Because you’re not fooling anyone… who counts

Posted on February 1, 2013 by

I’ve decided to file this under “homemaking” because makeup also contains the word “make”. Seemed sensible enough.

I don’t bother with makeup anymore. I have, it seems, reached the age where I cease to be so preoccupied with and unrealistic about my looks that I’m worried about people seeing me without my face properly spackled and painted. In the photos above, I’m not wearing a single bit of face-paint and I don’t really care. The things about me that are unattractive (my prominent chin, uneven skin, etc.) are unattractive even when I wear makeup.

The things about me that are attractive would be more attractive with makeup, though. This is true, and it’s the reason why I kept slapping it on. Makeup would make my eyes stand out a bit more, my lips look more luscious, and my cheeks glow. Maybe I’d get more second-glances, but I’d look less like me and more like someone else. Someone more attractive and attention-getting, but still… someone else.

I don’t know why, but this is something that bothers me more and more. I feel like I’m becoming less vain and more self-confident, somehow. I’m not fooling anyone and I no longer want to. Other people’s opinion of my looks is becoming increasingly irrelevant. I used to wear lots of makeup and dress in figure-concealing clothes (two popular forms of trickery), but I’ve given up on both efforts. Men, it turns out, have x-ray vision, and I’m no longer bothered by the fact that the wider public can see through my efforts.

I’ve always admired one of our contributors, Hearthie, because she’s so unabashed with her appearance and her photos. I used to think that she must think she’s perfect, to post so many photos of herself on her blog, but it eventually dawned on me that it’s the precise opposite: she knows that she has flaws and they don’t bother her because she’s humble. I’m the vain one, who takes thirty pictures and posts none because I look at all of them and grumble about how unflattering they are. They aren’t unflattering. I just look like that. My self-image wasn’t aligned to reality, until now. I know that plenty of people will criticize my appearance and that’s alright. I’m not perfect and I’m aware of it.

We live in a 2D age, where our appearance is judged based upon how photogenic we are — and everyone is more photogenic with makeup on. Pity the woman who is caught on camera without her camouflage! So we wear makeup constantly because we think of ourselves as we are seen in pictures, rather than in the animated, delicate, feminine, friendly manner we appear to others in real life. Aren’t we doing things backward? Shouldn’t the photo try to capture that animation, rather than for us to try to recreate the photo?

But wait! There’s more!

Not only is makeup largely ineffectual (to men with discerning eyes, such as my  husband, who are really the only ones who matter in this case) and rather gross (You know it is!), it also affects our understanding of feminine beauty.

As one of my friends recently put it, when I suggested we ladies should start a makeup-moratorium and be real Rebels with a Cause, “Says the young woman who is pretty even without makeup.” But this is silliness. There are women who are more or less pretty, but it isn’t the makeup that makes them so. There are pretty women and sometimes those women wear makeup, but the makeup isn’t what makes them pretty. We think this because a woman who takes off her makeup has unilaterally disarmed in comparison to her female competition, so we see her as at an immediate disadvantage. Some women even get angry about it, as they are like crabs in a bucket when it comes to beauty standards.

…but at what point will you stop pressuring other women to go along with it? When will you stop “requiring” it, like when you say, “oh, she’s so pretty even without makeup” as if the default was makeup?

Moreover, I suspect that some women don’t think of themselves as pretty because they are always wearing makeup. There are so many attractive women who are down on their looks and swear that they “need” makeup, including that very friend of mine. This is what the cosmetic companies have been brainwashing us all with for years. Time to fight the power and save some money.

I’ve kept wearing makeup occasionally for my husband’s sake, as he likes for me to be made-up when I’m really dressed-up. But this morning I announced that I would go do my makeup, despite being snowed-in today and dressed in something cute-and-comfortable, and he said, “Why bother? I’m the only one who’s going to see you and I don’t care.” Well, good to know. Glad he likes my face in reality, and not only in virtual reality.

Posted in: Homemaking