Anonymous, Advice Column
It’s seven a.m. and your first class starts at nine. You have already planned out an outfit for today, so the biggest question on your mind is “Should I get up now and spend the extra time to get my makeup right, or should I sleep in, wake up at 8:30 and rock the five-minute-face and my best rendition of the messy bun?” I’d say sleep in, but what do I know? I haven’t worn makeup since I acted in a high school play and it’s annoying to apply and wear. With that in mind, there is still some cultural reason that compels women, especially collegiate women, to continue to put makeup on their faces regardless of the complexity and inconvenience makeup is associated with.
Traditionally, makeup has been used in various cultures by both sexes to decorate the human body for the purpose of social and religious ceremonies and rituals. I’m going to assume at some point in time, men realized how impractical it is to wash berry paste out of their beards everyday and decided to stop using makeup with the exception of camouflage, acting and 80’s hair metal. However, women have continued the use and continue to perfect the craft everyday. There are magazine articles, Youtube videos and the red and black clad women of Sephora who help women realize their full makeup potential. But this still does not answer the question to why women continually choose to put that face on. In order to answer this, I spoke with a few of my female friends and came up with three reasons: one, for confidence, two, to fit in with friends and three, to attract guys. All three of these reasons for getting pretty can get pretty complex, so I will try to simplify my thoughts for you.
I feel the main cultural aspect in question here is image. Image includes how strangers see you, how your friends/family see you and more importantly, how you see yourself. Assuming that modern society is obsessed with image, men and women try to use anything in their power to alter their image for the better. In this case, women using makeup is a way to help project their desired image and in an image obsessed society, looking your best makes you feel more confident when interacting with others. Why? People judge you based on your image. I’m not saying this is good, but it must be accepted. Women will judge you for how well you apply your makeup because they understand the application process and respect the art form as a whole. Admit it, you have probably judged a girl once for not blending her foundation properly. Men will judge you too, but in a more primitive, “Me want to kiss girl” way. This makes men sound idiotic, but that’s only because, culturally speaking, men should be more concerned with the finer points of Wes Welker’s excellent route running than how thick the line of shadow should go above your eyelid to achieve a smokey-eye look. This is just what culture tells us, but beauty is only skin deep. The image you have of yourself is the image that you should spend the most time on. If putting on makeup is something that you truly like to do, do it up! However, don’t rely on it to make you comfortable in your own skin.