04 September, 2014 A Thought On Beauty and Personal Choice
Yesterday my friend Lily showed me an article discussing how Lydia Bright (in partnership with St. Ives) has launched a campaign through the Daily Mail to urge the women of Britain to ‘strip back’ their makeup, and opt for a more natural look, which would make them seem more appealing to men.
This campaign bothers me enormously. I believe beauty, like fashion, follows trends and styles, but is ultimately about expressing your own sense of identity. I enjoy wearing a smoky eye and a nude lip as my go-to makeup look, whilst someone else could enjoy green lipstick and maroon eyeshadow. The point is that beauty is about personal preference and creativity, and not about what looks more appealing to men, as suggested in this article.
The Daily Mail article states that women, in order to attract men, should apply strategically placed ‘natural’ makeup that hides imperfections and creates the illusion of a smooth, poreless, airbrushed face. I’m all for a youthful complexion, and it has long been a favoured beauty trend, but until now I haven’t seen it so obviously targeted towards male approval. I would be surprised to read an article in a men’s magazine explaining the ways in which men should apply cologne and shave their stubble to best satisfy female requirements. Instead of being used as a tool to conform to male standards of socially accepted beauty, makeup should encourage your own confidence and self-belief, as recently demonstrated through Charlotte Tilbury’s social media campaign calling for women and men to send in pictures showing how makeup has helped them ‘arm’ themselves against life’s hurdles, and create a more positive physical and emotional identity (view the campaign here).
This quote is probably what has riled me up the most: ‘I think men like a girl who takes good care of herself and visits the salon weekly to get her nails done and has her hair done monthly. It’s important to take pride in your appearance but men don’t want a girl who masks herself in make-up, they want to take her home and not have their parents judging her.’ I genuinely don’t give a monkeys if Lydia Bright thinks having your hair and nails done is important to ‘take good care of yourself’. Eating healthily and brushing your teeth twice a day is necessary maintenance – the rest is a personal choice. I have my nails done because treating myself once in a while is a way I like to unwind and relax, but I would also feel content as a person if I didn’t have the luxury of frequent trips to the nail salon.
The bottom line is that makeup, and beauty in general, should be empowering and unrestrictive. Makeup makes me feel stronger and more confident, it accentuates the features I like and downplays the ones I don’t. I don’t hide behind makeup, I use it to change the way I feel about myself for the better. If you want to see more examples of how makeup can be empowering for women, check out these Youtube videos created by the brand Vichy for their Dermablend foundation – a product created for sufferers of vitiligo, rosacea, and other skin conditions (view Cheri’s story here and Cassandra’s story here).
You can read the article on the St. Ives campaign on the Daily Mail website here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you wear makeup and what you think of the Daily Mail article!