This week, my topic literally stared me right me in the face. Makeup. I recently had several conversations with girl friends (and guy friends too) to discuss the issue with cosmetics, or the lack thereof.
From a personal standpoint, I enjoy wearing make-up & perfume because it makes me feel happy. I love to blend eye-shadow colors, love the way a creamy lipstick feels on my lips, love the smell of a pretty eau de toilette on my skin. While it may sound like I’m advertising for cosmetic companies, I simply like to do makeup. However, this also comes with a flip side. I love equally those summer days after a long day at the beach, stepping out of a cool shower and putting nothing but moisturizer on. To me, it’s all about balance, for a woman or man to do wear what makes she or he content. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the annoyance of makeup, the frustration with never being pretty enough without wearing too little. I asked a few opinions (both male and female) for a more rounded perspective on the topic, and found the debate growing larger after each “interview.”
Women’s opinions on beauty products were relatively split. Two friends of mine felt that makeup should be used according to the users’ own liking. “You have to do what’s good for you,” my roommate told me. “It’s about doing whatever you want to make you feel pretty-not for anybody else… for you. There’s some days when I say, I want to put some makeup on, there’s days, like on the weekends when I feel perfectly fine without it.” Alternatively, another friend expressed “makeup is shallow. I do not feel like it makes or breaks my look. Ever.” Men on the other hand tended to share unified beliefs with their sex about cosmetics. One man stated “I feel like too much makeup is when you take it off and look completely different. I think too many girls rely on it, honestly it’s like a lie… I think girls’ natural beauty is underrated. Makeup that looks good…eye liner, no lipstick, maybe a foundation but going into all that crazy eye makeup is not needed.” Another male referred to his preference of makeup on women as “just a touch.” Overall, men claimed to be fans of the “less is more” philosophy, however the problem arises when we look deeper into the media’s representation of women in “attractive” forms, and readers observe the “plain Jane” is not the woman men typically drool over. Just look at magazine ads, one only has to flip through the pages of Marie Claire and GQ to see the dolled up versions of models at their finest. Kate Moss’s recent campaign for Dior Addict lip color with the slogan “Be Iconic” says it all. She’s a woman considered by people around the globe to be of immeasurable beauty, but without having her makeup done by cosmetology professionals, she’s suddenly far from the stunning lady on the page. To prove this issue, I asked my father, a man disconnected with all things celebrity. Over spring break I showed him a picture in a magazine of Kate Moss without makeup on, walking in the streets of London. I asked him if he thought she was attractive. His answer was no, not really. Then a few moments later I found an ad for Rimmel London, (another cosmetic line) featuring Kate and asked him if he thought the model was pretty. His answer was yes, very pretty.
What does this say for the necessity of makeup for women? I found it rather sad that women feel backed into a corner to wear products, they feel they don’t actually need. I find it sad that makeup becomes a priority in being noticed, or viewed as attractive, instead of an enhancement of her natural beauty, as it was once designed for. I find it regrettable that men don’t understand that they obtain double standards for women by saying they want less, when the evidence in many cases, reveals they choose women with more. It rips all the fun, the lighthearted attitude of being an artist for one’s own face out, while building just another pressure of womanhood. So where do we go from here? Should women cut themselves off from makeup as a way to boycott unfair gender norms? I don’t believe so. I think this is an issue that women can take back, and make about them. If women feel a sense of empowerment or creativity by customizing the color they apply on their face, why stop? If women choose not to wear any cosmetic product because they are already happy with their look each and every morning, then why give in? I for one have had enough of the pressure, so do what makes YOU feel good, ladies! Whatever you decide, you’re beautiful.