I sometimes find make up an odd thing, it’s the social expectation that women will wear make up that I find a little weird. Men have no such pressure to daily paint their faces yet for many women, they wouldn’t leave the house without wearing at least some sort of cosmetics.
I don’t wear make up day to day but I wouldn’t go for an evening out with a bare face. And having no idea why got me thinking. The feminist part of me feels like it’s totally unnecessary, that wearing lipstick that is supposed to make my mouth look more enticing is ridiculous, or putting on fake eyelashes that supposedly make my eyes wider and more attractive is a joke.
But the reality is that I don’t wear make up FOR other people. I wear make up partly as a security blanket, a safety net of habit. My mother wears little make up but my earliest memories are of her dressing table filled with these lotions, potions and paints that seemed to hold the mysteries of being a woman.
I also feel that on a night out I want to transform myself from daytime work Sam and mum to party loving Sam. It’s the reason I wear different clothes on a night out than to what Id wear for work or home. That transformation makes me feel more confident.
I hadn’t really thought too much about the reasons why I wear make up before. I suppose I just thought it made me look better. But on Saturday night after an evening out I was taking my slap off, and for some reason just removed half.
I was really surprised by the results, I found I was no happier with my made up face than my natural face and it got me thinking about why I wear it and if it matters.
Like many women, I have a make up bag filled with foundation, powder, mascara and all manner of powders and pastes. But why? It is for me but I suppose it’s also about wanting to project a certain image out into the world. Does that sound shallow? In writing this I feel I may sound vain, that I should be entirely happy with my looks and not feel the need to wear a mask. But isn’t most of our image some sort of mask?
Makeup can be a form of self-expression and a way to show your personality and character. And if it makes you feel better then what is the problem? The sexist assumption that women only wear make up for male attention is unhelpful. As is the idea that without makeup we feel unattractive. The reality is that through make up, clothes and hair I want to express myself in a way that shows who I am and then have others see that form of self-expression.
Shallow or not our image is the outward, immediate way we tell people who we are. It’s said you judge a person when you meet them within 10 seconds, that first impression means so much. And perhaps that is why I don’t feel the need to wear any make up and wear joggers and a vest in the house because the people I see already know and love me, they don’t judge me on my external appearance. Whereas out of the house in a work or social environment I know I will be meeting people and want to put across a certain image.
Whether that is in a meeting where I want to show my professionalism, personality and that I’m a mother f**king adult. Or at a party where I want my fun, giddy and party side to come out. It’s all a mask, a costume, an external show of my internal personality.
So to make up or not to make up? Tell me what you think!
Love Sam xx