Men of the Makeup World

The makeup industry is larger and more successful than ever before. With growing companies such as Urban Decay, Kylie Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and many more, teenagers and young adults are more exposed to the art of makeup. It seems that many makeup artists, professional and self-taught, are moving away from neutral looks and on to fun, colorful ones.                                                                                                         Photo courtesy of Flickr

However, perhaps one of the biggest changes and influences in the makeup industry and media is the inclusion of men. There is an increase in the number of young adult men and teenagers embracing the “beat” face, many of whom are very well-known social media influencers, such as Patrick Starrr, Bretman Rock, Manny Mua, and Jeffree Star, to name a few. These men are just as included in the makeup world as women are, or at least they should be. 

When the majority think of men wearing makeup, they think of drag. Men taking up the appearance of women is no stranger to history, as seen in Shakespearean plays when women were not yet allowed in the theater. Julian Eltinge (1881-1941) was a female impersonator and actor for Broadway; he is known as one of the greatest female impersonators of the twentieth century.                                                                                          Photo courtesy of Flickr

But is what the men wearing makeup today “impersonating” women? Though makeup was originally targeted for women, the men wearing makeup today completely embrace their he/him pronouns while still wearing “feminine” clothes and makeup. They comfortably dress in typical masculine garb while having a full face of makeup. 

This is an incredible feat in a world that has built its foundations on hyper-masculinity. Even before babies are born, they receive gifts in the form of not-so-subtle sexist shirts for boys saying “I’m a lady’s man” and girls saying “trophy wife”. The implications of masculinity have harmed the potential for men to embrace their emotions and engage in activities that would otherwise be deemed “feminine”, such as wearing makeup. Male makeup influencers face constant public backlash, many comments on how they "look gay" or how they are gay, as though being gay were some kind of insult. Straight men should also be allowed to embrace the art of makeup; for makeup to have a required gender is irrational and suppressive. 

Men, cis and trans, should be in support of wearing makeup, as it has no gender, race, or sexuality. It is simply a way to enhance one’s beauty or even just a fun activity to engage in. The makeup community is just that—a community. With the growing acceptance and realization that gender is a spectrum, societal expectations of gender should not dictate who enjoys what creative outlets and who can express what emotions.