I was a preteen in the early aughts — ten when the internet was supposedly going to collapse, and 13 when Mean Girls hit theaters. Far too young to hate my body, I hated it all the same because it was brown, and after puberty, round in places the women in teen movies and on magazine covers were not. I had bigger breasts in 8th grade than 30-year-old Jennifer Garner did in 13 Going on 30 — than most teen celebrities did, in fact. I couldn’t see any of my bones when I stood naked in front of the mirror and this troubled me, since the body standards at the time were decidedly slim-hipped, boyish, flat-chested, flat-stomached, and flat-bottomed — the better to slip into your low-rise jeans with, I can only assume.
Suffice it to say, I personally am not delighted to hear these fashion trends are making a comeback. What I am excited about, however, is body glitter all over everything, and on all skin tones. And that’s what’s tricky about Y2K fashion and beauty: it’s half whimsy, manic-pixie-fairy-dust, shimmer body glitter you can eat, and half celebratory of a thinness and whiteness that is shocking to me now.
Y2K trends, much like the first IT miniseries, need a reboot. The late nineties and early aughts pop culture scene was overwhelmingly white, and nowhere was this as evident as the beauty trends that were made popular at the time. As a young teen, everything I loved about Y2K beauty was featured prominently on the white pop stars and starlets of the era: Kirsten Dunst on the red carpet for Bring It On, awash in bright color and lots of shine; Christina Aguilera doused in shimmer at any given event; Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani in glittery lids, highlighter you could bounce a camera flash off of, and bright washes of hot pinks and baby blues. These were the aspirational beauty looks you saw on the darlings of MTV and teen movies. But revisit a red carpet roundup from that time, and it’s hard to find a woman of color in the same colorful makeup aesthetic — wearing a shimmery lid in any color other than gold, or a glossy lip that isn’t in tones of brick or mauve. (Lil’ Kim was an exception, when she debuted her iconic lilac-highlighted lip at the 1999 MTV VMAs.)
Desinty’s Child at the 5th Annual Soul Train “Lady of Soul” AwardsJim Smeal / Contributor / Getty
That’s not to say …….