An Excerpt: Makeup and My Feminism

I am often questioned as to why I wear makeup – more specifically, the statement: “But you are a feminist, I thought feminists don’t wear makeup?” To answer that: ‘Everyone can be a feminist while presenting their bodies in whatever way they wish – whether that be with their eyebrows drawn on or not’. This is a conversation I wish I did not have to have.  As someone who wears makeup almost daily, I find myself distraught when people tell me that my makeup wearing is a system of oppression. Their argument is that I am unconsciously oppressing myself because according to them, I am wearing makeup to “impress somebody” (And yet, people who do not wear makeup receive just as much commentary) – as if having this argument was not bad enough, now I have to deal with people deciding that my therapy is not for me but for someone else *insert appropriate eye-roll here*. Let us consider these questions:

Isn’t makeup a tool of the patriarchy to keep us so obsessed with narrow beauty standards that we can’t focus on revolution? And isn’t it a little frivolous and ridiculous of a hobby to find enjoyment in something so decidedly feminine? And how can one proclaim themselves anti-capitalist if they throw money toward thirty-dollar tubes of lipstick? (Fabello “My Makeup Isn’t Inherently Anti-Feminist“)

If I were to be honest with you, I don’t always know what to say in these cases, especially when they are said by other feminists. Sometimes I am told that I am wearing too much or too little makeup, or that I should put some on when I am not wearing any at all. Where do I draw the line? When I first ‘came out’ as a feminist, I was given the impression that it is something empowering, that it encourages body positivity, that it encourages confidence – I lacked a lot of that when I was younger. It was not until I reached my first year of university that I started wearing makeup on a daily basis however, it was not until two years ago that I discovered my true love for cosmetics. I had a lot of fears and hatred towards my skin. I hated my freckles and what little acne I had. I hated my dark circles and large pores and just about every minor blemish I thought existed.

These thoughts derived from the institutionalized ideals of what the media considers to be perfect, despite the fact that ‘perfection’ does not exist. These thoughts derived from images in advertisements, and comments made to me about my appearance. I have flipped through magazines quite a lot and more often the advertisements directed at those who have dark circles, include models with too subtle discoloration to notice. I have been told that I would look ‘better’ or ‘nicer’ if I covered those circles up. Makeup was said to ‘fix’ or ‘hide’ these blemishes.

However, when I started wearing makeup more often, it was not about hiding my blemishes – not anymore – it was about accentuating a part of me. The more comfortable I was with my new found identity (as a feminist) the more I found that makeup enhanced my features, I felt better wearing it- I felt more confident. Now that I am much older, putting on makeup is more of a therapeutic process (quality time with me, myself and my face) – my therapy if you will. I love the way the brushes feel against my face, the beauty blender dabbing against my skin, experimenting with color and glitter – lots of glitter – I love the finished look: highlighted and ‘brows on point’. It makes me feel good; it enhances the features I have come to call beautiful. I do not see the blemishes like I used to – those dark circles yes, even to this day I still hate them – rather, I see myself and my skin.

There are so many factors that allowed me to see myself in a new way. First, the act of wearing makeup and skin care enlightened the way I see my skin. I discovered new ways to treat my face with organic masks and scrubs and lotions that aided in smoothing and softening my skin. Second, my identity and experience as a feminist allowed me to come to terms with my body and the policing that surrounded it.

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My Favorite Things

#27: What always makes me feel better?

Well isn’t that a loaded question. Sort of – Not really. There are a lot of things that make me feel better; it depends on the situation and what I feel like doing at the time. For instance, sometimes I clean to de-stress so that makes me feel better. Doing my makeup is therapeutic, so is drawing and painting and writing, and jogging. Sometimes I take naps, just cause. These are just a few of my favorite things.

*Insert Appropriate Sound of Music Reference Here*

I had to. #sorrynotsorry

Just so you know, I hummed the tune of this song the entire time I was editing this list.  Mind you, The Sound of Music is also one of my favorite movies…
So here you are: mostly re-written lyrics (it was a lot harder than I thought it would be).

