I have a special kind of respect for women with their face on. If they’re off to work for 9am, they’ll be up an hour earlier than everyone else to beautify themselves.
Or if they’re running late, they’ll apply a pristine layer of mascara on their lashes, or a lucious coat of gloss on their heart-shaped lips. Without looking.
If you see a short, frazzled woman with frizzy hair and no makeup on gawking at you in awe, that’s probably me.
Me? I never wear makeup. Never have. At school I didn’t get told off for wearing unsubtle, clumpy mascara. I didn’t bother at uni either. I’ve left it out in job interviews, and it doesn’t cross my mind at work. If it’s a friend’s birthday, I might think about it… Might. Hell, I’m considering getting married au natural this year. It’s not because I have amazing skin – in fact, it’s very spotty – it’s because I want to.
But which of us is the better feminist – the one with, or without her face on? Neither. We’re both in control.
What did you think of when I said the word ‘feminist’? Burnt bras, comfortable shoes, and scruffy pixie cuts? Did make-up fit into that equation? News flash: it doesn’t. There’s no equation.
Writer Julie Bindel recently suggested in an article for The Independent that we should ditch the makeup bag as it’s a stain on women’s rights. Bindel claims that it’s a much more ‘radical’ statement ‘than burning your bra’. She believes that women are still conforming to what men like, or prefer, in their sex by enhancing their appearances with ‘gunk’.
Well, I say to still think that the patriarchy controls what we put on our faces is a very old-fashioned stain on feminism indeed.
Yes, makeup isn’t exactly the veganism of the beauty world. Scientific research has shown that the average woman is exposed to more than 200 synthetic chemicals from her beauty regime alone. More lipstick on your wine glass than lips? Apparently you’ll swallow four and a half kilos of it in your lifetime from reapplying. We get it, it’s not good for you. The best things in life aren’t.
But sadly, I get that there is a pressure to feel like you *need* to look good. Shockingly, in a recent study, 41% of heterosexual women have said they’re too self-conscious to go without makeup. Is that men’s fault? Maybe. Or is it the obscenely corrupt beauty industry’s lack of human values and ill-informed versions of modern women? Much more likely.
If you’re one of the women spending over £9,000 in your lifetime on makeup: I absolutely salute you. If makeup makes you feel like *you* and fluffs your self-esteem or confidence, put two coats of mascara on.
Even if you’re like me and would much rather dribble on your pillow at 7am than start applying primer: I salute you, too.
There is no ‘better’ feminist because one does not exist. Feminism is about being in control of your life – which includes your body, your decisions and your face. It’s sad to think that some proclaimed feminists would deny young girls that option to wear black eyeliner to their first ever gig simply because it’s not ‘feminist enough’.
It’s about being proud of yourself as a woman, and it’s about having a choice. Some women aren’t lucky enough to have free-thinking or the ability to make such simple decisions like putting on a flash of blusher.
We already have enough to deal with as women. Whether it be harassment at work, or on the streets; or giant billboards implying that our perfections are imperfections and that we’re simply not good enough. For another woman to tell their own sex the best way to live and behave, well, does that not defeat the whole point of feminism after all?
To Julie Bindel, I say this. Let’s kiss and makeup. Don’t be the lipstick stain on the collar of feminism.