I recently saw a great makeup tutorial on MindBodyGreen titled 10 Steps to Master An All-Natural Makeup Look. Seems friendly and innocent enough, doesn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t love natural beauty, right? In fact, the makeup-free look is very on-trend both in fashion, on TV shows and in movies, and in the French natural beauty and lifestyle books like Lessons Learned from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott, and The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas that are so popular now.
I normally love seeing posts like this about makeup and natural beauty in my Facebook feed, but what I saw on MindBodyGreen’s thread underneath this post actually made me sad. See for yourself:
10 Steps To Master An All-Natural Makeup Look (Infographic)
I could not believe the amount of makeup shaming this single article triggered.
So many thoughts entered my mind when I read through the comments, which overwhelmingly insinuated that if someone wants a makeup-free look or or all-natural look, then DUH, don’t wear makeup. Other comments stated that DUH, if you’re caring for your skin with all natural skincare products and a healthy diet and lifestyle then you don’t need to wear makeup. The ones that got me the most, though, were the ones implying that the article was playing into negative societal standards of beauty and teaching a negative image message to young girls. WHAT?! There were other negative comments, and thankfully some positive and constructive ones. This post isn’t to deny people the right to share their thoughts, but seriously…
Come on, people!
Enough already. When did wearing makeup become a sin? When did NOT wearing makeup become a high moral choice? Why is one better than the other at all? Women (and even some men!) have been experimenting with enhancing their own beauty since ancient times. In some societies makeup was a sign of high social standing or even royalty. In others, makeup was only worn by prostitutes or stage actors. In the 21st century, there are still varying beliefs surrounding the wearing of makeup around the world–many are due to religious beliefs and cultural mores. But in the United States, in 2015, we have the freedom to wear makeup–or to not wear makeup. It’s up to us.
Implying that if a woman chooses to wear makeup, then she must have any of the following issues…
- Low self-image
- Too much time on her hands
- An unhealthy lifestyle
…drives me absolutely nuts. Why do women have to justify wanting to enhance their appearance at all? Whether it’s makeup shaming, body shaming, slut shaming…when will we get to the point in our society where there’s no SHAME in doing something for ourselves having to do with our appearances? I mean, what is this, the 17th century? Do we need to craft a shirt (long sleeved and turtlenecked of course) with a scarlet M on it for women who wear makeup to wear? Or put them on trial for vanity or for sending a negative message to young girls? Come ON.
On my own Facebook and Instagram pages, I often post selfies wearing varying levels of makeup. I love posting makeup-free selfies, and I love posting pictures of myself fully done up–especially shots of eye makeup that I’ve taken extra time to artfully apply. I’ve never had negative comments on any of these images, but on the makeup-free images I have had several people comment that I look so pretty without makeup that I really shouldn’t or don’t need to wear it.
I’m sure these comments were meant as compliments, but the truth is that I don’t wear makeup because I feel I need to. I sometimes wear it because it gives me pleasure to wear it. That wasn’t always the case–when I had acne I absolutely felt like I needed to wear it to face the world–and there was nothing pleasurable about that. And I know how good it felt to finally break free of that and no longer feel like I “need” to wear it. But I remember thinking how crazy it was that back then, I couldn’t win. I was criticized if I wore too much makeup (it was too “masklike”) or not enough (because I “needed” coverage).
Why do women do this to each other?
It was never men who criticized me–it was always women. Why do you think that is? Sure men might have different images of each other–the jock, the metrosexual, the hipster, etc…but what I’ve observed is that one doesn’t necessarily hold a higher value over the other. You don’t see shaming among men as you do with women.
Picture this: Tie shaming. How dare that man have the audacity to wear that skinny tie? Beard shaming. Does that man with the long beard believe he’s above shaving? Or perhaps he has a low self image and is therefore hiding behind his beard? Does this happen? I think not.
Whether women want to wear makeup or not is a personal decision. Sometimes that decision is based on convenience, sometimes it’s based on being in a job that requires a certain image, sometimes it’s based on confidence because once acneic skin is now clear–or not feeling confident because of scars, hyperpigmentation, or another skin condition that hasn’t healed yet.
But honestly, none of that really matters to me, because I don’t believe that women need to justify whether they want to wear makeup or not. If they choose to wear makeup, I don’t believe anyone has the right to tell them how much is enough or how much is too much. If they choose to not wear makeup I don’t think anyone has the right to suggest that they’d be prettier if they did wear it.
Here’s the comment I made in the aforementioned Facebook thread:
The bottom line: makeup shaming isn’t OK.
I’m putting my minister pants on now. Ready? Reverend Rachael’s in the house!
No one gets to determine how someone else should look or feel but that individual person. If you’re someone who finds yourself triggered by how much makeup someone is or isn’t wearing, perhaps it would be helpful to journal about why that’s triggering you instead of lashing out about it publicly. If you’re the target of makeup shaming, I encourage you to realize that it’s not about you–don’t take it personally. Everyone is beautiful, with or without makeup. Period.
What’s your take on makeup shaming?
Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Why do women keep doing this to each other? Why don’t men seem to care as much?