Making Up My Mind

At the moment everyone seems to be posting some variation of the ‘makeup vs feminism’ debate which, don’t get me wrong is great to read but, majorly infringes on my attempts to be original. It’s not like I have much else going for me. From now on if you want to write about anything vaguely feminist, you have to consult me first otherwise I’ll have to sue. Sylvester.

Before we begin our makeup chat (it feels like that part in the Fimbles where Roly Mo used imageto crack open a top-notch story and check you were sitting comfortably before he began. Ultimately, I am feminist Roly Mo) I think it’s important to read this with two things in mind:

  1. I wear makeup
  2. I study philosophy

Therefore while I spend half an hour in Boots deciding whether I’m shade 02 or 03 in Bourjois AirMat (I know I’m 03, I’ve always been 03, I will always be 03 yet every time I go to buy 03 I feel the need to swatch 02 just in case) I can simultaneously contemplate if my decision is linked to Plato’s Cave. Because all philo kids know that apparently somehow for magical reasons that they don’t understand everything links to The Cave. Due to these traits this posts stems from a seed of curiosity, not the intention of criticising for how much/little makeup you wear.

With that said, I’ve noticed that all the ‘pro-makeup’ posts I’ve read- no disrespect to the authors (but I’ll probably accidentally disrespect you so sorry in advance)- come to the conclusion: ‘I wear makeup because I like it.’ And although we all mega preachy arms emoji to this statement, when you break down the argument, it seems pretty… weak. Honestly, I’m not trying to piss on the body posi bonfire here, many people (inc me) wear makeup because they like it- I mean would you really spend £15.50 on a MAC lipstick, if you didn’t?- I’m just struggling to see any other situation in which the extent of ‘liking’ something affects whether it’s a feminist decision.

For example, between reading Lena Dunham and advocating for Girls Not Brides, I may really like catcalling women in Aldi. There’s nothing that makes me feel more confident than sauntering over to the crisps aisle, spotting a spicy chick and shouting ‘Ooh nice tits darlin’ across the Cheesy Curls (Aldi babe, just admit they’re Quavers). Now obviously, I
don’t do that (at least out loud) but how come we deem ‘liking’ in this context as selfish and ignorant, yet when it comes to makeup ‘liking’ it is empowering? And if you think this situation differs from the first because it directly affects another person, then aren’t you ignoring the effect of makeup on, well, everyone?

I like makeup but it’s a ridiculously weird concept: the women will spend hundreds on sponging chemicals onto their faces while the men moan at them to hurry up in the bathroom because they need a wee. Why are we so quick to defend something that could actually be oppressing us? And this forces me to think, do I really wear makeup because I like it or do I justify wearing makeup by liking it? The reasons behind endorsing it seem a lot darker than my shade 03 Bourjois foundation.

For example: Why do I enjoy applying it? Because it makes me feel more confident. Why? Because I look better. Why do I want to look better? Because society told me I should be pretty in order to be successful and makeup is pretty. So why do I ‘like’ something that is used to change me, to mould me into something ‘better’, when men aren’t expected to wear it? Does that mean men are good enough without makeup and women aren’t? In fact men that wear makeup are mocked due to its feminine connotations, which indicates it makes us weaker. Caitlin Moran called this ‘patriarchal bullshit.’

Makeup seems to be assuming that women need to have their purpose added, as if it doesn’t come inherently from being a human being. When you put your makeup on you’re putting on a mask that hides all the ugly bits and depicts something else instead: red lipstick’s sexy, dark eyeliner’s antisocial, sparkles are outgoing. How come a man can express all of these without help from Estée Lauder, yet a woman can’t? I know women that’ve been disciplined at work for not wearing makeup, has that ever happened to a man?

Even when a cosmetic is taken out of context or reclaimed, like when the suffragettes wore red lipstick to get attention, it still had a purpose. It’s as if women’s right to vote wasn’t enough to drum up support and they needed the lipstick to embellish their existence. I hate that. And I also hate how, even though I have some cracking stories about my roll on body glitter and teal eyeliner pencil free with Mizz magazine, the option of makeup encourages teenage girls into insecurity. After all, why love yourself when you can just love the Rimmel-ed up version? It’s as if we have a get-out-of-ugly-free card that boys don’t.

I don’t think the answer is a simple as ‘liking’, just like the shaving debate is more than liking the smell of Veet. There is huge significance in the fact that women are expected to makeup themselves up and men aren’t and I feel like that is often ignored because people start using their emotions to justify the difference. The first step in discussing makeup has to be distancing yourself from the debate. Discussions about cosmetics aren’t synonymous with the contents of your personal Jack Wills makeup bag and people forget that you can do something you oppose (like when I listen to Kanye West). I don’t see why this conversation should be shut down just because everyone at the table has a full face of Bourjois AirMat shade 03 on.

I’m only here to start the conversation: I wear it, I like it, but probably only because that’s what I’ve been told to do. Thoughts?



