends so many of the wrong signals. There are 1 in 3 women that suffer from intimate partner violence every day. The women that are getting their makeup done are not doing so in honor of those women. They are getting made up for pleasure. When a woman is living in an abusive relationship, she wears makeup to cover the scars. At the same time, women wear masks to hide from the shame of the abuse. Often times makeup is seen as a mask regardless of the situation. It only adds insult to injury when it is said that beautiful makeup is equivalent to a beat face.
I get the idea of new slang and innovative ways to say the same thing. This is one that just does not seem like it was well thought out. The beauty industry typically promotes beauty and tranquility. Domestic violence goes directly against that. There are multiple forms of domestic violence that infect relationships. Many people suffer in silence and live in pain. It is not easy to be in these situations. In addition, it is not always easy to get out. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides assistance to both victims and survivors.