Those Links On Makeup You Didn’t Ask For

1. Your Lack Of Mascara Is A Sign Of Your Utter Incompetence, from Jezebel, of course. People think you’re more trustworthy if you’re wearing makeup. As long as you’re also a woman.

2. How Much Time Do You Spend On Grooming? from The Beheld. Written in response to an article which points out that the amount of time women spend on grooming negatively correlates with earnings. (Linked within.)

3. Her Looks, Your Status: Why Men’s Claims Not to Care About Beauty Ring Hollow, from The Good Men Project. Women are told sometimes nowadays — or proclaim — that we wear make up for ourselves, and that men don’t really like make up. But that’s not exactly true.

4. The Great Face-Paint Debate – a good summary on a very weird and telling discussion that’s been going on lately about whether women should or shouldn’t have to wear make up. From Skepchick.

5. Let’s Talk About Men Wearing Make up from Bitch Media

6. Deceitful Makeup Company May Have To Pay For Its LIES from Jezebel

7. The Myth of No Makeup from The Personal Is Politic

Here’s what I think about make up

1. In an ideal world no one should be able to require a man or a woman wear to make up for work, unless wearing make up is an inherent part of the job (like acting or news presenting) in which case both men and the women will be wearing make up for practical purposes (for example lighting). But a good barometer for whether women should be required to wear make up at work is whether their male counterparts are also required to wear it, and if the answer is no, then that should be up to the individual woman. This includes flight attendants, secretaries and anyone else working with the general public.

2. Some people will always feel more confident wearing make up, and I understand this feeling because I certainly felt this way in my twenties. Sure enough, applying a layer of make up before work was like applying a layer of armor, and provided a sort of transition between me as an individual to me as a face of the company (school, in my case). I disagree with parts of the feminist movement who consider make up wearers to be traitors of sorts, propping up a patriarchal dichotomy in which men do important stuff and women exist to be looked at. But some women do genuinely look better in make up, because the playing field of beauty is not level.

3. The pharmaceuticals industry is ripping women off, partly by promising impossible results, and also by charging too much for too little. The only make up I have bought recently is tinted zinc for my face, because in this climate sun protection is pretty important.  A small tube of tinted Invisible Zinc costs around about $20 (that’s at a discount pharmacy), which does between twenty and thirty applications depending on whether you’re applying the zinc for sun protection (using a lot) or for a little camouflage (in which case you need less).

Here in Australia, the minimum wage is about $15 per hour, so in effect, women are being asked to work an hour per month just for this one small part of a typical skin care regime. With the gender pay gap widening as it is, I feel like this is too much to spend on tinted zinc. This isn’t even expensive as far as make up goes, as I have been reminded several times after walking into a pharmacy and asking for ‘the cheaper version of Invisible Zinc’. A friend told me there is a cheaper, lesser known brand which does the same job, and I can never remember the name of it. (Whenever I see my friend I can never remember to ask her about it.) Women who work in pharmacies know what I’m talking about, but they can mysteriously never quite find it. Instead they tell me that I only need to use a little pea sized amount of Invisible Zinc anyway, and I note with discontent that a pea sized amount is actually quite a large proportion of that very small tube.

Come on women, men aren’t spending this amount on their razor blades and underarm deodorant, are they?It cheers me somewhat that the cheaper version of Invisible Zinc is never in stock, because this might mean that there are other women out there — apart from my friend and me — who think that make up iin general is too expensive for what it is. These gender specific accouterments add up.

4. As noted above, women are sometimes told that men actually prefer women without make up. (Women are also oft reminded that men — in general, assuming all men are homogeneous — prefer women with curves.) But my bullshit-o-meter is going ding-a-ling about this men-prefer-make up thing, because when this is measured, it turns out men who say they prefer women without make up actually prefer women with make up — they just didn’t know which women were wearing it, I guess, because the women applied it well. The reason we shouldn’t judge make up wearing women harshly is because the hard truth is that women are still expected to wear make up in order to get accepted. I know from looking in a mirror that I look better in make up, and by ‘better’ I mean ‘more in line with the Western Beauty Standard.

5. It’s a mistake to think women wear make up in order to appeal to men. Both men and women judge the merits of a woman based on how she looks,and make up is part of that. The vast majority of the time, women wear make up because Beauty equals Status, and because we get treated differently by strangers when we wear it. I notice a big difference myself between leaving the house wearing no make up and a tracksuit versus wearing make up and formal work attire. (Last time I did this, someone in a restaurant called me ‘ma’am’. I don’t get ‘ma’am’ on any other day — I get tailed around shops under suspicion of looking like a shop lifter.) The male equivalent of this transformation is probably a suit and tie. Except make up is on top of that hassle, because women are wearing clothes already.

I don’t see any of this changing anytime soon. I predict men will start wearing make up before women stop wearing it. The one thing we can all do is be diligent about recognising our own responses to people we first meet, and realising that the reason we might not be taking a woman seriously is because she does not conform to what society is teaching us about make up and personal care. Acknowledge that none of this correlates with competence.


Ed: Why does your face look like that?
Me: What?
Ed: You look very tired.
Me: Well, I am tired I guess. I also don’t have on any makeup yet.
Ed: You should put some on before you go to work.
Me: Okay. (And I did.)

— from Conversations With Old Men at The Hairpin