It’s quite frustrating to me that people, especially women themselves, can’t help but drag each other down as to who is better: makeup lovers or those — and to use their own words — brave enough to go out in public without it. ‘Women empowerment’ has been thrown like a grenade between two camps, claiming that one is more motivating and inspirational than the other, and it makes me think, why can’t they both be?
I have never seen a discourse on both issues in one piece. It’s usually just about makeup shaming or just about ‘promoting natural beauty’ and never both. So today, I decided to list down the reasons why it’s important to shove the two mentalities out the window.
Whether you like makeup or not, it’s really your own business. But the thing is, sometimes other people think they're in the position to make your business theirs, making blunt comments about how a woman who doesn’t like makeup can’t care for herself enough. The same goes for women who love makeup, who are told that they should embrace their own natural beauty. Saying that it’s a two-way street is just too simple; the fact is, you can’t please everybody and you shouldn’t try to set standards for someone else, too.
Someone might feel empowered when they swipe that lipstick on, but does that mean they have low self-esteem? Not necessarily. If someone dares to go bare-faced in public, does that mean they have given up on themselves? Maybe they’re just confident about themselves, so kudos to them.
Have you ever stopped and listened to why someone prefers to go about how they present themselves? I have heard people say that makeup led them to letting go of their inhibitions and realise that they can be beautiful. And I have talked to people who say that going bare faced makes them feel more empowered. How is one less than the other? Isn’t the whole point of beauty and confidence all about being comfortable in self-expression? These are the questions to ask before jumping into conclusions about someone.
I say enough of memes saying that women who prefer to go natural are better partners, or that women who wear makeup are better in bed. Or that women who prefer one thing over the other are much more superior, more beautiful, smarter, blah, blah, blah. It's disappointing to know that there are women who still share memes and articles like that on their social media profiles or comment in full agreement to these ridiculous posts. Why do you have to box yourself into just one category?
Never leaving listicles on must-watch coming of age/chick flick movies of all time, Mean Girls is more than just about high school cliques, drama queens, and wearing pink on Wednesdays. One of the things that stuck with me the most from the movie is a line by Tina Fey’s character, Ms. Norbury, saying women should lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. The character emphasised that when women call each other names, it gives men the idea that it's okay for them to call women names as well.
It rings true because the labels never seem to end when it comes to this issue, and it gives light to the same principles of feminism. Women need to stop dragging each other down and should just focus on something as simple as giving a sincere compliment. We can never move past the first point of gender equality or the call for empowerment if we can’t even grasp the idea that those who prefer makeup and those who don’t can co-exist in peace.
This is probably idealistic and cliche, but I figured this is still worth noting. The first thing we see is someone’s face, and we never get to know their story unless we know them. I guess it’s human nature to judge based on appearances, as it usually gives us the first clue towards someone else’s personality. However, is it enough to claim our personal assumptions as true? You tell me. Because personally, I believe that generalising, stereotyping, and not even trying to look beyond someone’s physicality is unfortunate. At the end of the day, makeup or no makeup, real beauty is all about treating other people right.