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.


Possible word for 2017

Mamamia publisher, Mia Freedman came up with an idea last year. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, Freedan came up with having a word for a year. The word is a theme that you want to live by to make your life and the lives of those around you better. Sounds great. For the last couple of days, I ummed and ahhed, thinking of a word to come up with. The one that immediately came to mind was ‘writing’ – keeping up with this blog and the Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing. I thought of ‘discipline’ in both professional and personal life in all areas. Then, an unexpected word came up to me on the weekend.


Acceptance of myself and life in general. Acceptance that life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, (far from it). I’m a work in progress and always will be. See, over the years, I’ ve always expected things to go a certain way. I always had visions of where I should be. New Year’s Eve was a day when I expected almost everything to change  – and change immediately at the stroke of midnight.


I always had expectations in my professional life that were so rigid that when I couldn’t finish the Diploma because I couldn’t find a place to do Work Placement, it left lost. My plan was so rigid and straight forward – finish the Diploma of Community Services at 24, do a Bachelor of Human Services/ Masters in Social Work, having them done at 27, (which meant I would have finished itvlast year have finished it last year), then work, and live a life and be a person I thought I should be. When that didn’t go ahead, to say I felt lost is an understatement. I felt worthless, a failure. My self -esteem was like the Tooth Fairy – it was non – existent. For a year or so afterwards, even when I started Diploma in Early Childhood Education  and Care, I still felt like I’d failed. I was more desperate. I often found myself in tears for no apparent reason. It wasn’t until the third day of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) in 2015, that things started looking up and I had a sense that I was OK. It was OK that life didn’t fit a rigid schedule. I was OK with who I was. Fast forward almost two years, while I haven’t gone down such a dark path since the end of RYLA, I have worried about where I’d be in my life, especially as I approach 30, (in just over two years, which is pretty close to me).


This word – – acceptance- a word that hit me out of the blue – should I accept it? I should probably try relaxing a bit. Just a tad. Sure, I’ll continue to work hard and work on what needs to be worked on, but maybe with a little bit of grace and not to expect perfection, because… well, it ain’t gonna happen in this life is it? I feel weird, even as I admit that. This word thing might be worth a try.

Have you given up on New Year’s resolutions and adopted a word to live by in 2017? If so, what is it?