The world is full of people who just don’t understand. Just now, I read an article called “There’s Nothing Wrong With Wearing A Lot Of Make Up” on Refinery29 and this is a direct reply to that article.
In short the article states that women should stop “make up bullying” and categorizes the #NoMakeUpSelfie and #WokeUpLikeThis as such. Aside from confessing that she spends 40 minutes a morning putting on her make up, she argues that make up is a part of personal style and that it is (or can be) a powerful thing. She also mentions that this doesn’t make her less of a feminist. To me, it looks like she completely missed the point of feminism. Here it goes.
Let me break it down first. Feminism is about gender equality. Equality means, of course, equal rights, equal pay, and equal treatment, the latter at least for as far as biology permits. Traditionally, women have been considered inferior to men. Argue this but throughout history it’s been well documented. Even in the Bible it says “the husband is the head of the wife” (Ephesians 5:22-24), and nowadays in traditional weddings women are still expected to vow obedience to their husbands. As a result, women have perfected the art of decorating themselves in order to please men (to please their husbands, to be considered an eligible wife, and to be considered fuckable). From women’s desire to be visually pleasing the beauty industry was born. The beauty industry exists to make people, but especially women, look more fuckable. Make up is a huge part of the beauty industry.
With the rise of technology, and specifically photography and photoshop, the desire to be visually pleasing has spun out of control. Already beautiful women were made to look like they were not just beautiful but perfect. This is what is still happening today. Make up techniques were created to help women look like the photoshopped women on glossy covers. The reason you put on your foundation and concealer is because you want to look like you have perfect skin, and the reason you use contouring is because you want to have stronger cheekbones or a sharper nose. You are trying to look perfect. But you’re not. It’s not possible.
That’s why women who perpetuate the standards set for us in a patriarchic society – such as Miley Cyrus during the 2013 VMAs and Kim Kardashian with too much foundation on her face – aren’t role models. At least not for those who want to wake up and not feel like they should be prettier, skinnier, fairer, taller, shorter, and so on. You may not have given it much consideration, but people and especially teenagers are very sensitive to information presented by the media. Teenagers look for role models, and if all girls are presented with are perfect looking women who put a lot of value in looking perfect (whether it be artificial or not), they’re bound to end up thinking something is wrong with them. Role models who (unintentionally or inadvertently) make their fans feel bad about themselves aren’t really role models at all.
The reason #NoMakeUpSelfie and #WokeUpLikeThis exist is because women have recognized that they’ve been trying to live up to impossible standards, and worse: that it’s been expected of them. They are saying that they do not look like billboard models and that they are beautiful – and feminine – the way they are. They make a movement that voices its demands for gender equality. Men, after all, aren’t expected to take care of their looks as much as women, and you can judge that just by comparing the amount of body hair on a male and a female body.
The thing with equality, whether it be gender or race or otherwise, is not just endorsing it from a moral standpoint and waiting for it to happen. It will never happen that way. You have to actively break the pattern and not engage in perpetuation of inequality, like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King did when it was about racial equality in the United States. So, these hashtags exist to break the pattern. They exist to let women know that human bodies are diverse and imperfect, and, within those spectrums, beautiful. And that is an excellent message to pass on to young human beings. In fact, it’s an excellent message for all human beings.
It’s your every right to enjoy putting on your make up, and you’re right to some extent: it does not make you dull, vapid, materialistic, or silly. It does, however, by definition and recorded history, make you less of a feminist. Especially if you consider make up empowering, because you are a bright, young woman, and make up is not about that. Make up is about how you look, not about the qualities you possess to truly empower yourself. So, if make up is that important to you, while empowerment is as well, you may want to reconsider your values.
The women who oppose (thick layers of) make up are not bullying you or anyone else. They are saying that we look beautiful enough naturally, and that there are more important things to us than the fullness of our lips or the fairness of our skin. Simply put, they are saying that we are no longer going to go around trying to look the most eligible for wedding or bedding. And if you consider that bullying, you’re on the other side of feminism.