I don't wear makeup.
END OF STORY.
When I was young, I did dance and theater where we had to wear a lot of show makeup, and I hated it. I was so bad at keeping my eyes open for mascara and it was itchy and uncomfortable. Curling my eyelashes was like some sort of medieval torture since they’re upsetting-ly short. I just really detested the whole thing. But I kind of assumed that was a phase I would grow out of. I figured I would eventually be able to stand to put weird black goop near my eyes and not rub them. I was wrong.
To this day I very rarely wear makeup and when I do it’s either really minimal or a struggle. As a preteen, I was kind of assuming at some point my mom would make me wear makeup. I thought that was just kind of the default. Most women between the ages of 16 to 50 wore makeup all the time in my head. My mom, of course, didn’t actually make me wear makeup. And since I showed no interest in makeup, it’s never been a part of my life.
For special occasions in high school, I would wear it. It was just a part of dressing up. I don’t even really stress about things being put near my eye as long as I’m one doing it. But it always felt a little bit like a performance. Like if you go from never wearing makeup to wearing a lot, plus dressing up and doing something special to your hair, you kind of feel like a slob every other day of the year. Like you just don’t try and you’re okay with that. You’re just not one of those people who try to look cute every day because you don’t care what other people think.
This is an issue in a lot of ways. First, not wearing makeup does not make you a slob. Just as wearing makeup does not mean you care about what other people think of you. Waking up and deciding if you’re going to wear makeup should be based on one thing alone: do you like wearing makeup? If you like makeup because you think its fun, wear it. If you don’t because you’re bad at it and it makes you feel itchy, don’t wear it. It’s fine if how you feel changes from day to day too.
Unfortunately, society doesn’t always see it this way. People often assume women must wear makeup in offices and professional setting. To not wear it makes you seem unprofessional like you don’t care enough to put in the effort, and that you are letting the company’s image slip. This idea particularly infuriates me because it means that as a female employee you don’t only have to do your job but also be a model and the beautiful face of the company as well. You, of course, are not being paid to be nice to look at, it’s just expected as a woman. Your level of professionalism should have absolutely no relation to how you look. It should be based solely on your merit and the work you do. Women should not have to pull double duty in looking gorgeous and being stellar in their careers.
Even in non-high-level corporate settings, the idea that you should be wearing makeup by default is prevalent. This leads women to encounter a different problem altogether: makeup is expensive. Working a minimum wage job doesn’t always allow you to fit makeup into your monthly budget. For women who can’t buy cheap drugstore makeup for any reasons like allergies or being a shade that’s not found in standard ranges, it’s an even bigger issue. Plus adding on additional time to get ready for a job that does not pay well and is only part-time is infuriating.
Overall the idea that women are supposed to inherently wear makeup in order to look like you care is just another form of sexism. Men are never held to the same standard of looks because they are not there to be eye candy. I’m not saying all women should stand up and throw away your mascara as a form of rebellion, but I am saying I should not be forced into buying mascara. I shouldn’t feel like I can’t have a photoshoot for Instagram without having a little bit of makeup on so that I feel pretty enough for the internet. People should not view women who go into work without makeup as less professional and be punished for it. I don’t like wearing makeup so I don’t wear it. You may love makeup so you do wear it. That should be the end of the discussion.