Beauty & Feminism – The Big Debate

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well.

A big British newspaper posted an article from a journalist the other day, who told us that if we dare to call ourselves feminists, we should be binning our makeup bag. She argued that pointless hours of our lives are spent applying makeup, that it contains toxic chemicals, that more women in Brazil are Avon representatives than in the armed forces (I would say this could be due to opportunity and oppression, but she failed to focus on this, shock), and that as females, we are told we aren’t good enough as we are.

I am a feminist. I started getting my mum to apply sparkly silver eyeshadow for me when I went to parties when I was 6. Since the age of 12/13, I’ve pretty much worn a full face, albeit since that age, it wasn’t a very good one. Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, you da real MVP hun.

I’ve never felt like I need to wear makeup; in actual fact, every boyfriend I’ve ever had has told me they prefer me without makeup. I have no idea why, as I feel I resemble a ferret that died during the Cold War when I wake up, but that’s what they say. I wear makeup for me, and no one else. I like how I look with makeup. It’s fun and artistic, and self expressive. It also has absolutely no relevance to my stance on feminism if I decide to wear foundation.

Feeling the need to make such irrelevant statements undermines what feminism is about; it’s about being equal. If we want to be equal to men, such ridiculous things should not be asked of us. Are men told to give up shaving to prove themselves to their fellow males, or to stop putting gel in their hair to show their dedication to their gender? No. No they’re not.

I’ve never had the slightest bit of interest in being ‘natural’; I’ve fake tanned religiously for over a decade, dyed and bleached my hair for as long as I can remember, wear a full face of makeup most days, and over the last 4/5 years have had what I lovingly refer to as ‘assistance’ in getting my face how I want it to. Every single thing I do, and have done, is for myself and myself only. No one’s ever lured me into the trap of basting myself with St Tropez or filling my lips with Juvaderm, least of all a man; it was me that wanted those things, it’s me that funds those things, and actually, it’s feminism that has allowed me to be able to make the money to have those things in the first place, and for all the other women in the world who can fund their own lifestyles.

I can wholeheartedly assure the author of the article in question, who I won’t name, that society and men are not responsible for what I put on my face everyday. It’s me that’s responsible; it’s me that enjoys the process of applying makeup, who loves shopping for a new palette or red lipstick. To assume otherwise is to suggest I live my life through the validation of men, which is incorrect. Trust me by my relationship history; I don’t give a shit what men think.

It’s a quite frankly outdated spiel, to demand women to sack off their lipstick and throw away their blusher, because you’re conforming to a society that tells you to look perfect all the time.

Yes, I would agree that the beauty industry as a whole can play on women’s insecurities to remain profitable, but is that not what every industry does? Every single industry and company within those industries will try and find something they want their customers to think they need; whether that’s food, fashion, beauty, homeware, lawnmowers, you name it, that’s what happens. Do you think in a TV advert trying to flog an expensive new hedge strimmer they’re going to show you anything but a perfect garden with a perfect couple laughing joyously in the sun as they tame their already idyllic looking bushes? Of course they’re not. They want you to think that perfect existence is what you could achieve by buying their product.

Every industry has a motive to make money; a lot of companies genuinely do want the best for their customers, but they do also want to make money, so will showcase their products doing the best they possibly can. The beauty industry is the same.

It’s insulting to assume that women aren’t intelligent enough to make their own decisions about what they put on their faces; even more so, to tell them they cannot possibly care about feminism if they do.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s offensive to even dedicate an online article to such a non-issue. Female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, rape, domestic abuse, workplaces that have astonishingly bad pay gaps and maternity rights, women around the globe who are killed for wanting an education…those are the real issues on our hands. Not whether someone buys a fucking Naked eyeshadow palette.

If you live in a world where you think that the biggest issues we are dealing with as women is wearing eyeliner, then I envy you, as you’re clearly not living in the same world most of us are.

It’s time to look at the bigger picture, and that bigger picture includes the outdated opinion that you can’t wear a face full of slap and be a feminist.

Speak soon.

All my love BGP xx

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