I get it, we should all learn to love ourselves just as we are, but what's wrong if I want to produce myself with makeup?
Last year Alicia Keys announced that she was going makeup free, and since then, she's been making public appearances with her bare face, even in the show The Voice and on red carpets. While many have applauded Keys for her boldness and her empowering statement, others weren’t that surprised nor supportive. Why? I mean, she wants to show herself as she is and embrace her own beauty, so what's wrong with that? Well, to start with, some people believed this was a very romantic statement for someone who, in a way, fits beauty standards, not to mention the amount of money she has spent in “natural” products and procedures to achieve her flawless face. Now, besides that, some claim that wearing makeup and fixing your hair is a way for women to achieve more power in the workplace, and that it’s easy to say for her, who earns millions, so she can give a whole anti-makeup speech, since she’s not in the position of several other women.
All this is something worth discussing, since there’s always been a whole debate around the usage of makeup, especially now that it's become more popular. The fact that in some places a woman's looks and outfit determine her professional growth only shows a tiny part of the gender inequality in the world. But what's the real deal about makeup that provokes so many mixed reactions?
The Twitter account @GoogleFacts posted a poll asking men whether they preferred women wearing makeup or not. To start with, can you see what’s so problematic about the tweet? Why would men’s opinion on this particular topic should matter? Anyway, the result was that men allegedly think that women wearing less makeup are more attractive. This is a narrative that has been repeated and repeated for such a long time, so somehow we’ve come to believe that the natural look is the ultimate goal.
When I was a teenager, my mom insisted on me waiting longer to start wearing makeup. She always told me to take a look at my cousin and how whenever she decided to go out with a bare face she’d look sick because we were so used to seeing her wearing too much makeup. This is, perhaps, one of the most common reasons why people urge women not to wear makeup. But together with that, there's the belief that women who wear makeup do so to hide imperfections --which I don’t find so problematic-- or worst, to lure men (no kidding, every time I see a makeup-related post on the internet, there’s at least one comment assuring this stupid statement).
This historical and social construct is somehow ingrained in our mind, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. You just have to take a look at these hideous trends appearing on social media to realize how horrible the perceptions towards women are. For instance, I'm sure you must have heard of one that suggests taking girls on first dates to swim to see what she really looks like, as if makeup totally changed them.
So, it’s somehow believed that wearing makeup has become a sign of subjugation. Yet when we follow the train of thought of these comments and this perception toward women, isn't the lack of makeup more subjugating? At the end of the day, the natural look is what society prefers isn’t it? Whatever we do with our faces shouldn be of no one’s concern but ours. If I want to use foundation or concealer to cover my dark circles and imperfections, it’s my own business, just as if one day I don’t feel like doing anything than going out with a washed face.
Most importantly, we really have to stop spreading the idea that whether you wear makeup or not will determine how others perceive you. Yes, Alicia, it’s great that you’re adopting that look, but don’t say that your way is the only way to empower women, because it’s definitely not.
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Images by @henryjimenz