Makeup: identity, choice and pressure to conform

Image: FabrikaCr iStock

Until very recently, I hadn’t worn makeup since I graduated Year 12. That was in 2008 — fourteen years ago.

I tried getting into makeup. However, I never really established why. Why the sudden change? I thought I wanted to wear makeup for work (hopefully) next year.

Frankly, I don’t have a connection to makeup. Sure, I like the way foundation looks (minus the reaction). Eyeshadow is pretty. But other than that… I honestly don’t care about makeup.

Makeup and self – care

As you can probably tell, I’m not a huge fan of wearing makeup. No shade to anyone who wears it. I can see the benefits for those who choose to wear it: confidence, etc.

Australian hockey player, Davis Atkins was unexpectedly outed as gay. He told ABC Everyday how he uses makeup self care in the aftermath:

When I did [make beauty content], I realised how doing makeup provides such a good opportunity for me to relax and spend time for myself doing something I find soothing

Davis Atkins as told to Benjamin Wilson, ABC Everyday, 25 November 2022

Atkins claimed that makeup also became his way to express his identity.

Makeup and sexuality

People wear makeup for various reasons. Some women follow their mother’s footsteps by wearing makeup.

Apparently, there are scientific reasons why women wear makeup. These are: “camouflage” and “seduction”.

Darkness around the eyes and the lips are often seen as attractive. The author bluntly pointe$ iut that attractive people are often more successful: in friendships, attracting a partner and even getting a job.

I’ve also read that some straight women subconciously dress in ways to attract men at the fertile times in their cycle.

The Science of People does specify that this study focused on straight and cis men and women.

I’ve wondered whether my lack of interest in makeup correlates with my lack of attraction. However, asexual people have different relationships with makeup; some wear it, some don’t.

The pressure on women (and everyone) needs to stop

Beautiful woman with makeup posed with head tilted up.
Image: CoffeeAndMilk iStock

I don’t have an issue with makeup or people who wear it. I do have a problem with beauty standards cis women are held to.

I also have a problem with attractiveness is apparently a factor in candidates being successful in getting a job. Why does it matter? It just maintains the status quo. It just keeps certain groups of people disadvantaged.

Also, as anyone who’s grown up in the 2000’s know, beauty standards that media and social media push are unrealistic for most people. If ‘attractiveness’ — the way the media and social media define it — we have a problem.

Look, if you want to wear makeup, go for it. If that’s what makes you feel good, go you. You do you. The choice to wear or not shouldn’t mean discrimination or disadvantage.

What do you think? Do you wear makeup? Is there too much pressure for people to be unrealistically attractive in workplaces? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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By Sara Harnetty

I'm a student. Interested in current events, music and various issues.

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