Makeup Is Not a Choice, Really.

Today I read a short rant about why men should stop telling women they don’t need makeup to look good. It was pretty interesting, and not what I expected. It was written by a woman who basically calls us men stupid for saying dumb shit like that: 

It’s not liberating to hear a man who has never had to live a day as a woman tell us that we’re silly bunnies who don’t know what we’re doing with that powder brush. And what’s more empowering than the pressure to look, without any effort at all, like the media-driven fantasy of “natural” beauty? After all, we all wake up in the morning with dewy perfect skin and naturally dramatic eyes, just like Zooey Deschanel (who wears fake eyelashes to get that natural look) or Kate Winslet (who I’ve never seen without mascara or her eyebrows drawn on).

So, in closing: You’ll pry my black eyeliner and red lipstick—makeup that undeniably looks like makeup—out of my cold, dead hands. I don’t a lways wear it, but regardless, I refuse to embrace the fantasy that women just roll out of bed looking this way. 

I guess I really agree with her, but I would take it a step further. It may be the a-hole thing to say, but really yes, women do need to wear makeup. As a man, am I saying this because I think women need to just conform to my personal ideals of beauty, while suppressing their own inner beauty with blah blah blah etc etc? No. That’s not what I mean at all, although I get the argument. The question that prompted the whole article was “If makeup has indeed become the status quo in the public realm, does it ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem?”

Maybe it does. I’m not a woman, so I really can’t speak on that. If you are a woman and it does damage your self-esteem, then that sucks, and I’m sorry. But I don’t think it will change anything. The idea of makeup, its necessity, and the self esteem problem are all kind of bigger than the question really alludes to. I think there are three main things to consider here:

1. Makeup is a not really a choice, anyway. 

I mean yes, you can choose to wear it or not wear it, but there is a cost. And no, it’s not “men will think I’m less attractive.That may be a cost to certain people, but most women aren’t spending every moment of their life hoping their makeup finds them a husband. Married women wear makeup just the same. I’m sure their husbands will be the first people to say: “In my opinion, my wife looks great in the morning.” She better, bro. And of course she does, because he married her. To him, she is the best. So why would she still wear makeup daily? 

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“I totally knew I was going to have my picture taken today. This is my ‘give-a-shit’ face.”

Because she has to or else people will assume she just  doesn’t care. Other women will assume she doesn’t give a shit about how she looks. Even the husband will ask her: “Umm, honey? You not going to work today?” A woman can be just fine at the laundromat, or some other sort of situation where likability is not at risk, but in other situations it’s just a sign that you care. Maybe that does suck, and yes you can chose to go to work, or to the PTA meeting, or to a first date without makeup, but in most non-hipster circles, people (who may still want to have sex with you) will just assume you’re indifferent. Yes it has to do with TV and whatnot and models and perception, but it’s true. But don’t think it’s just you..

2. Makeup is not the only thing this logic applies to. 

As a guy there are things this applies to as well. I can choose not to wear deodorant. I can choose to grow a fat beard, wear a T shirt to a business meeting, etc. I choose to shave, dress well, and shower not because I have to, but because people generally enjoy me more when I do. And honestly if someone loved me they may not care about the fat beard or how I dress thing (aside from the first date), heck when I was in France I realized that some women appreciate a musk as well. Thing is, if I choose not to present myself a certain way, people will assume my indifference. You’ve seen it in every movie where the goofy guy has a bad breakup. How is he presented to show that he’s generally given up? A fat beard and a tee shirt. 

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“Now I have the freshest cereal.”

Granted, a shower and a shave may seem fundamental, but they sow signs that we’re ready to go out and be productive members of society. A guy isn’t going today a job interview with an un-groomed beard and a T, and a woman isn’t going in for one in “Juicy” sweats and no makeup. But since we need to present ourselves we do it. That, and…

3. We really do look better. 

I look better when I do the male version of a “doll up.” Women are the same way and makeup is a part of that. I think the real issue here is that we men have convinced you women that makeup is bad, but we still respond to it. It’s our fault, really. I can’t tell you how often I see dudes post statuses and tweets saying something to the effect of “why wear so much makeup? stay natural,” or “I need a girl who looks good without makeup.” 

What coddamn crap.

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“I look great, and I just woke up. And had sex. And I was drunk last night.”

The reality is, the makeup artists who work on the people we see on TV, movies, and ads are really fucking good. They can make a girl appear to be wearing no makeup. There are like 85 scenes of Lake Bell waking up in “How To Make It In America” looking great, even after a night of drinking, and they’re all a lie that we men have yet to figure out. The makeup is just THAT good. Any woman who can pull off the natural look is one we men love, even without saying it. We want to believe you have nothing on, or at least not even notice it without trying, so we can just assume “damn, she’s just that hot.”

The problem is, that’s not easy to pull off on a daily basis, standing in front of a vanity with a little kit. It’s certainly not easy when waking up late for work, trying to apply mascara during red lights on the way to work. So we sit here and look at some women and say: “Gross. Makeup sucks.” Then turn around and hit on a girl who is better at it, or had the time to trick our dumb asses into believing that nothing’s there. 

Anyway, that was just my two cents. I know it’s a touchy subject, but I guess the point is you’ll never hear me tell a girl to stop wearing makeup… Unless she looks like this:

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