Last year, a group of friends and I sat together conversing. Somehow, we started discussing makeup. One friend said women should not wear makeup because it alters their appearance and he is against this idea. My other friend became outraged and triggered a large debate within our group. To this day, the group cannot talk about the subject because tension and anger arise between individuals.
But we need to talk about it.
Throughout history, women all over the world have faced societal pressure to look beautiful. Today, the media features advertisements and numerous celebrities endorsing products to “look more attractive. Makeup is one of these products.
Every day, women are bombarded with messages about makeup and how to wear it in order to look pretty. Television shows and infomercials focus on what makeup women should wear for certain occasions or they observe how a celebrity wore her eyeliner or lipstick at a particular event. I cannot log onto Facebook, watch a program on Netflix or read a magazine without finding an advertisement about makeup. Women often feel pressured into wearing makeup because the media consistently emphasizes it.
Young girls feel pressure to wear makeup because they want to “fit in” in social scenes and at school. According to Bianca London, a writer for the Daily Mail, girls are using makeup at age 11, which is three years younger than a decade ago. When I was in sixth grade, one classmate’s mother told her she needed to wear eyeshadow because she needed it to look pretty. Several of my friends in middle school wore makeup to look like their favorite celebrities. Teachers and other students would tell them they looked pretty, so they would continue wearing it.
One aspect of this matter my friend at UI does not understand is how much pressure women encounter every day to wear makeup. Businesses and media market makeup specifically to women. Men do not face the same advertisements and pressure to wear makeup as women do.
Some celebrities post photos on social media of them in their “natural state” to combat the pressure society puts toward wearing makeup. Many women choose to not wear makeup simply because they do not like it or they do not want to. It is essential to tell women and girls that they look beautiful as they are. Makeup does not define beauty. If certain women feel happier without makeup, they should not wear it.
On the other hand, if a woman knows she is beautiful, but still wants to wear makeup, she has every right to. Some women wear makeup because they like the way it looks, and they feel good about themselves. Others apply it to match their outfit or enhance facial features. As NikkieTutorials says, women should not hide insecurities by slapping on makeup, but I
think if a woman knows she is beautiful and wants to wear makeup and “alter her appearance,” nothing should stop her.
A common misunderstanding with women wearing makeup is they want to impress men. While in some cases this may be true, most of the time it is not. Women wear makeup for all kinds of reasons. In numerous cultures, makeup is used for ceremonial events. For example, many religious ceremonies and dances in India include the ritual of makeup. Native American women from the Great Plains region of the present-day United States painted their noses, cheeks and foreheads in times of war. Women in several tribes around Africa in ancient times and in 2015 use the time for makeup and hair preparation as a social time to bond with one another. Makeup also protected skin. Ancient Egyptians would wear oils and creams to protect themselves from the wind and sun.
Personally, I do not always wear makeup. Most days, I prefer to sleep a few more minutes, so I do not apply it. On some occasions, I want to wear eye shadow, use eyeliner to make cat eyes and slip on bright red lipstick because I feel fierce all done up. When going out, I like wearing bright, neon-colored makeup.
The most important point is that a woman needs to feel happy and good about herself. Women should not be pressured into wearing makeup and should not be told to use it because it will make her look pretty. The debate over makeup is a double-edged sword and many people argue their opinions. In my opinion, if a woman wants to wear makeup, great. If she does not want to wear makeup, great. A woman should have the ability to choose.