Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Makeup Debate: Seeing the Other Side




I have always considered myself a feminist, ever since the age of six when I refused to watch any Disney movies because ‘girls don’t need a boy to save them’. I feel strongly about the issue of body image, and believe that everyone should love themselves exactly the way that they are.

It wasn’t until last week, when I was going through my lengthy morning ritual of applying every makeup product imaginable, that I realised I may in fact be nothing but a gigantic hypocrite. Yes, I believe that everyone is beautiful the way that they are, but I will spout this at my friends while I am powdering my nose or touching up my lipstick.

But here’s the thing: I can see the hypocrisy. I really can. But I still have absolutely no problem with makeup, whether it’s on myself or anybody else. Because when it comes down to it, what is the harm?

I have seen so many videos and blogs lately spouting the evils of makeup on female self-esteem; as well as having comments thrown at me from my friends and family who don’t wear makeup (which is always the case when someone does anything that we don’t). So, as a long time makeup wearer and a short time writer, I am going to do something a little crazy.

I am going to argue the other side.

I don’t think that makeup is a social evil designed to keep female morale down; designed to keep them believing that they can’t be lovely without it. After my families comments particularly got to me last year, I decided to go six months without makeup. And you know what? I was just as happy, my self-esteem was just as high, and I was just as confident as when I do slather product onto my face. But once the six months were over, I went right back to wearing makeup.

Because I like it. Not because without it I am snivelling, unhappy mess on the floor; but because it’s fun to wear. Just as it’s fun to get my hair done and wear pretty dresses.

And even in the cases where people do find makeup boosting their self-esteem and lack confidence without it, I still think that makeup is absolutely fine. Blasphemy I know. But the truth is, a large proportion of society do beat themselves up about their looks. And while it’s all well and good to say ‘have high self-esteem’, you can’t force it onto someone. And if something external is going to make them feel more attractive on the outside, allowing them to shine on the inside, then there is nothing wrong with that.

There are bigger battles to fight, and making women feel bad for needing that extra something to feel a little bit more special isn’t doing anyone any favours; nor does it suddenly force people to feel better about themselves without it.

Unless something is detrimental to either the person in question or others around them, I think the saying that we need to remember is ‘live and let live’.

25 comments:

nancy said...

I like this post. you've helped me see a side of the argument that I hadn't really thought about before!

make up has never been a big deal in my life: I'm too lazy for it, it costs too much money, and I think I look silly with it on. however, I can understand why people wear it - how it could give someone a little boost in the same way a new pair of shoes or a new hair cut could. I know that putting on red lipstick always makes me feel fancy! it just doesn't suit my personality - and that's fine by me. just as it's fine by me for other people to wear make up if it makes them feel good.

what I DON'T think is fine, is when women believe they NEED make up in order to be happy or peppy or beautiful. I know that's the point you included as well :)

thanks for the post! it's a good'n!

Kacey Hayes said...

Absolutely sister! I'll keep applying the red lipstick and mascara, thank ya. I enjoy it. <3

SJ said...

i don't wear a lot of make up but frankly, i'm not interested in going without the small amount i wear. Concealer is a god send and i LOVE mascara and will continue to wear it for many years to come!

Katie said...

Eh, I'm a staunch feminist and I don't find anything wrong with make up. I find things wrong with the beauty industry and their advertising. But make up is a-okay with me. If it makes you feel good, then why not?

keishua said...

That Is a a at times hot button issue in some feminist camps. I think women should wear what they want. However feeling unpretty unless you wear something us an issue. Not sure if IRS physiological, feminist or both. I love makeup and am feminine(not girly) and I think that it's very empowering to be that way. What empowers us is different for everyone. Sometimes a little mascara and a touch of lipgloss can take things up a notch. However, I think of make up as an accessory to my look- it doesn't make or break me. Lol. Sorry for the super long comment!

Autumn said...

I like myself with or without it. However, I enjoy wearing makeup.

Mallory and Hannah said...

i think you did very well arguing the other side! i completely agree. of course, some women go a little to far with makeup... but when it makes us feel pretty, what's the matter?

Tuesdai Noelle said...

I've always seen makeup as an enchancement not a "giver of beauty." I don't wear makeup 24/7 nor do I allow anyone to make me feel guilty if I should do so.

Good Post!

Tuesdai Noelle said...

I've always seen makeup as an enchancement not a "giver of beauty." I don't wear makeup 24/7 nor do I allow anyone to make me feel guilty if I should do so.

