Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Decision to Stop Wearing Makeup

A few days ago I was getting ready for work and putting on my makeup. In the mirror, behind me, I saw a very sweet and curious Bee watching me intently. My heart dropped. I wondered how I would answer her if she was old enough to ask me what I was doing, and how I'd explain the societal and cultural pressures of living up to an impossible standard of beauty. 

As a woman, she is going to have this lived experience, even if I never explained it to her. She is going to get the message that she isn't enough, that she has to conform to someone else's idea of how she should look, what she should weigh, how her clothes should fit, how her body should be groomed. At times, it seems like an insurmountable goal to raise a strong and confident woman who loves herself, the way I love her. Who sees herself the way I see her. And I can't control that. I can't control that the odds are stacked up against her, or the messages she's going to be exposed to, or the culture that she's growing up in. She is going to be a woman, and she is going to have this lived experience. 

Consequently, I made the decision to stop, in that moment, and go to work for the first time in my life without wearing makeup, and I haven't put it on since. It seems almost silly that it's a radical notion worth writing about to just look the way that I look, without covering it up and without hiding it. But it is. That's because women aren't represented in our culture without makeup. In the media, in the work force, in our communities, in our schools, and I can't control that. What's more is that we, in general, aren't used to seeing women without makeup. So much so that it's worth a tabloid story, that people question if a woman who looks perfectly normal is well, that it's worth a discussion at all. 

No matter how hopeless, and how far out of my control these facts are, there is something I can control. I can control the messages that she receives from her mother. It's a gift that I can give to her, to face the world with a face that I was made to feel ashamed of until now. The gift of knowing that women are beautiful, even if we don't conform to someone else's idea of what beauty means. The gift of self assurance and self confidence. The ability to love, first and foremost, herself. The way that she is meant to be. The way that I love her. 


  1. Are you going to stop wearing clothes that you think look nice and focus only on comfort as well?

    The simple fact of the matter is that looking attractive has benefits and that most women rapidly start to fall apart during their late 20s and look hideous without makeup.

    This reminded me of a large popular set of pictures I saw of certain kinds of actresses *ahem* without makeup. It was really shocking to see that under 5% of them looked acceptable without makeup. Many looked like transvestites without it.

    It also reminds me of an image macro I saw. I will paraphrase what it said:

    "When men are presented with an ideal like James Bond they look up to him, they try to improve themselves and be like him.

    When women are presented with an ideal they will blog about how that isn't really an ideal at all and whoever presented it is sexist."

    Feminism is a diseased mentality. I urge you to visit the men's rights section of reddit and see the truth.

  2. I only wear make up for special ocassions. So good for you! Make up is not good for ur skin

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  4. Thank you for writing this post! I go without makeup in my free time but still wear it to work, which is in a corporate environment. I've been on the fence about letting go of it completely for fear it will be seen as unprofessional. I prefer women without makeup and think we're beautiful in our natural state, but I realize that isn't the mainstream perspective. I've also been incorporating a lot of detox practices in to my life, including getting rid of chemical-laden personal care products and would like to let go of makeup for that reason as well. Your post has moved me closer to letting go of it completely.