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By: Danielle Collado

I often find myself faced with the internal battle of whether or not to wear makeup on a daily basis. For the most part, I take the time to apply my everyday look. Days when I’m tired or in too much of a rush to do my makeup I fear that I’ll be judged for not caring about what I look like. Why is it that if we go a day without looking the way people are used to seeing us, unwanted comments are almost inevitable?

“You look tired.”

“Are you sick?”

We’ve all been victims to the subtle shaming of a makeup-less face. But as often as women are shamed for not wearing makeup, we are also shamed when we become dependent on it.

TV ads featuring the best looking celebrities have always taught us that we need makeup to be as beautiful as them. For some reason, a woman is only powerful and desirable if she looks put together. The way she achieves this is through her perfect eyebrows and the right shade of lipstick. Studies have shown that women who wear a considerable amount of makeup are always taken more seriously than those who opt for a more natural look.

A New York Times article from 2011 entitled “Up the Career Ladder, Lipstick in Hand” states that makeup makes women appear more competent and amicable. According to the article, makeup can also increase people’s perceptions of a woman’s likability and trustworthiness. If makeup can enhance these valuable workplace traits, is whether or not we choose to wear it really our choice? In 2014, an article from the Huffington Post called “Makeup Is Not A Prerequisite For Success” challenged the notion that makeup is necessary for workplace professionalism. Sally McGraw argued that there are no laws stating that women must wear makeup in the work-place, and that there are other ways to look professional without makeup. Although these articles represent completely different opinions of makeup in the workplace, both contribute to the manipulation of what women should consider the “right” way of thinking.

Women are shamed regardless of whether or not they wear makeup. An example of this is the recent social media trend featuring a woman’s before and after makeup pictures with the caption “Girls, stop lying to us.” This form of shaming a woman for wearing makeup is particularly hurtful because it targets what she looks like without makeup, while simultaneously shaming her for altering her natural appearance. It is the perfect example of how society convinces us that we aren’t good enough regardless of what we do. Even celebrities are victimized as soon as they are spotted without makeup in public. “Demi Lovato leaves the gym looking like a mess” is considered a worthy piece of news in modern media, because breaking the illusion that celebrities always look like they are red-carpet ready is somehow frowned upon.

While society is busy looking for ways to tell women what they should and shouldn’t do with their appearance, they’re failing to remember one very important thing a woman has complete control over her decisions. Although makeup is something that has become normalized, opinions regarding how or when a woman should wear it are unwanted and unnecessary. Women do not need makeup to feel beautiful, but there’s no doubt that we will continue to wear it, and we shouldn’t be shamed for that choice.

Photo Credit: Dominique Godbout

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