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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Women Shouldn't Have To Ruin Their Hair Just To Have A Career

It's high time for this corporate tradition to go.

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"What will you be doing after graduation?"

"I actually accepted a full-time job."

"Wow, congrats! Bet you'll miss your hair though!"

I wish I could say I was surprised that someone would assume I'll be getting a short haircut just because I have accepted a full-time job in corporate America. But ever since I was in high school, older women have been warning me I need to cut my hair to shoulder length or shorter when I get hired. I am not sure where this idea comes from, but I suspect it may partially take its roots from the idea that men are more competent and to be considered competent, women have to look like men. Obviously, the base assumption there is wrong.

Our parents' generation is more the source of the idea that professional women need to have short hair, which means that mercifully, that idea is retiring. Millennials are, in general, more okay with long hair, but they always include the stipulation "as long as it's well-groomed." However, I don't always agree with their definitions of long, which are stuff like "four inches below the shoulder" and "approaching the back bra strap." My hair is usually around 12 inches below the shoulder and that's how I like it.

It is moreover my concern that "well-groomed" entails more than clean and combed and is code for "meticulously polished, uniform, and perfect at all times." But that's not how all human hair behaves, especially hair that is not naturally straight and blonde.

Too many women of color, African American women, in particular, are pressured or feel pressured to soak their hair in chemicals to obtain a more "white" texture. This is sick and wrong. As with all creation, God made African American women's hair and declared it very good. The underlying assumption here may be that white people are more competent and to be considered competent, African Americans must stylistically emulate white people. That assumption is wrong too. Chemical relaxers can be very damaging, and while of course, it is any woman's prerogative to do what she likes with her hair, no woman should ever experience any pressure, implicit or explicit, to use them.

In a similar way, I have felt pressured in the past to highlight my hair. Coloring one's hair and maintaining it is seen as a sign of caring about one's appearance, and to not do so is considered "granola" or "plain", especially if you don't wear makeup, which I don't. I happen to like my natural hair color (a nice, neutral dark brown) and I don't want to create extra work for myself by fixing something that ain't broken and then having to maintain the roots every two weeks just to show I have time, money, and care enough to do so. Not only that, but hair dye is extremely drying and dulling and I find that it makes my hair much more brittle and less shiny. The reality is that almost no women are really blonde, but it seems that blonde hair has become a status symbol, a way of displaying wealth. I would want no part of that even if I could pull off blonde hair, which I can't.

Do I want to schlepp around the workplace with my hair a frizzy, unkempt mess? Of course not. I always get regular trims, cannot stand having dead or split or stringy ends, and use either frizz-taming or curl sculpting cream. However, I am aware that most workplaces would expect me to heat-style my hair daily if I want to keep it this length. Heat-styling my hair is extremely time-consuming, and if that wasn't enough, it is just as damaging as hair dye.

And even if I did, I would still run the risk of appearing high maintenance. It is likely I will just end up wearing my hair in different buns or my go-to high ponytail every day once I start working, not because I agree, but because I want to be successful.

This needs to change. The fact that employers are not okay with all women wearing their hair long, as women have for thousands of years, and refraining from damaging relaxers, dyes, and heat styling is discriminatory, misogynist, and racist (insofar as women of color are concerned.) It is unfair to expect women to spend hundreds of dollars to damage their hair just to look "professional." The assumption that men and white people are competent and women and people of color aren't is flat out wrong.

Yes, women should always keep their hair clean and combed (if applicable) and should maintain their ends, but asking any more than that is asking too much. I hope that we millennials become the generation that finally started evaluating women's competence based on their job performance, intelligence, and skills, not based on how willing they were to ruin their hair.

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