As a girl who loves makeup, I have heard almost every single pick-up line, insult, faux-compliment, and joke regarding my favourite pastime. It ranges from men feeling compelled to slide into my DMs to reassure me of my natural beauty, to women making presumptions about my self-confidence. Almost every single comment boils down to “you look better without makeup.”
Critics often bash makeup and makeup-wearers as deceivers with a full batch of unresolved insecurities. Others are swayed to believe that women who wear makeup are doing so to appear more attractive to men. For example, back in March, twitter account @GoogleFacts posted a tweet stating that “men like women who wear less makeup.” What @GoogleFacts, and others like them, fail to realize is that 99.9% of the time my flawlessly executed makeup is done to impress none other than myself.
The debate about the wonders of makeup is often a heated one – but also one that consistently fails to take into account personal choice.
The stigma makeup carries insinuates that its wearer, rather than personally choosing to wear makeup, is doing so because their confidence has been derailed by societal standards and imagery. It states that its we only carry out the meticulous job of applying winged eyeliner because we were brainwashed into thinking our self-worth is tied up in that little black line. The problem with that method of thinking is that it shames women for their choices, and simultaneously undermines our intelligence. We are more than just media-brainwashed airheads with a mascara wand.
Celebrities like Alicia Keys have recently chosen to forsake foundation in favour of their natural skin as a response to spending years trying to match society’s constantly changing female mold.
The key word here is chosen.
Just as Alicia Keys has the right to choose to go bare faced, I – and many others – have the choice to slap on some false eyelashes and contour my cheekbones. It is our personal decision, and one that we can intelligently make for ourselves.
Makeup is so versatile that by simply touting it to be the be-all, end-all of female insecurity is to do it a grave injustice.
Makeup is not a mask with which I hide my true self behind. In actuality, makeup is simply another medium I use to express myself and my creativity, just like many others do. Makeup can give a confidence boost by directing attention away from or enhancing certain characteristics. It can be an art form that people dedicate their time and money into perfecting; or it can simply be an enjoyable hobby.
I wear makeup because I love being able to create a small piece of artwork on my face every day. While I get a certain boost in confidence from slimming down my round features and concealing my pronounced under eye circles, makeup’s transformative powers enables me to explore different expressive tones, colour palettes, and visual personalities.
There are many reasons why people choose to wear (or not wear) makeup, but I can assure you that it is very much a choice that no one gets to make for us – not the internet, and certainly not men.
If I choose to wake up an hour earlier for class to apply a full face of makeup, it has nothing to with my confidence or my desire to be attractive. Trust me when I say that I’m not wearing this $25 mascara to look and feel cute for anyone other than myself.