Chocolate on cheesecake
And Makeup and brushes
Bright coloured dresses and warm tender touches
Soaring up high like a bird with wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Good shows on Netflix and hiking on mountains
Perfume and glitter
And wishes in fountains
Books on the shelves and playing on swings
These are a few of my favorite things

Swimming in oceans on hot summer days
Hunting for treasure and driving down highways
Indulging in food and glamorous rings
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When a bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Chocolate on cheesecake and makeup and brushes
Bright colored dresses and warm tender touches
Soaring up high like a bird with wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Good shows on Netflix and hiking on mountains
Perfume and glitter and wishes in fountains
Books on the shelves and playing on swings
These are a few of my favorite things

Swimming in oceans on hot summer days
Hunting for treasure and driving down highways
Indulging in food and glamorous rings
These are a few of my favorite things

 

Embrace

#25: Best Physical Features.

A letter to the woman in the mirror.

Dear mirror,

You are an amazingly graceful and magical human. I know this is hard for you to hear, but I know what you’re going through. I understand that some days you hate yourself, look in the mirror and wish things were different. I’ve seen you cry about your acne, blemishes, hair, freckles, dark spots, and scars on your body. You are not alone. Everyone has imperfections: they don’t define you but they are part of who you are. You deserve so much better; you deserve to feel good about the skin you’re in. We all do.

Self-love is something you will learn about in the future. It teaches you to take care of yourself, your well-being, and your own happiness. You deserve to let go of our insecurities and embrace the beauty that is your body.  There’s so much I want to tell you about beauty ideals, and how the media dictates what is and isn’t beautiful. They’re wrong, they’re all wrong.

You had a lot of fears and hatred towards your skin as you grew up. I remember when you hated your freckles, acne, dark circles, large pores and just about every minor blemish you thought existed. No one will see them, except for you. These thoughts derive from the institutionalized ideals of what the media considers to be perfect, from images in advertisements and comments made to you about your appearance, despite the fact that ‘perfection’ does not exist – NO ONE IS PERFECT.

I remember when you used to flip through magazines quite a lot when you were a teen. More often than not the advertisements directed at those who have dark circles include models with too subtle discoloration to notice. You wanted these products to be your solution, but they weren’t – no matter how much money you spent on an eye cream. You were told that you would look ‘better’ or ‘nicer’ if you covered those circles up. Makeup was said to ‘fix’ or ‘hide’ these blemishes. You used to use makeup to ‘hide’ everything.

It was not until you started wearing makeup more often that it became about accentuating a part of you – it was no longer about hiding those ‘blemishes’. I remember how you changed. How you felt better wearing it – You became more confident.

Now that you are much older, putting on makeup has become more of a therapeutic process – quality time with you, yourself, and your face. You do it because it makes you feel good; it enhances the features you have come to call beautiful. I’ve noticed how you do not see the blemishes like you used to (except for those dark circles). You look at yourself differently, you see yourself and your skin.

There are so many things that happened that allowed you to see yourself in new ways. You have finally came to terms with your body and the policing that surrounded it.

When I look at you, I see a strong woman with a killer personality. But if you care to know, you are all around beautiful. My favorite physical features? Your deep brown eyes, striking smile, wild curly hair, and adorable freckles. I know it doesn’t mean much coming from me, but one day you will look at yourself in the same way that I see you.

Sincerely,
The woman on the other side

Everything but the Kitchen sink

#14 #whatsinmyhandbag

I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders: metaphorically and literally.

Whether I am carrying a backpack or purse, there always seems to be a surplus of items that I really don’t need but carry around ‘just in case’. Bad habit I know, but you seriously never know what could happen and if you need that one item you left at home that one day.

My typical bag hold the following items:

  1. Makeup Bag (Inside: Concealer, Powder, Lipstick, Beauty Blender, Mirror, Small Brush, a Travel-Size Mascara, Tweezers, Eyebrow Pencil, and Moisturizer).
  2. Wallet.
  3. A Good Book (Currently: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling).
  4. Cellphone.
  5. Keys.
  6. Gum or Mints.
  7. Tissue.
  8. Hand Lotion.
  9. Hand Sanitizer.
  10. Deoderant.

 

Ps: Feature image is not my actual bag.