Whether or not women choose to wear make-up has recently become a subject of great contention: from those supporting women not needing to wear make-up, to those declaring that it is not a need, it’s something they actively want to do.
Either way, I guess that for myself wearing make-up is both – a want and a necessity. I love the feeling I get when I can try out different looks. As a creative person, I almost see my face as a blank canvas on which I can paint something I feel proud of. With each stroke of eyeliner or smoothing of foundation come the ounces of confidence.
Unfortunately, it is an incredibly sad fact that only a handful of people have seen me without make-up.
Even writing this I was contemplating a before and after photo of myself, but internally cringed as I thought how I can barely let my boyfriend see my bare face, let alone the entirety of the internet.
Does it come down to lack of confidence, or courage or the media dictating what I should and shouldn’t look like? Probably.
Amy Schumer’s fantastic mock-music video ‘Girl, you don’t need make-up’, designed to raise awareness of the pressures all women face, sums up nicely how some men insist that ‘the natural look’ is the best, without actually knowing what a real bare-faced average woman looks like.
Truth is, if you don’t have amazingly large and bright eyes, or flawless skin or prominent cheek bones, it can be tough to feel beautiful without the eyeliner to make eyes bigger, bronzer to enhance features or concealer to hide blemishes – in society’s eyes anyway.
It’s not helped by the fact that I know beautiful girls who are funny, clever and interesting (as well as utterly gorgeous), who have been – and I tell no lie – broken up with after taking off their makeup in front of their partner. Yes, their boyfriend was an absolute knob-head, but nonetheless, hearing these stories doesn’t exactly lift confidence, particularly in those early stages of a relationship.
I’ve been wearing makeup in various degrees since the age of 13, and haven’t left the house without it on since about then too. You may call me ridiculous, or insecure or pathetic that I feel the need to bow to society’s expectations, but in reality – that face the world sees, that’s the face that I feel like is my normal, and that my blank canvas is like an incomplete version.
Acceptance is a huge part of it, and until I know that someone has accepted me for me and won’t judge me for it, I will continue to find it difficult to show people my blank canvas. For those of you who have seen me without makeup, take it as a compliment that I trust you implicitly.
I guess my aim in writing this is to show anyone who feels the same that you are not alone. For those caught amidst knowing whether you should or shouldn’t wear makeup, I say do whatever makes you happy: if wearing your ‘face’ everyday, as I do, gives you confidence and brings you happiness, then why shouldn’t you allow yourself that basic right?