This week’s photography was inspired by an article posted over at our sister site, Skepchick, titled,”The Great Face-Paint Debate“, about the debate over wearing make-up. It was written by Heina and posted on January 15. If you haven’t read it, please do because it’s a great read and also you can get a bit of reference for what I’m going to talk about.
Heina’s post helped me understand how even with the idea of something that I originally thought of as simple, like wearing make-up, can end up being a burden for others who may feel pressure to fit into certain societal molds. After reading her post, you realize that this whole issue is not necessarily just about make-up; it speaks of our society and culture in general. People (both male and female) feel obligated to have certain clothes, hair, shoes, houses, cars…I could go on, but we’ll stick to make-up.
Thanks for your post, Heina. You are my inspiration!
I thought I’d do a series of photos about my life with make-up versus my life without make-up. Now this is pretty unusual for me; I don’t usually go out in public without make-up. It’s just not what I do, but I did it just for you. For a whole week I took one photo of myself without make-up and one with. Capturing the same position/pose for each photo was tricky. I put the results into .gif’s, which degraded the quality of the images a bit, but I preferred it to a side-by-side comparison.
For those that personally disregard make-up, let me explain my experience. I can pinpoint the exact moment when and why I embraced make-up: in 5th grade when I started breaking out with acne. The acne lasted until the age of 31 (I am now 32), when I began a difficult 6 months of Accutane. For those of you that are unaware of Accutane, it’s a last-resort medication for the treatment of acne. It comes with serious side-effects, and since you can’t get pregnant (it is absolutely forbidden) or breastfeed while on it, I put off taking it until after I had children. In the meantime, make-up was a lifesaver and helped me get through those 18 acne-filled years of my life.
I used make-up to not only cover up the acne, but I started experimenting. Eventually, I was using it to create “art”. Every morning I have a blank canvas (my face) and I can design my look according to my mood. This isn’t hiding who I am; this is expressing who I am. Just like my hair and clothes, my make-up lets me showcase my art/style wherever I go!
We can go back in history and see evidence of make-up worn by Neanderthals. Three years ago, archaeologists discovered that Neanderthals adorned themselves with jewelry and “pigments”. So we weren’t the first and only ones to have the bright idea. Like in a previous post I wrote, “make-up” has roots that can be traced back to evolution. In the same way that marriage was a human extension of survival of the species, make-up became the human extension of biological ornaments. When mating, certain attributes are looked at by possible mating partners. Many animals use their biological ornaments to attract potential mates. The irony, in most of nature’s ornamental situations, it’s the male doing all the ornamenting.
Maybe men should be upset that they’re losing out on all the fun. Wearing make-up is a taboo which only the bravest of men dare to break (Billie Joe Armstrong, Adam Lambert, Dave Navarro, and David Bowie, for example) and they look great doing it. Not that long ago women weren’t supposed to wear pants, but today we don’t give it a second thought. Men who may want to wear make-up, something as simple as smoothing out their complexion or as daring as wearing eyeliner, don’t usually do it. Most would consider the idea to be absurd, for no other reason than that it’s not “normal”. I say go for it, guys!
It seems like the majority of the people who commented on Heina’s article mentioned they may have felt pressure to conform a certain way, whether it was in regards to make-up or something else in life, but they still usually end up doing what personally feels right for them. This gives me hope. Let’s stop attacking those who don’t do exactly like we do or don’t look exactly like we look (these types of prejudices have never brought us anything good). Let’s embrace our differences and be comfortable with who we are.
I feel like the only way we can overcome societal pressure is to educate each other and share our experiences with as many people as possible.
I’m comfortable with myself inside and out. I only want people to feel free to express themselves, be it with or without make-up!
With all of life’s conundrums, should make-up really be an issue? Nah.