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Modern Parenthood

Heidi Klum: no makeup for charity, 'empowerment.' Really?

Heidi Klum is ditching her lipstick as part of a BBC Children in Need 'Go BearFaced' campaign, which encourages women to spend Nov. 9 without makeup. But one mom wonders: How do more Heidi Klum photos help girls?

By Correspondent / November 2, 2012

Heidi Klum arriving at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, Sept. 23, 2012.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

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Even without makeup, Heidi Klum still looks great.

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Correspondent

is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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Feel empowered yet?

You should, according to the new BBC Children in Need “Go BearFaced” campaign.

Yes, the corporate charity of the British Broadcasting Company is encouraging women across the world to ditch their makeup Nov. 9 – just like Heidi! – and instead draw or attach a little paw print symbol on their cheek. This is a “really simple way to raise money for a great cause,” the group says, because women should be able to get sponsors for this “brave” move, the same way they would if they were running a charity race.

Because, you know, it should take about the same effort for a modern woman to leave behind her lipstick for a day as it would be for her to run a marathon. Or at least a 10K.

Anyhow, if you need more inspiration for getting BearFaced, you can go to the BBC Children in Need website, where you can scroll through beautifully-lit photos of female celebrities not wearing makeup. There you will find Ms. Klum, a former Victoria’s Secret Angel, who attests to be “so proud” to be taking part in the campaign because she is a “firm believer of encouraging women’s empowerment.”

Also featured (and gorgeous) is English singer and media personality Louise Redknapp, as well as English television presenter Caroline Flack.

Go girl power!

Or something.

Now, we’re all for girls’ “empowerment” here.  And for raising money for needy kids. But I’m having some trouble with this one.

Perhaps it's because I am missing the connection between disadvantaged kids in the UK and beautiful “BearFaced” celebrities, let alone the link between fundraising and everyday women not wearing makeup.

It seems that building a charity campaign around a daring lack of eye-liner is perpetrating just those stereotypes about girls and beauty the group says it is against; it assumes that makeup is so pervasive, and so dear to women, that it would take some real effort – some bravery, even – to appear without it.

And I know, from first hand experience, this does not need to be the case.

I mean, I could raise money every day if someone sponsored me to not wear eye shadow. Start adding bonus funds for the tired-mommy-can’t-find-that-year-old-stick-of-mascara-that-even-the-manufacturer-says-to-throw-away look, and I’m telling you, I’m your spokeswoman.

But even if I’m in the minority on this one – a few months back, the hosts of 'The Talk' also made a splash when they launched their third season with a makeup-free show – you still have an “empowerment” campaign that is focused on physical beauty.

And even if it's in the name of disadvantaged kids, that should probably make us pause.

With or without lipstick.

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