So recently, sitting in the backseat of a black metal-blasting Ford of an old friend of my guy-friend, the muscle-shirted, profanity-laden driver was musing on the mysteries of love and courtship and the irreconcilable nature of the modern wacky free-thinking woman (AKA he was bitching about chicks okay) when he declared that he much preferred women who didn’t wear makeup over those who did. To wit: ‘I don’t understand why they wear that shit on their face anyway.’ (This $36 lipstick made by MAC — a top-name brand so renowned that it was referenced in TLC’s ‘Unpretty’ — is not shit, you dick.)
It must be hard being a man looking for love when women keep doing whatever they want without your approval. Bitches be cray!
What I didn’t understand about this gentleperson was that he claimed to not understand why women wear makeup in the first place. I’m no woman-motivation-studying-scientist-woman, but I can think of a number of reasons:
- The emphasis on feminine beauty perpetuated by a culture focused on the social exchange of women among men
- The double whammy of advertising/capitalism playing on women’s insecurities (a product of #1)
- BUT ALSO THEY LIKE WEARING IT (Most women are well aware that their affinity for makeup stems from a combination of #1 and #2, but they also derive great enjoyment from artistry and aesthetic subjectivity).
Of course, he was probably trying to express the super noble sentiment that he is a Good Guy, that unlike the rest of his gender he prefers ‘natural’ beauty, to all this ‘fake’, ‘commodified’ stuff. (I use quotation marks on these terms because I wish to call your attention to the inherent bullshit that defines them.)
His notion of ‘natural’ is bullshit because straight cis men have been deliberately conditioned not to know what this actually might look like. Makeup artists agree that ‘natural’ is in fact the hardest look to pull-off – you actually have to wear a fucktonne of makeup to create the illusion that you have no makeup on at all. Not many people wake up with flawless skin free of pimples, redness, dark circles, veins and wrinkles because these are real face things. They are meant to be on your face! If they are not on your face then you are either a beautiful freak of nature or you have mastered the above illusion and kudos to you, you clever person. Therefore, of course, the notion of ‘natural’ is bullshit because not only do men not even understand what they purport to want, but what society means when they talk about ‘natural’ is either a woman who is somehow still hot without makeup or a woman whose beauty regime is invisible (bitch please don’t ‘ruin the magic’ by applying your makeup in public).
So, while probably well-intentioned, my friend-of-a-friend’s comment not only passes judgement on women who do wear makeup and choose to spend time on their appearance, it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the societal pressures inflicted upon women. It also conveys an ideology that considers a woman’s actions to be conditional upon whether or not they appease dudes.
We all understand the catch 22 of expectations like this: Wear makeup, and you’re a superficial bitch whore. Don’t wear makeup? You’re an ugly whore lesbian freak.
Ah, to be a woman.