Thursday, 19 April 2012

Why do women wear makeup?

I realised as soon as I typed the heading, that this is going to be a vast subject. The whys are as vast as an ocean and there are no easy ways to tackle this question. If we take out marketing hype of cosmetic companies that makeup promises a new and improved version of you, what we are left is our own ideas and beliefs about what makeup offers us.

Questions that I had recurring were , do we wear makeup for ourselves or for men or maybe, just maybe for other women?

In any given day, we apply at least 1 or 2 makeup items on ourselves to make us feel better about how we looked, to appear 'polished' and that we gave some consideration to our appearance. The idea is that we make a solemn effort to put our 'best face' forward.

I find from watching videos on Youtube, reading beauty blogs, magazines or the beauty section in the papers, more often than not it is women commenting on other women, writing about other women and worse yet critical ( negative ) about women. It does pain me to say that sometimes, it is women who are the driving force behind 'you should wear makeup' attitude. But why?

Men more often than not are quoted saying 'I like the natural look' or ' a little makeup is ok' or 'I prefer how she looks in the morning'. I do take these with a pinch of salt as some of these men are seen with women who are , for lack of a better term, appear 'caked'.

Let me preface by saying I love wearing makeup, by that I mean, I quite like wearing colours on my face, it is my own attempt at being a painter where my canvas is my skin ( face). I also do find that I wear elaborate makeup when I want to show off my 'skills' to other women, and not men.Elaborate makeup artistry washes of men, maybe because the reasons behind it escapes them. Some men appreciate makeup artistry, they are few and far between. Men are more likely to be critical of heavy and masking makeup because they will questioning what  exactly is underneath all that layers?

Makeup can be transformational, we have evidence for that all the time. I love watching the Pixiwoo's and Lisa Eldridge apply makeup to create looks and moods that forever cater to my fascination and expectation to be surprised by the effects of clever techniques for application.

I find though somehow, sometimes, I forget why I am trying to create that perfect nude or red lip because it is unlikely to be convenient for eating, drinking or kissing! It is going to wear off and what I have left is my own lip in its glory. I may not be happy with the shape of my own lip but makeup can only mask it for as long as it is on! when it is gone, it is gone!

Is makeup meant to be a tool for deception? With great powers comes great responsibility, and if we are good at it, are we empowered than other mere mortals who are not? Does that mean we are masters of deception?

What is a little makeup to some may be a lot for others. I told you that this is a minefield. But I would like to say that as women, we do have a certain biological imperative to be competitive and that the competition is with other women. We are driven by Oestrogen ( reproductive hormone) which lends us a certain 'cattinesss' and this is for the purpose of mating. Aside from our verbal capacity ( I smiled as I typed this), evolution has lent us the tool of 'makeup' to up our game.

Did men create makeup to improve the appearance of women and women alone? No, ancient Egyptian men wore makeup to protect their eyes and Tribal African men wore makeup as war paint and for mating. But in our society, women are the fore runners for makeup, and we do wear our make-up as 'war paint', not to fight physically but for the purpose of 'psychological warfare'. Our war is with other women to place ourselves at the best biological advantage for pro-creation. It is only after this, that makeup becomes a form of self expression.

The above are my observations and opinions, you may or may not share my views, but I do wonder what your thoughts are on this. If you happen to read this, please feel free to comment and share your opinions with me.

Much love

MS






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