Some mornings I wonder why I even put on makeup, especially when I spend three minutes of my life, which I could have spent sleeping, making sure my eyeliner doesn’t make me look like a raccoon, or when I carefully and slowly re-apply lipstick in the bathroom, making sure I don’t end up with a clown’s smile. However, I know that when I put on makeup it is not for anyone but me.
Last November, I remember I was sitting at lunch in my high school, and I heard something that bothered me. I was sitting next to a guy who said something along the lines of, “I hate when women wear makeup. They are just lying about what they look like.” He then turned to me, and said that women should go natural without makeup, like I do. I, of course, gave him a look that was a mixture of amusement and astonishment, and then proceeded to explain that I was wearing eyeliner, foundation, mascara and blush. His comment really stuck with me because not only did he assume all girls wear makeup to impress other people, but also that he had no idea what a natural face looked like. It was a situation headed for disaster.
What that boy once said is actually a common belief among many guys: that wearing makeup is tricking men or women into finding us attractive. For me, this is completely false. I do not wear makeup to impress anyone else, I wear it to impress myself. I can still feel confident in my appearance without any makeup, but there is an indescribable feeling of confidence that comes with having your eyebrows “on fleek” and having the perfect shade of eyeshadow. This is the kind of confidence that makes me feel more beautiful than any supermodel. When asked how makeup makes her feel, Skyler Mattioli ’19 said she loves wearing red bright lipstick because “on those days where you feel like the entire world is on your shoulders, you can get a glimpse of your reflection in the mirror and seeing those red lips makes me feel unstoppable.” Skyler, like many women, wears makeup to feel this self-assurance in her own appearance.
Makeup should be treated as more of an art form than an illusion to lure people in with false beauty. It can be used to transform a person’s appearances without permanent or damaging results. It takes a skillful hand to draw on the perfect lip liner and a creative mind to make the perfect smoky eye, and those people who are talented enough with makeup to turn it into a career can do amazing things. From making people look like creatures of fantasy to creating works of art with their bodies, the possibilities of makeup are nearly endless. Makeup is, in fact, an underrated art form that takes time, skill and determination to master. However, most women just like to have fun with makeup.
Although makeup is a form of art that can hide some features and accentuate others to give people newfound confidence, it also has a darker side. It can be enjoyable and a confidence boost to wear makeup until it becomes what people believe women are supposed to look like naturally. Too often society dictates that women must look a certain way to be considered attractive. They must have soft red lips, flawless skin and perfect eyebrows. This is when makeup becomes a detriment to women.
We idolize celebrities who have a crew of 15 people working on their hair and makeup before they go to the grocery store. These celebrities make it look like being flawless is natural and expected, when really it is for marketing their image. No one naturally looks like those celebrities, and no one should be expected to look like them everyday. However, in the eyes of society, that is exactly what women must do in order to be considered sexy. Makeup should be something you put on happily as a confidence booster, not as a means to reach the unattainable bar set by celebrities.
Makeup is not a ruse to reel in unsuspecting men, nor should it be seen as something that every woman must wear to be attractive. It should be something you wear by choice, not because of a feeling of obligation to reach a standard of beauty. A normal person should not be expected to live up to the standards of celebrities. Makeup should be worn to make you feel even more confident in yourself, or to show off your artistic skills, and most of all, it should be worn because you like wearing it. Makeup isn’t a mask, it is self-expression.