Make up is an incredibly powerful tool. With the increasing modernisation of human behaviour and the increased pressures of society, make up is also becoming increasingly popular. Make up originates from as far back as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptian times, when it was used not to enhance ones appearance but to protect the lips and hair from sun damage, and to ward off evil spirits. However, in today's day and age, make up has almost become as much of a necessity to a woman as water. It could be argued that this reflects both the increasingly vain society that we live in, or a society with incredibly low self esteem. But the true question we should be asking ourselves is this; is make up empowering or another way to make women feel unattractive?
The need to look good is innate in every human being. This fits in with the old saying; 'If you look good, you feel good'. However, to what extent can this idea be implied to this issue? There is no true definition of what 'good' looks like; it is only a temporary idea created by society. This is shown by the constantly changing trends- what was considered 'beautiful' back in the Roman times is a far cry from what is considered 'beautiful' nowadays. In the Roman times, beauty was based solely on physical and emotional strength, your willingness and a loving personality- looks were not important. On the other hand, in today's society, to be considered beautiful you must be skinny and tall, with elegant features - having a bumpy nose or a few 'jiggly bits' is far from what is considered 'acceptable' in the beauty industry. How often have you looked at yourself bare-faced in the mirror and felt a pang because you do not fit in to the stereotypical 'beautiful' category, such as the likes of the models in Vogue? Its happened to all of us. However, once you've applied a full face of make up and put on nice clothes your self esteem suddenly increases. Why? It's because make up helps to bring out the positives of your appearance and often hides the things you feel insecure about. It helps us to focus on the what we like about ourselves rather than simply seeing imperfections in the mirror.
However, it can also be argued that make up is simply another way to make women feel unattractive. I would be lying if I said that there are women out there 100% confident with their looks. All women have insecurities and these are only highlighted by the 'perfect' supermodels and A-Lister's in society that are constantly in front of our eyes due to the media. The media uses such 'perfect' and 'flawless' models that have been airbrushed so much they look nothing like the model beforehand. Despite women knowing this fact, we are still easily pressured into feeling inferior. As a result, women often feel inadequate even in comparison to other females, and feel the need to hide behind a mask, aka a full face of make up.
On the other hand, it has been said that make up, or a make over, gives women the confidence to be powerful as it alters the way you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. Without make up women often feel vulnerable and therefore use it as a tool to build confidence and raise self esteem. An example of where this has been put into place in the American charity 'Dress for Success', an organisation which Bobbi Brown and her employees have worked closely with. The charity helps unemployed women with low self esteem to get back into the workplace through mentoring and transforming makeovers. This shows that even women at the top, such as Bobbi Brown, use make up for confidence and to increase competence and professionalism in daily life. Conversely, whilst a temporary make over may improve confidence for a short while, the temporary resources will run out soon. These women will no longer be able to afford the resources and this temporary high of confidence leads to a permanent feeling of inadequacy. This could support the idea that cosmetics are a poor substitute to counselling and real confidence building, which provide long term, effective results.
In conclusion, I feel whilst make is used as a tool to empower women temporarily, in the long term I believe that make up is simply a tool to make women feel unnattractive, or inadequate to these so called 'perfect' females out there who have been airbrushed to the high heavens. I applaud those females who have not succumbed to the increasing pressure of society to wear make up. I love make up, skin care, and beauty products in general. Yes, as reluntantly I am to admit it, I am a beauty junkie and would eagerly choose a new foundation over a meal out. However, I am often faced with the decision to spend an extra 20 minutes in bed or apply some make up -I'll go with the make up because at least i will feel more adequate alongside my peers. Although I feel that make up is another way to make women feel unnatractive in the long term, it is not soley make up. Controversial isssues such as weight, fashion and natural beauty all pose the same problems and thus make up is not the sole contributor to this idea. make up will be contined to be used far into the future, and I can only hope that scoiety begins to support woman who embrace their natural beauty.
Have you gone au-natural recently?
I would love to hear your opinions on this debate and as this was a slightly controversial post please let me know whether you enjoyed it or not!