Should women have to wear make up, or should they be allowed to do whatever they want to their bodies?
It’s 2015 and I shouldn’t even have to pose that question but based on what I’ve seen online recently, it seems like it’s an important question to ask.
I’ve been reading up on the “You look disgusting” campaign, wherein make up bloggers take their make up off on camera in solidarity for Em Ford who garnered a ridiculous amount of negative attention for her appearance without make up (she actually still looks beautiful but that’s beside the point). My main problem with that campaign is that everyone’s showing solidarity for what women look like without make up, which doesn’t challenge the fundamental problem that some people think it’s perfectly okay to say cruel things to strangers if they’re hiding behind a keyboard.
Then this morning I saw a story that Kate Winslet has posted a photo of herself without make up online to show that she does have wrinkles etc., the same as everyone else. Jamie Lee Curtis did this a few years ago, but I’m sorry, Kate without make up is still beautiful AND most people would look good in a photographic studio with decent lighting, even without make up. There have been a lot of people talking about how women shouldn’t need to wear make up, that women shouldn’t rely on external aids to improve their confidence for men. Firstly, that begs the assumption that women wear make up purely for the benefit of men, and secondly, it just feeds into how I’ve been feeling lately that people think they have some right to comment on your appearance, as if it in any way impacts on their existence.
I keep being put down because I wear make up. A common comment is “Oh I wish I had time to put make up on in the morning”, as if it’s something frivolous and I’m some kind of wastrel for getting up half an hour earlier to colour myself in. Even more common is “I much prefer the natural look”, implying I’m somehow fake. The last one is especially frequent on online dating sites when men have no problems saying they won’t even talk to women who wear too much make up, because they’re superficial. So…rejecting a woman without talking to her based on her looks isn’t superficial? Hm.
If someone gets tattoos, or piercings, or dresses in a particular way, most people would accept that they were simply expressing themselves through what they put on their body, and that’s fine. But the second you put on make up, you’re hiding, being fake, or whatever other insult people want to throw at you. Make up is temporary and it’s a legitimate form of self expression. I even use it to accessorise my outfit – if I’m wearing blue clothes then I’ll wear blue eye make up. Why is that seen as a crime? Given I keep getting told that men won’t find me attractive if I wear brightly coloured make up and I do it anyway then it goes to show I’m wearing make up for me and not for anyone else. Besides, if I made a point of taking my make up off, I’d really just be denying myself to keep the people happy who call me fake, if that makes sense? So leaving mine on is weirdly a greater act of defiance!
If I’m honest, I’m really getting sick of it. What I choose to put on my face should be my own business. If you prefer the natural look, great. Keep doing it and be proud to be natural. If you think make up is fake, then fine. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it but you don’t get to dictate to me whether or not I should think it is fake as well. I need to breathe and I need to consume protein and I don’t need to wear make up but I certainly choose to, and surely that’s what this should all be about? Choice?
I genuinely enjoy putting on make up. It’s a fun way to ease myself into the day (until I realise my eyeliner isn’t even). What do you propose I do? Get up later and then rush around with my brain in a fog that would otherwise be dispelled by the half hour it takes me to colour in my face? I’m also incredibly pale and if I don’t wear make up I look really ill, so I’m really stuck between a rock and a hard place; wear make up and have people asking why I wear it, or don’t wear it and have people asking if I’m well enough to be out and about.
What it boils down to is it’s my face and I’ll do with it as I please.