Glasses, make up, and the “prettier” me


I don’t know why I’ve been wearing glasses for the last six months or so instead of contacts because I so much prefer contacts. Without frames in front of my face, I see soooo much better (contacts = a way to pretend you have perfect vision!) and I feel so much more confident and just better about myself. Like I can actually look people in the eye.

And, when I wear glasses I never wear make up.

The thing about make up is, I don’t really like it. Heck, I don’t even know much about it. My one cosmetic essential is my chap stick (which I admit I am obsessed with) but beyond that, I go for months and months and months without applying more than lotion to my face.

But last night I went to a friend’s wedding and this required putting extra effort into what I looked like which basically meant wearing my contacts, dusting off my eyeshadow box and trying to find eyeliner that hadn’t dried up. As I was applying liquids and powders and shimmers to my face I felt…almost..like…less of a woman. Because I couldn’t do my face up for a party.

Wtf.

This got me thinking – make up is a terrible concept. It tells us women that we’re not pretty enough the way we look. That we need to apply products and all sorts of shit in different forms to look “better”.That it’s not acceptable for us to attend functions without putting on a finely painted mask.

What I HATE is how it’s addictive. Because when I finally figured out how to put eyeliner on without looking like I was applying for a job as a lady of the night, I did look better. There are ways to use colors and strokes and shading to enhance features (which I am still learning to do) and looking into the mirror, I surprised myself with how different I could (and did) look.  And in this case different=prettier=better so of course, I’d like to repeat that.

I went for months without having to feel like my face needed “enhancement”, but one night of getting dolled up and I found myself making excuse to do it again this morning. It’s for my first day at my new job, I told myself. I didn’t wear as much make up I justified, and I made myself think I needed it to make a better impression. And it’s exactly at this point in my thought process where I am disgusted by myself.

The mere fact that I would want to line my eyes and color my lips simply because I’m going to a new place is a disgrace. I don’t think men bother with  such things but for us women, why does it feel necessary to look like someone/something I’m not in order to show the “best” of me?

At times like this, I realize that though I’d like to think these things don’t affect me, I’m just another woman susceptible to the fictitious constructs of what an ideal woman should be. I resent that. I detest the mere idea that in order to try to be this “perfect” woman I have to alter my appearance. To be honest, I’m quite comfortable with the way I look. I don’t think I’m super attractive and I don’t think I’m unattractive, I’m a happy medium and (most days) I don’t want to change any of my features.

So my conclusion is that the devil resides in the tubes and cases on top of my dresser because it’s so easy, it’s so so so so easy, for the commercials and for the media to get into my head to tell me that what I am just isn’t good enough.

And then I remember why I don’t wear make up every day: I knew a girl in high school (yes, HIGH SCHOOL) who spent hours in front of the mirror layering colors and applying and drying and wiping and the one time I saw her in her pure natural form – I didn’t recognize her. I’d gotten so used to her done up face that I didn’t even know what the ‘real’ her looked like.

And that, is a scary scary scary thing.

 

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7 comments
  1. there’s a similar reason i don’t like doing myself up everyday. if you stick to the basics (lotion. days old kajal … even chapstick is a lot of work for me) you’ll fine the rare occasion you put on your mascara you look SOO GOOOD. now if you do that everyday, you got to up your makeup kardashian level for ppl to react the same way.

    calvin & hobbes taught me that. keep expectations so low that even below average is a shocker ; )

    • I LOVE CALVIN AND HOBBES!! Also, kajal is going all out for me and I only save it for special special occasions (mostly because if i wear it just don’t go away easy and then I end up wearing make up for days but it’s easier to add on than to do a thorough removal)

  2. Macaroni said:

    We really need to talk more and I really need to read your blog more often!!

    Excellent thoughts…I was reading something about femininity where the author believed that women being encouraged to wear make-up propagates the idea of women being fragile…in need of a ‘touch-up’ every few hours.

    I have often felt like I am not “a woman” if I don’t
    – stick my chest out (people feed you the line about it being “good posture” but one can have good posture without sticking one’s chest out and what why is good posture equivalent to “mature woman” anyways?)
    – wear (and know how to wear) a fair bit of make up
    – cross my legs when i’m seated
    – flip my hair
    – wear heels

    and a whole bunch of other external and quite superficial stuff. It is as if we are all supposed to turn into one mold of a woman in order to be considered so. I find it classist and racist because this ‘mold’ of a woman tends to only exist within richer societies and tends to favour one cultures conception of a woman over another…I think…at least, that’s my experience so far.

    Sigh.

    • wow. well put. and i totally agree. I kinda understand why people opt to be hairy feminists. hahah. next step – no make up and NO RAZORS!! ALL NATURAL!!

  3. Hope said:

    I’m still not much of a makeup wearer either, S! But I do believe if there is something out there that makes you feel more confident in your own skin, take it and wear it 🙂 Just like a favorite jacket or pair of jeans that can make us feel more “put-together,” a little extra eyeshadow can feel like putting on your big girl panties before a big day. Clothes, shoes, makeup… all just things to help us and our amazing assets shine and sparkle, at least when we FEEL like being iridescent, that is! If you’re wearing it for you and not anyone else, then it’s allllll goooood. PS- I miss you!

    • excellent point. I meant to include how a lot of times when I put on an outfit and “look nice” I do it for me because there isn’t anyone to impress and I do it just because it makes me feel good, but in my rant I forgot to include it. hahah. I miss you too lady!

  4. Padmini said:

    I used to feel very ugly. I wore make-up every day to high school. I spent the better part of 30 minutes each morning focusing on each pore, each detail, each tiny imperfection. Then I graduated and moved to a place where nobody knew me save my cousin. And all of a sudden, I realized that I absolutely HATED wearing make up. I used to have terrible acne. When I lived on my own, started eating vegetarian, stopped wearing make-up, and quit using commercial soaps, my acne cleared up and suddenly I was being complimented on beauty!
    Now, I get told my face is aglow and I feel foreign to myself when I do wear make up. I do feel pretty in a different way, but I don’t recognize myself. I am one for chapstick at the most. I don’t even bother with lotion.

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