Tag Archives: make up

Makeup is not Freedom

As I go into the final stretch of my undergraduate education here at Radford University, I’m preparing to enter into the adult world of employment. I, like many of my peers, am searching online sites and talking to different professors about potential job opportunities in my field. For the first time I’m looking at jobs that offer an annual salary and health benefits, wondering which ones I qualify for, and what to do to ensure I get the job I want. What to wear to an interview, and what to put in my resume. That’s what I’m focusing on in the last four weeks of the semester, not, for the first time in years, on my finals.

As a woman, I have a whole slew of things I have to consider when it comes to presenting myself to future employers. How high my heels are, how short my skirt, how to style my hair and most importantly what is the exact right amount of makeup. These questions are debated over and over until I finally perfect my interview outfit.

I’ve been told by many people that makeup is a tool. It’s a form of self-expression and it’s freeing. Strong women wear makeup, and they use it to show off their inner beauty. These same people were also trying to sell me thick concealers and foundations so maybe they were a little biased.

Here’s the thing. I love makeup. I’m the kind of girl that owns bright purple lipstick that I will wear around the house just for fun. But makeup isn’t freedom. It’s not strength. It’s definitely not a sign of great feminism. Women are expected to wear makeup in the professional world. Women who do are paid more and are more likely to be given promotions. Women who don’t are told they aren’t dressed appropriately. There are real-life consequences for me if I don’t put this gunk on my face.

No matter how people want to spin makeup to me, it still doesn’t change that fact. Girls can love makeup. They can become amazing artists and even make careers out of the field. But this one fact remains. Makeup isn’t freedom. It’s another way that society has made women feel like they are not enough. That we need to cover up our very skin in order to look appropriate to work in a cubicle. That’s damaging. Don’t buy into the idea that makeup is for strong women because that only deludes you into believing that you are benefiting from a system that preys on your insecurities and weaknesses.

Makeup as an Artform

Women have used makeup to enhance or hide certain features of their faces since the 1920s, when modern makeup was first invented. Makeup has also been a way for girls and women to express themselves.

Some parents give their daughters little “makeup” kits that include lots of glitter, some “lipsticks” and “eye shadows.” It is a way that young girls can express themselves, whether they’re applying makeup to their own faces or the faces of their dolls/toys.

But as women get older, they start diving into more complex makeup tricks such as contouring and winged eyeliner. But, it goes farther than that. Some people become makeup artists and do makeup for others. They train at a school, or even a makeup store, such as MAC. Makeup becomes their tool for their form of living art. Makeup artists go to crazy new heights in fashion shows and makeup expos, and even for everyday clients.

makeup
“While there are professional makeup artists, women are now becoming more invested in their makeup, even those at home.” Photo from: www.youqueen.com

While there are professional makeup artists, women are now becoming more invested in their makeup, even those at home. There are countless men and women on YouTube trying to encourage everyday people to show off their inner “glam.” Women today are now spending more money on makeup to show that they can enhance their features just like the professionals.

In the 1960s, women went with a more natural look, which was a light coat of mascara and a natural shade of lipstick, just enough to enhance their features in a good way (1). But now women are going for more dramatic looks like cat eyes and hugely noticeable contouring on their cheeks.

Makeup is an art, but there are some people that do not believe makeup should be used. There are men that believe women are using makeup to hide what they really look like, and they even come up with certain memes that demonstrate this opinion.

Even though there are some that don’t believe that makeup is a good thing, many see it as a way of expression, or in a more professional light, an art form.

1 – http://articles.latimes.com/1990-03-04/news/vw-2440_1_art-form

Pretty and plain

Photo by Spencer Crawford

Something that bothers me about people in general is their ugly obsession with their appearance. I’m not saying that people should always be satisfied with their bodies, but it’s more comforting to be around someone who doesn’t feel the need to wear makeup and do their hair every day, or pump iron and wear the latest fashions constantly.

There are plenty of people on Radford University’s campus who seem very comfortable in their own skin and I applaud them. There are also more than enough people who look like they should be made out of plastic and drive a pretty pink convertible to their Barbie Dream House. That’s all well and fine if you’re Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” but who really has time to keep every hair in place?

Photo by Jenny Krashin.

I also don’t believe that people should go walking around in their pajamas as often as they do, but for now I’m focusing on the beautiful people. To me, looking perfect every day gives the impression that you have too much time on your hands and you should really hit the books a little more. If you spend more than 20 to 30 minutes getting ready in the morning, then maybe it’s time to change your outlook on life because the farther you get in college, the less people will take you seriously if you appear to be overly attentive to your appearance.

Every morning I wake up about 30 minutes before I plan to eat breakfast. I never hit the snooze on my alarm clock; I just get the hell up and check my e-mail. Shortly after that I jump in the shower and spend 10 to 15 minutes in there. When I get out of the shower I get dressed, brush my hair, grab my bag and go eat. How hard is that?

I know I must sound like a total failure of a woman. I don’t put any mascara on, and I don’t dry my hair and make it look nice. In my opinion, everyone looks fine when they leave their skin and hair alone; there’s nothing anyone should feel ashamed about other than the clothing they choose to wear.

Photo by Spencer Crawford.

Speaking of clothing, I like a nice outfit every now and then, but save it for those days that you really want to feel nice. People might compliment you all the time, but after a while they’ll stop because you never look any better than usual. Wearing a t-shirt and jeans with some sneakers never killed anyone. As a matter of fact, the comfort might become more enjoyable than the attention after a while.

The same goes for men when it comes to being too pretty. Dressing in nice clothes all the time makes a man look high maintenance, which may attract some women, unless the personality matches the appearance. Also, women don’t want a man who is likely to borrow her beauty products. That’s just creepy.

In the end, no amount of glamor will cover up a person’s flaws. My advice is to see what you already have going for you and work with it.