Good Post!

demie said...

i think is lovely with mascara and lipstick, even in young girls, if they like it. but the actual make-up is better to start using it when one actually needs it! and believe me waiting always pays of. one looks better when 40 if they did not use make-up when 20.
promise : )

Rachana said...

I completely agree with you! A little confidence booster is ok!

Hazel said...

I always feel more confident and sexier when I wear makeup, but I only ever wear a tiny bit. Like eyeliner and mascara. I don't cake it on.

But the thing is, I'm completely fine without it too. I believe that people should your natural face, it's what we were born with so why be ashamed of it.

Love said...

i dont wear makeup... and yes i do have at the back of my mind this thing, that if i am pretty i shud be fine without it... and that makeup are for special moments, when u want to give everyone a bit of heart attack:)

and usually my skin which is untra sensitive wants to breath freely and is super cranky when i have something...and well i can never really learn how to do it rite...

but its very attractive and i usually feel a bit awed when i fidn someone that looks better then me... somehow ... but since as soon as she is out of the way i am back to being the best thing around me... i usually forget to remember doing it...

i dont know...but if i like a product, which my skin permits and is easy for me to manage applying... i wud be like one of u all... or if i had a girl friend who i cud take tips on and get help learning it from may be then... unfortunately the only girl i know or am close to is my mom and she is just as ignorant on makeup issues as i am...

or if i find a man who is adamant for having me all made up i may just to please him and get that motivation to do it... its a hassle i can never have time or energy for...:)

Aquí said...

fantastic argument from the other side! I, of course, agree with you. I don't wear makeup to bump up my self esteem but I think its fun to wear and I really enjoy applying it for some reason. Its almost therapeutic.

Ashley said...

Totally agree. As long as make-up is not a NECESSITY in one's life, why not have a little frivilous fun? I'm all for playing around with colors and glitter and what not. I've just learned not to rely on it in my old age. I can go with or without! :)

Anna said...

A complicated subject! I'm definitely a makeup wearer, I prefer the way I look with it although I have mixed feelings about that.
X

iris said...

As I've stated elsewhere, feminism is not about what you can't do. At some point in time, domestic hobbies (i.e., sewing, knitting, etc) were considered un-feminist. This is ridiculous.

Really, it's just about doing things you enjoy, not because society is telling you to, but because you want to. It can be a fine line to walk...

The Book Florist said...

I love how clearly and warmly showed your point of view and I think that you're absolutely right in many ways. Good on you for putting that out there.

jillian m. said...

Agreed! There's something to be said about wanting to wear makeup as opposed to thinking you NEED to wear makeup. I wear it because I like it. And part of me considers it a bit of an art form, with the experimenting of colors, getting the right pressure for application and keeping your hand as steady as possible. Maybe I'm looking too much into it, but what I'm trying to say is "I heart makeup"!

kimbirdy said...

YES!!! i HATE disney movies, always have, for that exact reason {i'm a feminist too}. i just high-fived you. :)

and i'm glad you brought this issue up. there's a big difference between relying on make-up to cover your face because you think your face is hideous, and using make-up to have fun with giving yourself different looks. it's just like clothes, in my opinion. some people use clothes to hide themselves, some people have fun dressing up. those are two very different attitudes behind the same action. the action itself isn't the problem, it's the underlying thoughts.

Deidre said...

I've never had a big problem with people who wear make up - i mean I think it's a little silly to whine and complain about how early you have to get up if you want to spend an hour painting your face. But other that that, it's each to their own.

I hardly ever wear make up and I am always a bit allergic to it when I do, but I love having people who wear make up regularly, do my make up for me - its magical what y'all can do!

Ashley Slater said...

I love makeup... being a makeup artist and all I think it is an expression of self, and just making what is good, better. Same thing as brushing our hair or putting on a nice outfit!

xo,
ashley

Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Most days, I don't wear anything but eyeliner. Sometimes I wear nothing besides moisturizer and sunscreen. Other days, I go all out. I think the key with makeup, as with everything else in life, is that we do what we feel comfortable with, and not listen to society's messages (male or female).

Marie said...

I believe makeup is all about enchancing our natural beauty and there is nothing wrong with that.;D

Good post!:D

***** Marie ******
allthingsmarie.com

Missy said...

I think I'm with Katie on this one. People have been wearing make-up in some form or fashion since Egyptian days possibly before. The problem now really is the beauty industry. There is an unmistakable push to show what a woman should look like and if you read and watch that angle of the media, you very quickly start to see how you don't measure up. So I try to stay away from the magazines and TV shows.