Why I Wear Makeup

Why I Wear Makeup

In honor of Alicia Keys' and Alessia Cara's makeup-free movement
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I started wearing makeup around the age of 14. I would always beg my mom to let me wear just eyeliner for school but she would always say no and tell me my time would come. She would tell me how beautiful I was and that soon enough, my time would come. After seeing other girls at school and church, I was crazy about starting to wear some. Finally, “my time” did “come” and I could not be happier. Soon it became an everyday thing and I would not leave the house without wearing eyeliner. However, I wouldn’t dare wear anything else because for some reason I thought it was “too much” and I’m sure I didn’t know how to use it properly.

The problem with wearing it every day was that when I absolutely couldn’t wear it, the comments from others were never-ending. “You look tired”. “You look better with makeup on”. Of course, this led to huge self-esteem issues and it felt as though I was expected to wear it every day. If I didn’t wear it, I thought my face looked dull and I was afraid people would treat me differently.

Once I started high school, I started wearing more makeup. This is perhaps around the same time most boys would make comments on girls’ beauty choices. They’d say they prefer “their” women “all-natural” and that girls who wore makeup were “fake”. But of course all the girls they did give all their attention to, wore makeup (huh??). For some reason boys felt as though they were being deceived by girls who wore makeup all the time and assumed they wore it because they were “ugly” or because they lacked confidence. Maybe they did feel ugly and lacked confidence, but you certainly weren’t helping.

Just to get one thing straight, in the majority of cases, wearing makeup is a choice. However, it’s not up to you to decide that choice for the people who wear it. Of course there are some women (and men) who believe makeup is a necessity because society makes them think it is. If you don’t wear makeup (shout out to Alicia Keys), people suddenly start questioning your whole life but when you do wear it, you’re heavily judged for it. Whether a woman decides to wear makeup or not, is her decision.

(Alicia Keys makeup-free at the VMA’s)

Personally, makeup makes me feel better about myself. And until recently, I was never confident about going out without makeup because I felt like I looked unpresentable or sloppy. It took me five years to finally feel confident without makeup on and not care about what other people think. It feels SO good to rub my eyes without having to worry about ruining my makeup. But at the same time the satisfaction I feel after I realize how bomb my makeup looks is incomparable. The level of completeness I feel after buying makeup is unreal and honestly no one can convince me otherwise. Yes, I do spend my time watching makeup tutorials and following beauty gurus because I believe this is another thing women must reclaim for themselves just as I believe a bare face is also something women must reclaim for themselves. It makes no sense to me that we are oppressed for our choices in personal grooming when really it is no one else’s business and I could care less about what you think.

Also just for the record, girls do not wear makeup for boys or for “attention”. And what is so bad about a girl wanting attention anyway? I digress. Most guys are incapable of appreciating how straight my eyeliner is or how carefully I contoured my face. Most guys will most likely never realize how much my time I dedicate to my eyebrows nor will they notice their bad vibes reflecting off my bomb highlight. So does it really make sense to say we wear makeup for others? No. I wear makeup for me.

Cover Image Credit: http://coaching-five-stars.com/?page=beauty-wellness1&lang=en

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5 Reasons Why Black People Are Still Broke

Change needs to come.
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According to statistics from The State of Working America, African Americans made up about 12 percent of the population in the United States in 2015. They are also among the poorest races, with 27.5 percent of them living in poverty.

What's even more disturbing is that 45.6 percent of black children aged 6 and under live in poverty.

Essentially every other black kindergarten student is living in a home where the income is below what the government sees as necessary to live. Unfortunately, this trend continues for generations of black people and I believe that I know five important reasons as to why this race is so impoverished.

1. Black people spend more money than they make.

African Americans over the age of 18 make up 39 percent of Master Card holders. Of that 39 percent, many spend their limit monthly and seldom have the money to pay the balance in full at the end of the month. Essentially black people are spending money that they don't have and won't have at the end of the month. This trend of building never-ending debt is partially why their poverty numbers are so high.

2. Black people don't support black businesses.

Every race with the exception of black people seems to support the businesses of their own. Being an entrepreneur is one of the most popular ways to make high residual income. Black people buy products from brands such as Jordan, Louis Vuitton, and Ralph Lauren at an alarming rate.

The prices of these brands are very expensive, however, those same black people would cringe at the thought of paying $20 for a black-owned clothing product saying, "It's too expensive."

The question here would be is the product too expensive or not "renowned enough?"

3. Black people don't save their money.

As soon as black people get a huge chunk of money or their tax refund it appears that they all flock to the nearest high-end fashion spot to splurge. Seldom do black people save their funds or invest them into things that will last or that could make them more money down the line.

According to The State of Working America, black people spend 4 percent more money annually than any other race despite the fact that they are the least represented race and the race that lives in poverty at the highest rate. There's a clear problem, so read that sentence again and let it marinate.

4. Black people don't know how to invest.

If you ask many black people aged 18-25 it should not come as a surprise that investing in stocks or buying bonds is a foreign concept. Many young black people work and spend their money on items that either decrease in value after being bought or are not sustainable. Cars and sneakers are prime examples of such things.

5. Black people aren't working toward getting out of poverty.

Even after reading this article there are many black people that will not work towards changing their situation. After centuries of slavery, black people must realize that they are behind with regards to having generational wealth.

Black people must fight to create the wealth where they will have trust funds for their children or wealth that can be passed down. Too many black people tend to only worry about themselves and the money that they have in the moment. As a race, black people need to build for the future and get out of that mindset of the now.

Wealth is not everything, however, it has been proven that with it, you get better educational opportunities and a better environment for children to develop and go on to become well-functioning members of society. There are the Jay-Z's and P. Diddy's of the world but they are far and few in comparison with how most black people live.

