Positively Personal

There’s sure a lot going on with the choice to wear makeup or not right now. A discussion started on facebook over this picture and whether anyone wears makeup for only themselves.

One person said that unless you carry a mirror around constantly, you’re wearing makeup for other people, otherwise you could just imagine yourself wearing it. In light of the BuzzFeed article I linked here yesterday, I had to share. I’m sure many of you late bloomers can relate, the makeup hasn’t been a necessity, but it is actually a lot of fun. As the woman in yesterday’s link explained, makeup wearers and non-makeup wearers have very similar reasons for whether they do or not: they’re afraid they won’t look as good the other way. If you aren’t used to seeing yourself with makeup, it can feel really “not you.” It can also be really exciting to see how different you can make yourself look with just a handful of tools.

But here’s the part that gets me a little sad. Since I’ve started this adventure, I’ve been grooming my eyebrows. Even when I’m not wearing makeup, I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way strangers treat me, just from that one little change. People are much more friendly toward me now. For example, there’s a waiter at a restaurant I frequent with my boyfriend who normally does the bare minimum for our table. He was our waiter recently, after I’d started fixing myself up, and this time he stopped to chat and tell us about off-menu substitutions that the staff enjoy. Maybe he was just having a good day; maybe he was trying harder for a tip. Still, I couldn’t ignore this combined with the other reactions I’d been getting. It’s nice to feel approachable, but it brings me back to the issue of “body positive” thought. As much as I wish it wasn’t a thing, we are all judged on appearance and it does affect the way we are treated. (Check out this video about your mind’s superpower of ascribing personality instantly based on facial features). We tell people to love how they are, and not change for other people, and that’s great. It’s also not great, because it puts up a roadblock on a highway of self expression. You’ll then face people who tell you that you don’t love yourself if you’re putting on makeup, because clearly the only way to prove that you’re comfortable with yourself is to walk around like you’re about to get in the shower (I was going to say “just got out of the shower” but hell, who are you getting all cleaned up for?) With or without, someone is going to have something to say about the sort of statement you’re making. And if you prefer the way you are treated with or without, you should go with what makes you, personally, happy. It sucks that you might have to spend more time getting ready to leave the house just to get the sort of interaction that you want, but that’s not something that society overall is likely to change in your blossoming years. If it makes you angry to do it, and that feeling trumps the benefit of feeling approachable, it isn’t helping and you’re not enjoying yourself. You have permission to stop, but the only permission you need is your own.

A friend shared this last week, and I feel like it’s totally relevant today.

Also, I really feel like I should mention the Renee Zellweger drama. When she was all made up, people used to give her so much crap about her look, saying she always looked like she’d just sucked a lemon. Now everyone is aghast at this “tired old woman” claiming to be the Bridget Jones they know and love.

The point of all this:
-Yes, you will be treated differently if you wear makeup.
-Yes, you will be treated differently if you stop wearing makeup.
-Yes, snap judgement based on appearance is hardwired into our brains.
-Yes, you can be happy with your appearance and still enjoy getting dolled up.
-Yes, someone will always have something to say when you do something different. Someone always has something to say. Period.
-Yes, if you enjoy it, have fun with it and screw what everyone else thinks.

Late Bloomers, don’t feel bad because you’re just now starting to have fun with makeup.  It’s a fun thing.  It doesn’t have to mean anything beyond that.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re only doing it for other people.  You’ve made it this far in life feeling like you were enough without it.  That’s pretty positive, don’t you think?

I didn’t want to like this song, but it’s been stuck in my head this week, and it sums up my feelings here nicely.


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