Make-Up: Face or Façade

Both sides viewed together are a bit strange, but cover each side individually and it’s pretty damn cool.

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.

I work with what I have and embrace my beauty; natural or “enhanced”

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.

Using my make-up to match my outfits! Too much fun.
Here I am in my hat. It just doesn’t have the same “oomph” without make-up. I use the eyeliner to add a touch of flair.

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!

My “geisha” inspired look.

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 see myself in these photos and they’re both completely me. Make-up just helps complete my style.

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.

It takes me about 15-20 minutes to do my make-up (sometimes I get interrupted by children). It’s not a big deal and I feel like it’s worth it.

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!

I used to hate my light eyebrows, but I’ve come to embrace them. They enable me to pick whatever color I want them to be.

With all of  life’s conundrums, should make-up really be an issue? Nah.

Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted. Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always. Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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  1. Love the GIFs. They kinda remind me of “What About Me?” by Belinda Metz (Warning: Very 80s, very Canadian music video). There is, in the midst of all the jump-cuts, a sequence of Metz applying makeup in reverse. (1:38-2:04)

  2. Your hair and makeup are awesome! The gifs are so fun. I love the way you can change your face with makeup, you can make yourself look so different. That’s what I use it for, to play around with how I look. I’ve gone through phases of wearing makeup all the time or wearing none, it depends on my mood. You do a great job with such fabulous colours. I’m trying to learn how to do more makeup art, I used to be pretty goth so all black was easy, now I want to do more interesting stuff. A lady I follow online makes gorgeous bright pigment makeup and she posts tutorials all the time, I am amazed by how much fun you can have. In the goth scene there’s more guys willing to wear eyeliner and maybe lipstick, but that;s all. They are missing out on the fun.

  3. Aw, thank you, Madfishmonger! It is truly fun and I do absolutely enjoy it. It’s something I’ve been doing for so long now, it’s pretty much second nature. It is amazing how even a little make-up can change your appearance. Yes, experiment and have fun. Sephora.com sells wonderful color palettes, and might I suggest Too Faced Shadow Insurance to really bring out the color and keep it on your lids where it belongs. This stuff works miracles.

    And I agree, guys are missing out, but why? What reason could there possibly be for men to feel embarrassed to wear make-up besides societal pressure? Even a little concealer over a pimple would be seen as “too feminine”. You know there are men that would want to try but are too embarrassed.

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