Vlogs about beauty tips aren’t anything new. Some of the most popular channels on YouTube are dedicated to the subject, and sometimes it seems like everyone with a webcam feels like they’re qualified to dole out makeup and fashion tips. This is a space where you really have to stand out to make any headway, but if there’s one thing acid-attack survivor Reshma Bano Quereshi has no trouble with, it’s standing out.
In Ms. Quereshi’s first video of beauty tips, which you can watch below, she outlines the best way to get perfect red lips.
The video, which was produced by New Delhi-based nonprofit Make Love Not Scars, opens much like any other beauty tips video.
“Hi girls, I’m Reshma,” Ms. Quereshi says, as the video fades in from black. “I’m here to teach you how to get perfect red lips.”
Reshma goes on to rattle off tips on how you should first remove dead skin cells with a brush before applying a moisturizer, lip balm, liner, and, finally, the perfect shade of red lipstick.
Then she drops a bomb.
“You’ll find a red lipstick easily in the market, just like concentrated acid. This is the reason why, every day, a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack. Please click this link [to sign a petition] and help enforce the ban on open sale of acid.”
That’s it. Fade to black and roll credits.
Except that isn’t it. Reshma came back a day later with a second video of beauty tips, this time on how to apply eyeliner, and it hits just as hard as the first.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a third video of beauty tips Reshma-style is also on the way.
In 2014, Reshma was visiting Northern India, when she was attacked and assaulted with acid by a gang that included her brother-in-law. The teenager lost an eye in the attack, and her entire face was left severely disfigured. And she was only one of hundreds of other girls attacked that year.
When Reshma said in her first beauty tips video that a girl becomes a victim of an acid attack every day, it wasn’t rhetoric. According to the Wall Street Journal, there were 309 reported incidences of acid attacks in 2014. Other sources indicate that unreported incidences are in the neighborhood of 1,500 each year.
And all this despite a 2013 ruling by the Indian Supreme Court that should have made it harder to obtain acid by just walking into a store.
Ria Sharma, founder of Make Love Not Scars, has said that the intent behind the beauty tip videos is to raise awareness and to convince the Indian government to stick to the Supreme Court Ruling.
“When people look at an acid victim,” she said, “they can’t handle disfigurement. They find them scary, repulsive, and immediately distance themselves from it.”
Reshma’s beauty tips, hopefully, place a different spin on things.
“We wanted them to look at Reshma and say, ‘she can be cool and hip too. She’s just like me!'”
According to Marie Claire, Ria will bring the petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in person once it reaches 25,000 signatures. In the first two days it was online the petition received about 1,000 signatures. As of this writing, it has surged to over 50,000.
If Reshma’s beauty tip videos touched you, and you want to help, you can sign the petition on the Make Love Not Scars website.
[Image via YouTube]