On Makeup

Dear My Dear,

I’m struggling with makeup. Not putting it on, mind you; I gave up on that long ago. You know how I sweat.

What does it mean? I’m sure that seems an odd way of questioning the practice of slathering one’s face in brownish spackle and glitter, but I suspect that’s because it had been seldom so publicly question. At least, not until recent memory.

It began small; a meme or two of pre and post-op makeupsexuals. ‘Post-op’ is a perfect word for it. Have you seen the YouTube tutorials? “Easy foundation routine” my arse. Houdini was less complicated. Millions of views per video well-deserved for the sorcery that happens before my very eyes.

The debate has spawned whole movements, and I’m torn where I stand. On one hand, I remember generations of women fighting to be seen as more than make-up and high heels and, on the other, I age and exist among contemporaries who righteously spurn their scarlet branding for daring to feel pretty.

Plus, my God, shoes these days are lovely. I’d wear the highest pair I could afford were I not positive I’d fall and break a bone, if not a window.

This might seem a shallow topic, but I believe it indicative of a larger problem exacerbated daily by public humiliation and shaming. By and large, we have told women that this was their routine, we have told men that this is what to expect a woman to look like, and with the above comes wide-ranging fallout; artifice and ‘enhancement’ have reached the very pinnacle of cultural significance in that it has become mundane. It is every day. It is nothing special, it is normal, typical and expected. It is standard.

So, I question how those who shame consider the conditioned to be the makers of their conditioning. If I told you every day, with my every action, that ‘this’ is how you are valued, how could I then fault you for finding value in ‘this’?

Perhaps, that’s the core of the issue? What is one’s “value”…? Who has decided this, when and where did we learn its definition, and how does this knowledge decide for us whether we are or not?

I doubt you and I could agree on any of the above. How could we? Far too many variables.

The vocabulary, the connotations, are what bother me the most: Prettier. Cleaned-up. Polished. Presentable. These words we use to describe our choices suggest that ‘our best’ is manufactured; it requires an effort to be our best selves, therefore we are not our best selves, naturally.

How depressing. Time for a cocktail.

~Nate

 

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