Change needs to come, black people, this is something we have control over so no more excuses.

Image Credit: Quora

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It’s Time To Stop Letting Victoria’s Secret Define What Is Beautiful

Glorifying and commodifying a specific type of body on a large-scale is damaging to women everywhere.

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Victoria's Secret is a retailer that thrives off of exclusion and maintains notions of beauty and attractiveness that are no longer as welcomed in the 21st century.

Frankly, capitalism will likely wipe out the brand when people stop buying their lingerie due to lack of support for the company.

That's the beauty of capitalism.

In fact, VS stock, which is now down 40% indicates that this type of change is coming to the lingerie marketplace, where women now value companies that promote bodily diversity and don't shame certain kinds of bodies for not adhering to the beauty standard set by Victoria's Secret.

While Victoria's Secret has increased its diversity throughout the years regarding ethnic backgrounds, the body type represented in the brand is incredibly homogenous.

The models in the show are all runway models outside of the Victoria's Secret show, meaning that they adhere to standard agency requirements. These requirements dictate a female model be at least 5'8 in height, and while weight is not often specified, models are usually between 105-120 pounds.

Any brief exploration into the models on the site will show that their measurements are around 31-34 inches in the bust, with a 22-26 inch waist and 34-36 inch hips. These measurements correspond to sizes 0-2, which are often used as sample sizes for the runway.

This article is not meant to attack their signature model, "Angels." They are beautiful women who fit the needs of the fashion industry they earn a living in. However, they are not the ONLY type of beautiful women to exist.

Further, this article is not meant to denigrate naturally thin individuals. I am a size 0 myself, so many people consider me a "thin" individual.

People might fail to understand why I disapprove of Victoria's Secret as a brand. After all, they cater to individuals with my body type, so what is there for me to complain about?

I don't fit their height requirement, meaning that I could never be one of their esteemed Angels. And you could ask yourself, "so why does that matter?"

The vast majority of women in the United States could never come close to achieving the bodily standards observed in Victoria's Angels that the brand emphasizes.

And which it's important for companies to cater to individual markets to ensure corporate diversity, Victoria's Secret remains a lingerie giant and has a massive ability in dictating national standards of beauty.

They also sell sizes beyond the XS or S displayed in the fashion show, yet fail to include bodies in the show that would fit their M, L, or XL sizes they sell in stores.

The problem with influence and lack representation coupled with their marketing strategy dictates to women that the Angel is the pinnacle of beauty. Therefore by wearing their lingerie, you get to supposedly feel like an Angel in the Victoria's Secret fantasy.

And yet, you don't.

Why?

Because even if you get sucked into their marketing scheme and buy their bras and underwear expecting to feel better about yourself, if you're not absolutely secure and completely love with your body already, you'll just recognize that you will never fit the Angel standard that you feel is expected of you to be considered beautiful.

And that when you look in the mirror, you not looking like an Angel makes you feel like a fraud.

Victoria's Secret further utilizes the term "sexy" often, meaning that wearing their lingerie is supposed to make you attractive and appealing to the opposite sex.

So not only is their brand about idealizing specific types of bodies but commodifying these particular bodies as objects of prime attractiveness to the opposite sex.

There is a consequence of presenting one body type as the most beautiful and categorizing it as incredibly sexy. For women, they risk feeling that a guy seeing them in lingerie will think of them as unattractive since they don't adhere to the epitomized beauty standard so endlessly praised in the media.

Victoria's Secret emphasizes that their show is a "fantasy." This notion of a fantasy can imply that it's not real. However, we as consumers know those models are still real people. And even if they're bronzed, made-up and thrust out onto the runway in perfect lighting, the bodies walking that runway wouldn't be there if Victoria's Secret didn't already consider them perfect before the show.

Further, Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of Creative Services of L Brands (the company that owns Victoria's Secret) responded to a question concerning bodily diversity in this manner:

"We attempted to do a television special for plus sizes (in 2000). No one had any interest in it, still don't,"

His quote is prime evidence that the minds behind Victoria's Secret do not consider bodies outside their norms interesting, nor beautiful enough to be in the spotlight.

In the eyes of Victoria's Secret, we women who don't fit the Angel model are not valued. We are not, and never will be, as attractive or as sexy since we are not, and cannot become, Angels.


To them, we are just women who chase their notions of beauty and sexiness to try and fulfill our desires to feel that way about ourselves. We remain consumers thinking that someday, maybe we will get close to or achieve that ideal and that wearing their lingerie is somehow a way to get there.

And since the vast majority of women in the United States feel insecure about their bodies, Victoria's Secret capitalizes on women's insecurities.

Brands such as ThirdLove and Savage X Fenty have made efforts to turn lingerie from devices of body standards and external validation to objects worn by women of all backgrounds for support, self-confidence, and comfortability. They've also worked to move the notion of sexiness away from something determined by the opposite sex to instead a feeling one experiences from empowering their own female sexuality.

All in all, you get to decide what companies you support, where to put your money and who you think makes the nicest lingerie.

I, along with many other women, have decided I don't want to spend my money at Victoria's Secret anymore. I've been on too long of a journey of bodily hate and self-destruction, and I feel that it is time for me to move on and surround myself in a social movement that doesn't make me feel less of a woman.

Maybe one day, Victoria's Secret will do someone to cater to the millions of women upturning their noses at their company. And if not, they may have to settle as a smaller, specialty retailer that emphasizes clothing for smaller women.

Regardless, a change in marketing could benefit their sales and stock.

Otherwise, a lot of us women are going to go elsewhere and work to redefine what it means to be beautiful.

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