As I was walking through Macy’s today, looking at striking photographs of beautiful women whose faces had been utterly transformed with cosmetics, I was suddenly plagued by the question of makeup.
When I was a bit younger, I was under the impression that makeup was some terrible creation of modern society, a grotesque manifestation of vanity, a way for woman to distort their features to bear semblance to frightening clowns. Indeed, I believed makeup to be a profoundly negative thing.
I used to think that women would become overtly dependent on makeup to the point at which they couldn’t stand their own reflection without it. That they would be constantly standing before the mirror, obsessively perfecting their eyes, noses, mouths, and faces with the use of small brushes. I was certain that the moment I would try on lipstick, makeup would become an sickly addiction for me. And that I could never go back to life without it. Like most of my other childish opinions, my take on makeup was tempered with excessive emotion, drama, and paranoia.
Now, upon greater reflection of the subject and its significance to its users, I take a more ambivalent stance. I have learned that most women view makeup as an instrument for enhancing their features. As a tool of improving the self-worth, self-efficacy, and confidence, makeup can be a tremendously powerful tool indeed.
While one could make the argument that a naturally attractive person would not require cosmetics to enhance her appearance, the subtle use of makeup could veritably increase her self-confidence. Thus, making it beneficial to this particular individual. Therefore, those of us who choose not to use makeup must not point a waggling and judgmental finger at those who do. Like with all other practices we do not engage in, we must treat it with tolerance, understanding, and respect.
As for me, I do not wear makeup on a daily basis because of highly moralistic reasons, but more because of practical reasons. “Practical reasons?” you may say with an eyebrow raised. And to this I say, yes! I have practical reasons!
For one thing, makeup seems to consume copious amounts of time and painstaking effort for inexperienced individuals like myself. While I am aware that the time required for this ritual would dramatically decrease with practice, I am unwilling to make the effort of beginning this arduous process.
Additionally, when one goes to purchase cosmetics, she is inundated with thousands of possible products. And while a simple, well-informed commercial may quell her anxiety, there are thousands of those as well! Unsure of where to begin, the confused individual settles for lipstick, but to her utmost horror she sees that there are literally hundreds of varieties at her disposal! Seized with indecision, the prospective buyer runs to the nearest candy store for refuge, where every selection is sure to be sweet.
At this point, I think I need to makeup my mind.