A few weeks back I did something I have never done in the 11 years of my working life, gone to work makeup free! The results? The world didn’t end, people didn’t run away from me in horror and children didn’t cry at the sight of me. The end.
While all those things were true there’s more to the story than that but it was still a big deal to me. Why? Because makeup for me, like so many others is a part of my life. It’s definitely a part of my working life, it’s a part of my social life, it’s a part of my life as a woman, so to go without was really daunting.
To understand this feeling better, we need to go back my first experience and impressions of makeup.
For most of us, that comes from out mums.
My mum never wore a lot of makeup but she never did or ever will leave the house without it. As an adult, I can see this is something I do too.
I’m more comfortable now to run errands completely without makeup but those days are rare and usually a quick rush around type thing hoping I don’t bump into anyone I know.
This ritual of putting on my makeup before I leave the house could have been learned from watching my mum but is also hugely in part to how society perceives women and makeup.
If you don’t wear makeup, you’re lazy, unclean or have given up. If you wear “too much” makeup you are over the top, trying to hard, must be covering up something or you’re just trashy.
(Yes these are real opinions I have heard on a radio show discussing this topic, and yeah apparently a women’s appearance is directly linked to her sexuality, who’da thunk it!)
There is so much pressure on women to be the right amount of perfect that it can at times be overwhelming.
Then of course, there’s this pressure to be a “natural beauty” because men prefer women that way. Firstly, a lot of guys will point to a celeb with minimal makeup and say “be natural like *insert flavour of the month here*, she doesn’t wear makeup”. It’s like, ya’ll fools don’t even know what you’re looking at because she clearly has a full face of makeup it’s just a more softer look.
Secondly, why do certain people’s perception of beauty only go skin deep? Being visually appealing doesn’t automatically translate to “beauty”.
Anyway…going back to that radio show I mentioned earlier, the topic was ‘Should women have to wear makeup at work?’. The answers to this question were quite varied and some were down right disappointing. Many male and female callers said absolutely not, if the expense of makeup is not a uniform requirement for male employees, it shouldn’t be for female. While others said yes, women should wear makeup if they want to look clean, professional and be taken seriously.
I know! I’ll give you a moment to lower your eyebrows.
When did makeup become become a part of one’s personal hygiene routine or professionalism/employ-ability?
This idea of no makeup = unprofessional had been rolling around in the back of my mind for some time after hearing it and inspired me to put it to the test.
Over the next coming weeks I’m going to posting my experiences with going make up free.
Gosh, it sounds so stupid writing that but it really is an experience for so many who never go anywhere without makeup. So if this is something you do and would like to change, or not or you just like reading my ramblings, stay tuned!
Miss Dottie DeMure