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Why Wearing Makeup Doesn’t Require a Justification

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Like many, I enjoy wearing makeup. It’s part of my everyday life and an ingrained expectation in our society, particularly for women. Nonetheless, I often find myself being questioned by others as to why I wear makeup, under what circumstances, and for what reasons. We’ve all encountered remarks asserting that we “don’t need” makeup or look “better without it,” implying that without a special occasion, makeup is considered unnecessary. While these comments may seem passing at first, it’s crucial to delve into why such opinions have become normalized and challenge the assumption that wearing makeup requires an explanation.

Negative stereotypes often surround the realm of makeup, perpetuating the notion that it is employed as a deceptive tool to obscure one’s true appearance (illustrated by phrases like “take her swimming on the first date”). Additionally, there is an unfortunate assumption that individuals who wear makeup immediately lack self-confidence, and a pervasive belief that its use is a necessity for anyone seeking to feel beautiful. These stereotypes have become clichéd and overused, contributing to the misleading idea that wearing makeup demands a corresponding justification. Yet, a common retort to these inquiries revolves around the “self-expression” argument — the idea that makeup is an art form utilized for personal expression rather than merely to attract others. It’s crucial to clarify that I’m not suggesting makeup cannot be a form of art, nor am I invalidating the legitimacy of the “self-expression” claim. Rather, I challenge the notion that makeup must always serve a higher purpose, akin to comparing its use to established art forms like paintings. Makeup doesn’t necessitate lofty comparisons to justify its use; it can be celebrated for its intrinsic value without the pressure of aligning with more established art forms.

Furthermore, we don’t have to constantly find ways around the assumption that we’re wearing it to please those around us. In this way, the claim that we “don’t need makeup” becomes particularly problematic. People use makeup for diverse reasons, and whether it’s for personal satisfaction or to make a statement, its legitimacy should not be questioned. The demand for explanations only perpetuates the idea that makeup requires justification. Indeed, why can’t we wear makeup simply for the sake of wearing makeup?

As to why I wear makeup myself, I wear it because I want to. Just as I feel confident in a nice dress on a night out, I may opt for dramatic or glamorous makeup because it makes me feel good. Whether it’s to enhance my features or cover a blemish, my choice to wear makeup has no significant impact on others. So why should I constantly feel the need to explain myself? Embracing the beauty of makeup is a personal choice, and it’s time we celebrate it without the pressure.

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Charlotte Naudie

Queen's U '24

Hey! My name is Charlotte, and I'm currently in my fourth year of Political Studies at Queen's University in Canada! I hope to graduate in 2024 with my BAH and then head to Law school in the fall. Outside of university, I love to read, run, and binge reality TV during my weekends.