I stopped wearing makeup four years ago.
It was a decision I made with a group of friends that pushed me to question my conditioning and to ask the societal voices why they needed me to look a certain way.
I slowly traded the mascara for free flowing eyelashes that moved with each blink of amazement at the world. I threw out my lipstick and instead my lips were stained with cherry and raspberry colors depending on the fruits that I ate.
I tossed out the concealer as I showed my imperfections to the world. The scars and stains told stories of treks through nature. I had the blemishes that proved my five nights of camping with a shower.
And I felt as though my spirit was no longer concealed.
I began looking at people around me who wore makeup and pitying them. I would say things like, you’re so beautiful without it or you really don’t need it. In my mind, I was empowering these women to fight a system that instilled a need to change their appearance physically. Yet, over the years, I began to realize that my pity was a judgment and my decision created separations between my sisters who were makeup free and those who smeared on makeup daily.
I had started makeup shaming women. I put my enlightened, makeup free self, above anyone who slaved over a mirror, painting on an alternate reality.
Recently, I’ve played with various social experiments such as wearing masks in public, trying out ridiculous outfits and flaunting makeup. I’ve noticed that within my friend group, some people make remarks when I wear makeup such as, you looked better without it or it’s too much. But I never asked their opinion. Indeed the fight for my body, my choice should include the choice to wear revealing outfits in all seasons, express sexual freedom in any form and, most taboo of all, wear any amount of makeup no matter the reason.
I understand that there are patriarchal implications in the conception of makeup and that the sales tactics target intensifying the vast insecurities women are socialized to develop. But we need to stop shaming women who choose to defy our constructed social constructs. They are adults and they are making a choice. They don’t need our saving or judgment but rather our support and kindness.
One of the biggest reasons the patriarchy still exists and thrives is because women passively perpetuate it. We do not have time to waste our energy hating our sisters or choosing how they act. Jealousy, gossip and hurtful words are poison to the changes feminism aims to instill within the world.
Separation is perpetuation and shaming of any decision women make doesn’t help the progress of our society.
Author: Cheyane Reisner
Apprentice Editor: Lois Person/Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Live and Let Die