I wear some kind of makeup almost every single day. If I’m in sweat pants there’s a good chance I have bronzer and mascara on. If I’m going to school I most likely have a full face of makeup. If I’m going out in Bishkek you for SURE know I have covered my face in makeup and some bomb ass false eyelashes on. And the reason I do this is for me and for me only. There are times when I have had makeup on to leave the house and my host mother has asked me if I’m wearing makeup to see a boy or they’ll ask me why I look so nice today. My answer is always the same. “Just because” I am not wearing makeup and wearing clothes that I like for anyone else but me and me only. (There have also been times when I’ve come fresh out of the shower with a clean face and my host mother tells me how beautiful I am so it’s definitely not all the time just merely an example.) I am not wearing makeup when I go out in order to catch the eye of a man or to show off the way that I look. I’m not doing it because I only feel pretty when I wear makeup. I consider makeup a hobby, I do it because I like it. I feel beautiful when I’m wearing makeup and I feel beautiful when I’m not wearing it. Sure sometimes when I’m feeling not my most attractive do I feel better when I put on some mascara and a nice dark red lipstick? Of fucking course I do. But do I base my whole self worth around the way I look in makeup? Of fucking course not. But while I’m serving in a country far away from home do I wear makeup to help me feel like myself and keep my sense of self intact? You bet your ass I do.
I recently had an interaction with a woman (not a volunteer guys don’t get crazy) who normally doesn’t wear any makeup and she asked me why I didn’t feel beautiful without makeup and why do women feel like they need to wear it? She herself was wearing makeup and spent a majority of the evening talking about how weird it felt to be wearing makeup when she never does. I try to be a very open person and I try to understand where everyone is coming from because who knows how they’ve come to believe what they believe. But I have no tolerance for women who shame other women for wearing makeup or they way they look. In the world that we live in where women are being killed because of the clothes they wear or because they’ve chosen to leave their abusive husband the LEAST we can do for each other, from one woman to another, is to support them. If someone feels comfortable wearing no makeup everyday and they don’t enjoy makeup I will never try to force makeup on them or say they aren’t feminine because they aren’t wearing makeup, I will only ever say how beautiful they are. I also will never say anything to women who have their faces covered in makeup, no matter how thick their foundation is, how many pairs of eyelashes they’re wearing or if they are wearing black lipstick, the only thing I will say to them is how beautiful they are. There is nothing wrong with feeling your most beautiful self both without makeup and with makeup.
Needless to say this interaction definitely rubbed me the wrong way and luckily I wont ever have to talk to this person again but the thought and the irritation did linger, hence the blog post. In a community where women aren’t necessarily thought that highly of it’s hard for me to stand for this kind of talk about women. I’m sure some people will think this is silly being so upset about makeup but it isn’t about just makeup. It’s the way women are seen and the way we think about beauty and the way women treat each other. A man telling me I don’t look attractive when I wear a lot of makeup or a dark lip just further proves that they will in fact not be the man for me. A woman telling me that I am less of a woman and that I am perpetuating the wrong kinds of stereotypes of women by wearing a face full of makeup is someone I will not be friends with. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings and I’m sure there are a lot of people who disagree with me on this but this is how I feel about it. Women should be supporting each other not tearing each other down. Whether it be about sex or whether it be about something as simple as makeup. We only have each other. (And of course a big shout out to the men who don’t care if their partner wears makeup or not, don’t worry I didn’t forget about you guys. You’re the good ones.)