Is Wearing Makeup an Empowering Choice or a Societal Obligation?

June 6, 2018

With society constantly telling women how to dress and what to look like, it can often be hard for us to be ourselves and to feel comfortable in our own skin. Worse still, women are scrutinized when they fix their bodies but are criticized when their bodies don’t conform to expected norms. Taking all this into consideration, I think wearing makeup is an empowering choice.

 

Throughout the years that I’ve worn makeup, I was the first and sometimes the only one among my friends to have makeup on. I was judged and made fun of. Often, people told me that I had “too much time on my hands.” It wasn’t until the end of high school when my friends started regularly wearing makeup as well, and this change was largely due to curiosity.

 

Photo: mymodernmet.com

 

I started wearing makeup because I was curious. Now, at 25, I wear it because I think it’s an empowering choice. I think makeup is fun and it’s a great way to express myself. Makeup is an art and I think most women wear it because they choose to. I take the time to put on makeup, not only because I like how I look with it on, but also because it’s a great way to express my creativity.

 

I don’t think it’s a societal obligation because I constantly get comments from people about how they “would never wear that much makeup” or how they’d “rather sleep than wake up early to wear makeup.” I think people who don’t wear makeup often think that those who do wear makeup are doing it for attention. When I get comments like this, it makes me believe that most people think makeup is a chore and that we only wear it because we want a reaction out of people. My coworkers may assume that I wear it to cover up imperfections, but I genuinely think makeup is fun. I’m constantly trying new ways to perfect my makeup and discovering new products that will work with my skin. It was always an empowering choice for me.

 

For much of my life, I’ve had people tell me to stop wearing makeup so personally for me, it’s definitely not a societal obligation. People often tell me that a “natural face” is better because “men prefer women with less makeup.” This made me realize that people who don’t wear makeup assume that we do it for men. I’ve also received comments that I don’t need makeup because my skin already looks great or I’m already pretty enough. I’ve learned that people will assume you only wear makeup to impress guys or because you’re insecure.  

 

Nowadays, women are scrutinized for everything. Many people I’m surrounded by every day, whether it’s at work, at home, or on the streets, constantly talk about how they “prefer women without makeup” or how they’re “better than girls who wear makeup” because they’re not “insecure.” I think people have this misconception that if you wear makeup, it’s because you’re insecure.

 

There are men who wear makeup and I fully support it. However, they get scrutinized and bullied because “makeup isn’t for boys.” Men wear makeup not because it’s a societal obligation. They’re constantly told to stop wearing it but they continue to do so because it’s an empowering choice.

 

Nowadays, I see women and men getting made fun of for wearing makeup. A lot of the people in my office don’t wear makeup and always tell me how they admire how much dedication I have because “they’d rather sleep.” But I think this ties to makeup being an empowering choice because my peers assume I “lose sleep” to wear makeup as well. When you do something on your own and you enjoy doing it, it’s an empowering choice because it’s closer to a hobby than a societal obligation. For the most part, people often enjoy the hobbies that they do, which is a choice and that’s what wearing makeup aligns with.

 

Although people are more lenient now than they were years ago, wearing makeup isn’t a societal obligation. There are so many people who constantly tell me that a “natural face is better.” Makeup has no actual rules, so therefore, everyone and anyone is allowed to wear it. Anyone who wears makeup is often opening themselves to criticism. Still, I continue to wear makeup because I think it’s fun how many looks I can create with the products that I have. Most importantly, at the end of the day, makeup is ultimately my choice, and people who wear makeup are empowering themselves by doing so because, ultimately, it is their choice to wear it.

 

My name is Linda Tran. I'm 24 years old from Boston and I'm majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Social Media at the Southern New Hampshire University. A fun fact about me is that I learned coding and HTML at the age of 11.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Follow Step Up Magazine
  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Black Snapchat Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon