I love strolling the aisles of Ulta, Sephora and every big department store, staring at all the pretty, shiny things. I look at every palette, shadow, gloss, every lipstick and brush. I especially love the little test strips that they’ve put in stores now so that you can test the nail polish instead of using the display as a gauge of what the color actually looks like on your finger. Generally speaking, by the end of every trip, my hands either look like they lost a fight with a Crayola box or sparkle like a prom dress. Makeup is fun. And glamorous. But do I really love makeup? Maybe in theory.
Most of us can agree that make-up can be a total hassle. It takes time to make sure your liner looks even on both sides and not every day is a banner day when it comes to mascara. It’s also incredibly expensive to keep a full, fresh makeup bag. So, when I heard a comment from a guy about girls wearing makeup, it irked me.
A few months ago, I was at a friend’s house with a group of people. One of my guy friends is very candid and borderline abrasive, but it’s (mostly) humorous. He was talking with his brother’s girlfriend and complained that he had hidden something in her makeup bag and she hadn’t found it for three days. I should’ve asked him why he was playing Treasure Hunt with her makeup bag (and why he would invade her privacy like that, but that’s a different story), but instead I asked what his deal was. He replied, “How could you go three days without makeup? If she were my girlfriend, she would be wearing makeup every day.” This was maybe a week after he had told me he had his girlfriend grow her hair out because he hated short hair. I know, I know. He’s a total charmer.
Both comments totally caught me off guard, and slowly started to enrage me. He was essentially saying that what makes a girl attractive is long hair and makeup. I was sitting there with hair that hadn’t been brushed since before I showered earlier that day and had no makeup under my glasses. Did that mean that I was unattractive because I wasn’t wearing any?
The more I started to think about it, the angrier I got. I didn’t understand why he had such antiquated ideas of what a woman is and is not. What’s wrong with someone not wanting to wear makeup? Why do I have to go through the process of making sure my hair looks perfect and my makeup is on point just to go over to a friend’s house for a couple of beers? It didn’t make any sense to me.
When guys make comments like that, it makes me think that they have the most unrealistic expectations of what makes a woman a woman. Sure, I love the feeling of putting on makeup. It’s fun to be able to try different things and stalk Pinterest for new ideas. I can’t count the number of pins I have of makeup tutorials I want to try, but will probably never get to. If I go out on a Saturday night, for someone’s birthday or I’m going to see Queen Bey in concert, I’m going to pull out all the stops. If I’m going to someone’s house to hang out or if I’m watching Netflix with my boyfriend, the most I’ll do is probably put on some Chapstick and call it a day because I don’t feel like those activities require much makeup.
I don’t want to be unrecognizable with or without it. I feel good about myself either way. The double standard for women when it comes to makeup is absurd. If we wear too much and then take it off, looking completely different, we’re told we are falsely representing ourselves to men. If we don’t wear all that much or even none at all, we are pegged as not really care enough about ourselves to warrant attention. Well, what if I’m not actively seeking attention?
And if someone does love their makeup bag, who says that they’re looking for attention? Mostly, women wear makeup, much like clothing, for themselves and for other women. We want to know how to feel confident and sexy on our own, creating our own definition of what makes us a woman. Makeup doesn’t determine who you are as a person, nor does it determine your level of interest in the opposite sex when you walk out the front door.
Take for example Jennifer Aniston’s new role in the movie Cake where she wears absolutely no makeup. No foundation, no lipstick, no mascara, nothing. The only reason why Aniston had to sit in the makeup chair was to have surgical scars painted on, since she’s playing a car crash survivor. Aniston stated, “[I felt] so fabulous — so dreamy and empower[ed] and liberat[ed].” And this is coming from an actress who is the face of Aveeno and her own beauty line, Living Proof. Girl knows how to work the lip gloss and blow-out, but she also feels beautiful and comfortable without all that.
If you want to wear makeup, wear it because it makes you feel good, not because it would make your boyfriend or friends or family or even society as a whole happy. It should be because you want to rather than because someone else tells you that you should in order to be feminine. If you want to go out to the bar in a hoodie, a beanie and your glasses without a stitch of makeup, go for it. Rock it just as hard as you would if you were a walking MAC ad. Plus, your skin will thank you for letting it breathe and your eyes (if you’re of the impaired vision folk like myself) will be grateful that you give them the occasional break. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman to go without makeup. Don’t let anyone tell you what is and isn’t feminine.
Image via, Giphy