Women know the makeup game is rigged. The only those of us who can win at it are those who are so preternaturally beautiful they look like they’re wearing it even when they’re not. So...a handful of supermodels. K. We’re told that we’re either wearing too much or too little, which makes us either too high maintenance or not feminine enough, too overdone for work or too underdone to get a job. Just check out the comments on any article on the topic (at the risk of your sanity, of course).
Lately, though, a handful of viral stories about makeup’s transformative capabilities, like this one and this one, are once again stirring up that age-old complaint from dudes: women wearing makeup are lying about their appearance. Oh, and specifically, they’re lying to dudes. That hurts their fee-fees, because they deserve someone a lot more attractive than you with your natural face! Heaven forfend your eyelids are actually not dark and smoky and glittery like they thought. Women are apparently even chancing the risk of violence by “deceiving” dudes about their appearance.
So let’s unpack this.
This has been said many, many times before, but bears saying again in this context: I am not wearing makeup for you, dudes. Nor am I wearing it for other women. I’m wearing it because I like it. It’s fun as hell for me to put on - it’s almost meditative, like coloring is when you’re a kid. I like seeing how a specific color or application of eyeshadow will play off the shape and color of my eyes. Or how a new shade of lipstick can set off my eye color, or even make my hair look blonder.
But yes, I also like the way I look with makeup on! My skin looks smoother and creamier, my eyebrows are more defined and better frame my face. I have fair hair and light blue eyes, so a little eyeliner and mascara makes a huge difference in making my eyes stand out. It’s simply a process of emphasizing the parts of my face that I love. No prosthetics are being applied. This is not a crime.
I came across this in a Facebook comment thread on this topic the other day: “I’m sorry if you were disappointed that my eyelids aren’t actually gold and glittery.” Spot. On. No, that inky black line around my lashes is not actually part of my face. My lips are not naturally shiny and cherry colored. I can only assume that because the bare female face is such a rare thing to see these days, particularly in the media, that men assume we just start sprouting thick black eyelashes and rosy pink cheeks and colored eyelids around the time we grow breasts. I mean, we’re all guilty of this to some extent - I know I’m always curious to see what a celebrity looks like without makeup, and I’m equally astonished by some of the YouTube makeup transformations I’ve seen, but the difference is I’m not surprised that the women don’t look like that to begin with. Of course they don’t! No one does. Expecting anyone to look as glamorous and perfect without makeup as the average woman does with it is just another impossible standard.
This is the crux of it. Men, the kind who are making these complaints about makeup, anyway, seem to be upset because they feel they’re the victims of a bait-and-switch. They thought they were getting a lady with glittery gold eyelids and inch-long eyelashes, and they’re disappointed because she actually does not possess either of those attributes, and without them looks like a normal person. They’ve been cheated! ROBBED! I mean, what next? Is she going to have on a push-up bra? The horror! (He’s cool with implants though.)
So we’ve already covered one “unnatural” thing women do to enhance or change their appearance that men are, largely, okay with: Plastic surgery.
Here are some other things women do that enhance or change their appearance:
- Use products on their hair to make it healthier, shinier and fuller
- Use styling tools like hair dryers, hair straighteners and curling irons
- Use lotions and moisturizers to make their skin soft and smooth
- SHAVE. SHAVE EVERYTHING.
Just to name a few. So where is the outrage when a dude sees a previously manicured hand without nail polish? Where is the anger when a dude realizes his lady isn’t naturally hairless from the eyebrows down?
And thing is, men also do that stuff! Or they do if they care about their appearance. They shave, or grow a beard, or style their hair in ways that make them look their best. They seek out clothing that reflects their personal style and flatters their body type. This isn’t a crime, anymore than women wearing makeup is.
I realize #notALLmen feel this way, but I’ve heard it enough times (from some women, too) and I’m over it. Just don’t be the kind of person who has a lot of feelings about other people’s makeup, period.