Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some Ramblings about Makeup

makeup lineup, originally uploaded by carinasuyin.
I watched a video on youtube earlier called "How to lose a guy in 10 Makeup Mistakes" that's been bothering me for some reason. And I realize some of you are probably thinking I'm being overly sensitive and in dire need of something to take up my time, but it isn't really the video that I have specific problems with. I realize this video was made to be taken lightheartedly and I think it's cute in a sort of unoriginal heteronormative way. My problem is with the overall messages women hear about makeup that this video highlights in some ways.
  1. First and foremost, I cannot stand the idea that women wear makeup solely for the pleasure of men or think only in terms of what men will find attractive. Not only does this poignantly ignore the large portion of people who don't want to attract men (people in relationships, straight men, and gay women are a few examples), but it also disregards the makeup wearer's wants and intentions.  Maybe I want to look like a clown. Maybe "pasty" is my normal skin tone. What's wrong with that?
  2. A lot of the "tips" women are given emphasize the importance of looking "natural" while wearing makeup. This pisses me off to no end. Not only does it put "naturally" beautiful people in some upper echelon of acceptance, but it also implies that people who wear makeup are artificial in some way. This is just bullshit. Makeup can be a statement to the world or just a way to cover up an uneven skin tone and to say only some makeup, the "natural" looking kind, is acceptable is just another form of body policing. Makeup is simultaneously seen as a requirement for femininity and yet the women who wear makeup are also often considered less feminine because of the perceived artificiality of makeup.
  3. Makeup is often associated with insecurity and I don't think most people who wear makeup feel this way. While I do think there's a conversation to be had about the way women are told they should wear makeup in order to fix their "flaws" or avoid looking any day over 25 (cause there's nothing worse then an old woman), assuming all people wear makeup for the same reason is silly and presumptuous. I wear makeup because I enjoy painting on my face. It has nothing to do with me being uncomfortable with my crooked teeth. 
  4. I've found these conversation usually revolve around men telling women what is or isn't acceptable in terms of makeup. Not only it that ridiculous, but most men have no clue what makeup a person is or isn't wearing. I've had many guys point out "natural" looking women who were actually wearing more makeup than I was. It was just done in a more subtle way then the bright ass pink or green eyeshadow I tend to wear. No one person's personal preference should dictate how other people behave.
In the end I feel like makeup is one of the ways I can truly control my body and I think some people are intimidated by that. There's tons more to be said on the subject, like how it's considered okay to comment publicly on women's bodies, but I'll just leave it there for now I guess.


  1. For some reason I feel like I shouldn't have posted this. For that reason I won't allow myself to delete it.

  2. Well thank god somebody said it at last! I have always thought that women wore makeup for the same reason that men shave their facial hair. Some do it, some don't. Some women wear makeup to cover "flaws", and beards can serve the same purpose. Some just like the way it looks. Others don't. It's really not that big a deal (maybe that's why you feel like you shouldn't have written a long post on it). But considering all the media flying around out there, telling everyone that it is a big deal, I am glad someone out there cares enough to say that they don't care (if that makes sense).

  3. haha it makes perfect sense. Thanks.

  4. Yeah, I don't know a darned thing about makeup.

    But, since the militant working boy mentioned it, I can see my whiskers much the same way you as you do makeup... sort of ?

    I've had this same beard for 18 years. I have never shaved it, but I do varying levels of trim. Sometimes it's long, sometimes short. And, I don't think I need much input from other guys as to how to wear it. It's mine, I'll wear it as I like - gray and all!

    I just may be a makeup expert now ;-)

  5. I really like the facial hair/makeup comparison. It fits perfectly and I never even made the connection before. Like mwb said, beards can cover "flaws" or just be personally pleasing. They can also challenge stereotypes and send messages just like makeup too. Sometimes I feel like dramatic makeup is a way I put up a wall between myself and everyone else and I can see facial hair doing the same thing. Interesting.

    Mac, I would love to see you standing in the cosmetics counter trying to figure out why one eyeshadow cost $15 bucks. lol


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