What’s up fellow feminists! Last week we heard some great insights about the intersection of environmental and gender justice from the ever poignant, southernantibelle. Cosmetics laced with dangerous chemicals, “self-regulating” cosmetic companies, CHEMICAL CONCIOUSNESS. Lots of good stuff. If you haven’t already checked it out I highly encourage you to click on that fresh hyperlink! 10 out of 10.
Anyways, the post got me thinking about my morning makeup “ritual”. I actually remember the first day I started wearing big girl makeup (AKA makeup that wasn’t bought from the clearance aisle of Claire’s). It was picture day at school and, as typically pubescent faces do, I had broken out in patches of acne. Ugh. My mom noticed my disappointment/rapidly declining self-esteem and whisked me away to her master bathroom. Ten minutes later I looked into the mirror and, for the first time in a while, I was satisfied with what I saw: smooth, even-toned skin, rosy cheeks, long eyelashes, eyebrows on FLEEK. I was shocked beyond belief that a bit of cream, powder, and mascara could make me look like such a friggin’ boss. To this day, that is still my favorite yearbook photo.
I love makeup for these reasons: it makes me feel confident; I enjoy putting it on; I love the ultimate product—and yet a part of me feels like I’m in the wrong. There’s no denying that our societal obsession with cosmetics is deeply rooted in the objectifying practices of the patriarchy. Women are literally sold makeup with an implied tagline: “You have imperfections, our products can fix them!” Not to mention the laundry list of potentially dangerous chemicals that resides within most cosmetic products. It’s crazy. So how do I justify my #flawless makeup ritual?
I suppose the answer to this question lies within personal choice. I understand the objectifying nature of cosmetics, and I am aware of the hazardous chemicals that most products are made with. I still choose to wear foundation and mascara just about every day. However, I also feel confident leaving the house bare-faced and beautiful. As long as I am being conscious of the products that I use and wear makeup for myself instead of others, I don’t see any right or wrong. And I believe the same goes for everyone else. While it is marketed this way, cosmetics are not gender exclusive. I should know; I used to put makeup on my brother when he was sleeping. The purpose of wearing makeup is to accentuate the parts of our body that we already love, boosting our self-esteem in the process. Whether you identify as a male, female or anything in between, makeup is for you.
Personal choice—that’s pretty much it. Wearing makeup? Own it. Not wearing makeup? Own. It.
The other day I was invited to visit my friend down at U.V.A. So I decided to throw on some serious makeup. Not for the sake of my friend, but for myself. I felt confident when I looked in the mirror, had a hoot and a half putting it on, and was able to walk into the door ready to have a blast enjoying the night with my pals.
There is nothing wrong with loving makeup. Whatever makes YOU feel confident about yourself is what you should be doing—FOR. YOU. Because frankly, it is the best feeling loving how you look with, or without, makeup.