15 thoughts on “Making Up My Mind

  1. laurenloveslyrics says:

    I only wear make up for when I go out so I suppose it’s a confidence booster. It shouldn’t be that way but I’m sure it is the case for many others.. I agree that if that’s what women want to wear all day every day, it is completely up to them! It is incredibly subjective when it comes to how much make up is appropriate, but again I think that comes down to personal preference! We unfortunately live in an age where society expects women to wear make up. The thing that most annoys me is that if men were to wear it, people would assume they are different.. I suppose it is inverting the expectation of the stereotypical gender role. Great post, loving your stuff 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess says:

      Exactly- it’s so unfair to expect women to wear makeup (espesh because it’s so pricey and the products seem endless like I just got my foundation down and now suddenly highlighter is a thing like whaaat I can’t cope) yet when men wear it it’s laughable? I knew a boy who painted his nails and he was asked if he was gay on a daily basis- I don’t get why there’s such a double standard? I’m seeing an increasing number of male beauty bloggers and I think that’s so encouraging and will definitely contribute to makeup being seen as a hobby opposed to an expectation x thanks b

      Liked by 1 person

      • laurenloveslyrics says:

        I know it is unbelievably expensive!! Haha yeah loads of new products come out and it’s so annoying- like do I get them? I know neither so do I, honestly there is nothing wrong with that!! Yeah that’s very true, it is very promising and it’s a good thing 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Izzy says:

    Omg yes the IG accounts were exactly what I had in mind when I was writing that, I literally cry every time. Totally agree, no one gives a flying fudge if u can’t make a pot out of clay but if u don’t apply the tarte Amazonian clay foundation all over ur face every day you get judged (see what I did there ay) and ikr, I lived by natural collection until I was like 15 and even now I still can’t justify Nars 😭 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Izzy says:


    I personally wear makeup because I love experimenting with it and for me, it’s a process I find enjoyable. It gives me some time to myself in the morning and distracts me from everything going on (I mean can you really think deep thoughts when concentrating on winged liner?). However, I do think it’s shocking and sad when I see younger girls wearing makeup “because they have to/should”. I embrace makeup as an art form and have seen so many talented makeup artists’ work that blows my mind, so I have zero problem with girls (and guys) using makeup as a hobby – but seeing it as a MUST is so sad.

    (I am definitely guilty of this but am slowly learning to love myself with and without makeup and realising that either way it’s most important to like your personality because looks change so easily and so quickly!! – Why do I sound like an 80 year old?)

    p.s happy 1 year anniversary b xoxox #BBF

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess says:

      HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BB! N yah pls sort your face out u need to.

      Jk jk. I agree makeup is so arty- especially those IG accounts that do like glittery eyeliner videos and make me faint with envy every time but I kind of wish it stopped there. I wish doing makeup was a bit like painting or pottery where you do it as a hobby because you enjoy it but then no one judges you if you don’t (unless you’re really judgy about people that can’t do pottery in which case soz to disappoint) and then some days you feel like doing it more than others, but ultimately no one cares. People care so much about other peoples faces these days. Makes me sad. Xx
      P.s. How do 11 year olds these days know what NARS is?? Literally found out about it 2 weeks ago and I’m 17.


  4. Georgia Charlotte says:

    I don’t wear make-up really. It’s more out of laziness than making a statement though. I have no problem with anyone wearing makeup but I do have a problem with the fact that it’s become just a thing we grow into as a next step in life kinda thing. As kids we didn’t give a damn about looking a certain way, but wearing makeup seems to be a thing that we “just do” now that we’re older. Why is it a social expectation for us girls from the age of around 11 now, but for boys it’s not? I have a real issue with that. Makeup is great, and I respect anyone who chooses to wear it. But whenever I have an irritating spot on my chin why do I think “oh ill use a bit of concealer on that” when guys just, don’t have to worry about it?! I really hope that one day it becomes not an expectation for women, and just a choice for people – of any gender.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess says:

      Exactly! The expectation is such a huge problem and once one girl in a classroom wears makeup all the others think they’re not going to become proper women if they don’t too. This probably incorporates so many other things like appealing to men and stirring competition between girls, which we’re not even aware of 😦
      You’re so right, it’s ridiculous that girls are judged for not wearing makeup and then boys are mocked for doing it- like why can’t we all just be nice to each other pls. Team makeup as a choice xx


  5. Seasweetie says:

    The only makeup I ever wear is eyeliner. It has ever been so. My mother wore lipstick and that was it. I wear eyeliner to work because it feels like a little bit if battle armour. I’m not quite showing all of my true self. Protecting myself a bit. I wear it on special occasions because I like how it makes my eyes look. Otherwise, I feel pretty without makep. I don’t have to spend ages getting ready. I don’t have to spend money on it. And my skin is better for not having done so for half a century. I’m a feminist. I support other women. Wear it if you want. But we’re all beautiful without it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess says:

      Thank you for reading! I love this attitude but then I also hate the fact that in the modern world not wearing makeup is a big deal. I saw a headline yesterday saying ALICIA KEYS REFUSES TO WEAR MAKEUP and the fact it was a headline almost proves how little choice women have in wearing it. It’s expected that you’ll wear makeup and news when you don’t. Crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. wavesofthoughts1 says:

    I see your point. There’s always double standards with makeup as well, as if you wear to much you’re trying to hard but if you don’t wear it, you’re not trying hard enough. The fact that society expects us to wear it, but there are standards in place for men to not wear seems wrong for both genders. Loved the post xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess says:

      Yess! I had so much to say I completely forgot that point. Even once you’re wearing makeup you have to consider how other people will judge you- it’s a massive double edged sword for women. Plus that tweet that’s going going like ‘take your girl swimming on the first date and then see if you still like her once you see her face’. Makes me laugh how people who aren’t expected to wear makeup spend such a long time to analysing how we do ours *sighs* xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Eleanor Hirst (@elleanorwears) says:

    I don’t think wearing makeup is necessarily a ‘feminist act’ at all. But I still like and love wearing makeup but I’m not sure why? I don’t think it affects anything to do with that. In regards, to silly business men demanding female staff to wear makeup and heels – Yes that’s definitely a feminist issue, because it’s more to do with restricting that woman’s rights.

    This probably didn’t make much sense so I’m sorry about that haha.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess says:

      Thank you for reading! I agree that makeup should always be worn out of choice and never because you feel you have to but I also think it’s hugely significant that women wear makeup when men don’t. Especially as all the women I know who have been disciplined for not wearing makeup were done so by female bosses? That really annoys me! X


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