Makeup Isn’t Just for Girls

Growing up, I rejected all things pink and feminine from the ages of 3 to 5.  My mom dressed me in little jumpsuits and pants, but never dresses. I was encouraged to play sports and run around and get dirty. Much like most girls growing up, I was allowed to embrace my more masculine characteristics and behaviors, and was celebrated for it.

It’s “cool” to be a tomboy growing up. Girls want to be “one of the guys.”  For the most part, they are respected for it. According to a study done in an article titled “'No Way My Boys are Going to Be Like That!' Parents’ Responses to Children’s Gender Nonconformity", parents are likely to embrace and encourage gender nonconformity in their daughters — but discourage it in their sons.

So why aren’t little boys allowed to put on princess dresses the same way that little girls are allowed to play with toy trucks? The answer is that, as a society, masculinity is seen as strong, and femininity is devalued. So, when a little girl adopts some aspects of masculinity, she is adopting a stronger persona, but when a little boy wants the same freedoms, he is abandoning his status of power for a weaker status that is associated with women.

While this stems from misogyny and disdain towards women, this also greatly hinders men. Masculinity is power, but it is also limiting. There are rules for everything that dictate what men can eat and drink and wear, to what emotions they can express.

Trust me, I’m not oblivious to all of the injustices that women face in comparison to men. But it is also important to acknowledge that toxic masculinity is extremely limiting towards men, and that they should be able to experience emotions in a safe and secure way.