A Discussion of Makeup and Feminism

Gwenyth McNulty, Lion´s Roar Staff

     Art has made statements for many years. Makeup does the same thing; it provides empowerment, enjoyment, and self-confidence to the wearer. It makes them feel good in their skin and allows them to have a bit of fun in the morning. 

     That is until they are torn down for wearing a little bit of blush.

     Every day, women are berated and insulted for doing what makes them happy and partaking in self-indulgence. It’s a tragedy when such a beautiful thing should be celebrated, but is instead seen as a ruse concocted by lustful women who intend on trapping innocent, beatific men.

     This is the tightrope that women have been expected to walk gracefully upon since the second they have taken their first breath.

     Welcome to your own personal circle of torture where every move you make is a bad one. 

     Men do not have to walk this tightrope, bound to falling into a pit of despair. Why should women? They are not a show to be taken in; they are not magical beings to be awed; they are not goddesses to be worshiped. They are women. 

     They are people. Just like men. 

     Women do not attack men for their own habits; they are expected to stay silent and take in the “greatness” that the men of the world exude. Men do not do the same. They can’t even fathom doing so. Women are objectified every day for putting makeup on; they are built up and torn down all in one breath, leading them to a life of self-loathing.

     This is likely the fault of the cosmetic companies. Since the 1900s, women have been told that their only source of survival would be to find a good husband. And, unfortunately, this is true. Women could not find any jobs that would support them well, and they certainly did not obtain better positions than men did. So, they had to do something in order to make a man love them. Cosmetic companies have been spinning the same narrative since the beginning of time: you will only be loved if you are beautiful. So everyone began to wear it.

     It is a double edged sword that is bound to plunge into women’s hearts or the hearts of their opponent: society and its unattainable expectations. Women are expected to be petite, fragile, and subservient toward the opposite sex. Yet at the same time, they are expected to be the backbone of the family and the world all at once. Everything rests on their shoulders yet they are expected to be humble about it, to give the credit to those who are undeserving…the men. They are expected to be beautiful creatures destined to descend into the arms of a man, but they are also expected to be plain enough that they won’t catch too much attention.

     The promises that are whispered into women’s ears stop the moment you wipe your face clean. Then you are nothing more than a monster, nothing more than a duplicitous, lying villain who is undeserving of love.

     It’s a trap. 

     It’s fake. 

     You are putting a new face atop your own, and now you are too ugly for me. Both inside and out.

     Riddle me this: what about tattoos? Makeup is much less permanent than that; they’re both art. Why are people making such a fuss about a little bit of blush when they have permanent body art that will remain on your body forever? If makeup is a mask, then is that not what a tattoo does as well? Does it not mask the skin?

     The point of makeup is not specifically to impress others unless the person intends it so. Makeup is about self confidence. It’s about art. It’s about enjoyment and empowerment. It is not a necessity, for everyone is beautiful. Women and men alike should wear makeup because they want to, not because they feel pressured by society to do or to not do so. And people should continue to wear makeup if they want to, even in the face of those who desperately wish to tear them down for their own gain.

     In the immortal words of Ashlyn Rae Willson, “You can do whatever you want/I’ll do whatever I like.” (Angry Woman, Ashe)