We live in a super weird society. And what I’m finding really weird at the moment is our relationship with makeup.
From one angle of society we’re expected to wear make-up. Most women do. I mean, just imagine the horror if someone discovered we all had spots. Oh, what a shock, what a blow that would be to the world. So, to avoid this inevitable disillusionment, we’re expected to cover all the imperfections on our face up, and cover them well.
But here’s the catch, and this is where the other angle of society appears. Because forbid it if it looks like you’re wearing make-up. So many times I’ve heard the phrase: “Well, I wear a bit of concealer and mascara, but it’s all very natural looking so that makes it okay.” There’s a really weird sort of hierarchy that I’ve seen coming up where if you don’t wear make-up or if you don’t wear much make-up then you’re somehow superior to those who do. Then you’re not like “other girls” and somehow that makes you special. I mean, this goes both ways – girls who wear a lot of make-up quite often have a bit of a superior attitude to those who don’t.
So here’s my problem. We’re told to wear make-up, but not to wear so much that you can tell we’re wearing it. And to do that, you need to get some pretty expensive stuff and also become a make-up artist overnight. We’re told not to plaster foundation on our faces, but also to make sure we’re wearing some.
Not only that, don’t forget that make-up is only for girls. I’ve known some boys wearing some unnecessarily named “guy-liner”, because apparently if you were eyeliner and you happen to be a boy, you have to buy special manly eyeliner.
My relationship to make-up is incredibly complicated. I started wearing it when I was in my first few years of high school, was embarrassed I had spots and wanted to cover it up. All I had was eye shadow, so I found a skin coloured one and put it over my spots…yeah, not my finest moment.
If you’d asked me a year ago what I thought about make-up, my answer then would have been very different to what it is now. I would have said I hated it, that I hated that I had to wear it, that I hated how it felt. This answer has changed over the course of the last year, and that’s mainly due to the realisation that I don’t have to wear make-up.
I don’t know what it was that made me think I had to wear it. Maybe I was embarrassed because I had spots and thought that because everyone else covered them up, I had to as well. Maybe it was because of all these magazine covers that even though I didn’t read, I still saw.
I wear make-up most days. But now, I wear it because I like it. I like the way it makes me look, I like putting it on, I enjoy learning new techniques and tips. Make-up makes me feel more confident. You wouldn’t believe what slightly coloured in eyebrows do for my mood.
I also have days without make-up, and still feel perfectly fine. There are days when I just can’t be bothered, or I don’t have time, or I don’t want to fill in my face because I’m fine with how it looks already. And that’s great too! Make-up gives us the opportunity to use it. We also have the opportunity to not use it. Neither side should be put down. Because at the end of the day we’re all just trying to get through life feeling as confident as we can.
I found a phrase on an old blog post from about three years ago where I said “But tomorrow as you put on your make-up, try to remember this – when you take the foundation off, are you still the person you want to be?” This is so interesting for me, because for one thing it shows how much my attitude has changed. Yes, I do think to an extent that hiding behind make-up isn’t a good thing, but to be honest – is it any of our business if someone is wearing too much makeup, or if their foundation isn’t quite the right shade? Can we please all just stop being so judgemental and accept each other no matter what we look like? If that girl from uni wants to wear orange foundation, let her! If that guy on the train wants to wear eyeliner, let him! And if they don’t want to wear makeup at all, let them! Life’s way too short to be getting judgemental about these things. Judging everyone all the time is just exhausting.
Sorry for the slightly garbled and ranty blog, but this has been really annoying me for a while.
And don’t even get me started on the “But you’re pretty without makeup,” line. I’m aware. I like make-up. Please stop.