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Materialism, makeup, and the modern woman

Hey look, another blog written hurriedly in between rounds at a debate tournament. I was going to write my review for “The Wedding of River Song” for today, but I didn’t have enough time to truly process it yet and I really want to watch it again. In the meantime, if you’re really jonesing for an opinion on the episode, head over to Kyle Anderson’s guest blog on Nerdist. It’s an interesting perspective, and I’m still working out whether I agree or not. Caution: spoilers.

I was in a poetry round this morning where a girl did a piece about beauty and cosmetics, basically relating the general feminism argument that makeup is evil and you’re always pretty no matter what. Blah blah blah.

While I agree with the sentiment that modern beauty standards are kind of BS, I disagree with the obnoxious assumption that makeup is inherently demeaning to women and means that you have low self esteem. I not only disagree, I disagree vehemently.

Here’s the thing; I wear makeup. I’ve worn makeup since I was fourteen, although I didn’t start wearing it with any sort of sense until I was probably sixteen. My style, at least since I broke out of my goth/emo stage, is fairly light makeup, a little powder or foundation to even out my skin tone (my cheeks, regardless of the time of year, are perpetually red and splotchy), and a little strategic eye makeup to highlight and open up my tiny, colorless eyes. Generally, you can’t really tell that I’m wearing makeup unless you look really closely. Sometimes, I don’t even wear makeup. It just depends on my mood.

The reason why I believe makeup isn’t inherently unfeminist is because I don’t use it because I hate my face or my form or my little details, I use it because, to me, it’s a form of art. It’s like painting or coloring, just on my face. Sure, there are things about my face that aren’t always the most attractive, but I don’t use makeup to hide them, deny their existence (no amount of coverup can disguise my massive nose), or anything like that, I use makeup to highlight the features I like, and add color to my pale complexion.

Yes, some girls use makeup because they hate themselves, because they want to fit into the mold of contemporary beauty standards, because they would rather look like anything but themselves, and that’s sad. That’s awful. But that doesn’t make makeup inherently flawed. Makeup doesn’t make you shallow, YOU make you shallow. It’s all about intent, and we would all do well to keep that in mind.

I don’t know, it just bothers me when girls (and women) get all high and mighty because they don’t wear makeup and therefore must be more feminist and empowered than me.

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