Mumbai native Reshma, like many other young women her age, turns to makeup as means of self-empowerment, uploading videos of her beauty tutorials on YouTube. But unlike most other beauty vloggers, 18-year-old Reshma is an acid attack victim. And she’s using her platform to make a difference.
An alleged attack by her brother-in-law in 2014 partially closed and infected Reshma’s right eye and caused her to lose her left eye. After receiving multiple treatments to heal her wounds, she’s spreading the word so that fewer women have to undergo her same hardships.
So far, Reshma has shared three beauty tutorials showing how she does her eyeliner, gets rid of dark spots, and does the perfect red lip. Her videos share a simple yet powerful message: Acid is as accessible as makeup, making people—mostly women, who’ve been primarily targeted—vulnerable to attacks every day. With dangerous, concentrated acid costing less than an eyeliner pencil (100 rupees versus 30 rupees, or about $1.50 versus a meager 45 cents), change must be demanded—and Reshma is asking for help, by simply signing a petition to ban the over-the-counter sale of acid in India. Through the organization Make Love Not Scars, survivors are raising their voices against their attackers and against the sale of a dangerous substance that’s far too easy to obtain.
We’ve long seen makeup as a tool for more than just touching up under-eye circles or accentuating our favorite features, and it’s beyond inspiring to see it used for such a worthy cause. Reshma’s tutorials show her unbreakable spirit—and that couldn’t be more beautiful.
Sign the petition to ban the over-the-counter sale of acid in India here.