The Great Makeup Debate

The Great Makeup Debate

Makeup: love it or hate it?
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Makeup: love it or hate it?

Anyone you talk to will have their own answer to that question. A lot of people love makeup. A lot of people don’t.

My personal answer to the "makeup question" is that I do like makeup. I have neither the artistry nor patience to draw double cat-eye liner so sharp it could cut someone or create ombré lip looks, but I respect and applaud and wish to learn from those that can. I tend to stick to looks that I can easily create in 10 minutes or less using BB cream, mascara, eyebrow pencil, and tinted lip balm. Some days if I have more time or am more dressed up I'll wear eyeshadow or eyeliner or lipstick or highlighter.

British author Zadie Smith recently drew ire for saying that makeup was a "waste of time.” I have to disagree with her opinion in some ways. I don't think that makeup is a complete waste of time. I wear makeup because it helps me feel good. I like to use it to highlight my features, like my blue eyes. When I wear makeup, I don't wear it to impress anyone. I wear it to feel more confident in myself. When I feel confident in myself, I find myself more likely to stand up for what I want, and more likely to be sociable. Spending time in the morning putting makeup on isn’t a waste of my time. I know a lot of people who feel the same way.

However, while I disagree with Zadie Smith’s opinion that makeup is a waste of time, I think that there’s also a bigger picture to look at. Society’s view on makeup has put women in a difficult position. Young women are constantly bombarded with the idea that the only way they can be happy in life is if they look a certain way, which includes wearing makeup. If women don’t want to wear makeup, they’re told that they’re lazy, ugly slobs who probably have low self-esteem and would be more beautiful if they just tried a little harder.

By the same token, though, women are told that if they wear too much makeup (whatever “too much” may mean), they’re trying too hard and are fake and just need to embrace their natural beauty.

So which are they supposed to pick?

The answer is none of the above. Women do not owe anyone an explanation for their decisions about whether or not they want to wear makeup. If they want to create beautiful art with eyeshadow and contour palettes and makeup brushes, that’s allowed. If they couldn’t care less about mascara and foundation and lipstick, that’s allowed too.

Every woman’s opinion on makeup is their own. Zadie Smith’s opinion on makeup is her own. My opinion, that makeup isn’t inherently bad but society’s need to tell women how they should look is, is my own. Any other woman’s opinion on makeup is their own. Whatever opinion you have, it’s long past time that we let women do whatever they want when it comes to makeup.

Cover Image Credit: Jamie Street on Unsplash

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Shaving My Head Taught Me That Self-Confidence Does Not Depend On How I Look

Shaving my head helped me gain more self-confidence than I ever thought possible.

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Hair is something that has more power over us than we think. Historically, hair was viewed as a way to identify your gender, marital status, religion, or social position. In the Quapaw tribe, single Native American women wore their hair in braids, while the married woman wore it long and loose. Hair can be sacred, as well. Many Sikhs believe that hair should not be cut in any way, as it is a gift from God.

In most of Western society, hair serves simply as a gender marker. Although we are straying away from traditional gender roles, long hair usually signifies femininity and short hair represents masculinity. The media portrays desirable young women with long, silky, effortlessly perfect hair.

For me, my hair served as a comfort. Although I struggled with its frizziness, brittleness, and tangle-ability, I relied on it to make me feel secure. When it hung to my waist in high school, I would use it to cover up my arms and shoulders when I wore sleeveless tops, as I didn't like these parts of my body.

As a child, I remember watching Natalie Portman on the Oprah Winfrey show, talking about having to shave her head for a movie role. Even though I thought it was extreme, her calm and pragmatic demeanor about it changed my perceptions on having a shaved head. I remember her saying, "I always wanted to do it once in my life, anyways. It'll grow back my natural color eventually."

Months before I left for college, I began to devise a plan. I would dye my hair the fun colors that I wasn't allowed to in high school, and then shave it all off for the new year. I got started the week after I moved into my dorm and bleached my hair. As the chemicals burned my scalp and made my eyes water, I realized that there was no going back now. I had committed to shaving my head.

When January rolled around, I was starting to get apprehensive. The weekend I had marked on my calendar approached, and I trekked through a snowstorm to the nearest SportsClips. The barber seemed bewildered at my request but didn't give me any time to reconsider. She took the clippers right to my head, and I watched as my bleach-damaged locks fell to the ground, much like the snow outside.

The first week was hard. I didn't recognize my reflection and often caught myself reaching up to play with my non-existent hair out of habit. I only went out in girly outfits or a full face of makeup, as I felt the need to assert my femininity.

As the weeks went on, however, I began to fall in love with my stubbly head.

Would I recommend shaving your head? I would. Although the journey has been challenging, the benefits make the shave well worth it. Not only do save time in the morning, but I also have learned how to stop hiding behind my hair.

Shaving my head taught me how to stop relying on my appearance for self-assurance. When I had long hair, I would often base my validation around how I looked. Although it provided me temporary confidence, it meant that I wasn't placing any confidence in my other traits. I cared more about how the world saw me than how it heard me. Now that I've stripped myself of my comfort blanket, I feel as though I can conquer anything, no matter how I look.

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