"I don’t like girls who wear makeup, they ruin their natural beauty!" No, see, I don’t think you understand what that means, at all. Sit down, bro, and let me tell you about how toxic that attitude is to teenage girls and their self esteem through my own experiences.
Four to five years ago, I never would have ever dreamed about putting a picture of my bare face online. Or taking one to begin with. Taking my makeup off at night used to be the most nerve wracking and gut wrenching experience for me because I had severe, cystic acne all over my cheeks and chin. It made me feel like shit about myself to say the least. Every time I would turn on the TV I would be bombarded with all of these women with beautiful, perfect skin with “no makeup” on. (Anti-acne product commercials, I’m looking at you.) I berated myself and wondered why I couldn’t have perfect skin like them? I convinced myself that I was a hideous freak and would regularly refuse to leave the house for weeks at a time because of it. I hated looking in the mirror, I would cover them up so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself. I hated what I saw because no matter what I tried, nothing would help it get any better.
Finally, after a trip to the doctor I was diagnosed with PCOS, which threw my hormone levels way off and caused my acne. I started on birth control and within nine months my face was clear of active blemishes, but I still had scars to deal with. Think road rash, but all over my face in weird patches with some boxcar (indented) scars thrown in the mix. It took three years for my skin to look as good as it does now, in picture #1.
Well, it’s been a few years since I’ve gotten into makeup more professionally and as a result, have realized that these women I envied weren’t actually as perfect as I thought they were. Sure, some actually did have “flawless” skin and looked like they stepped onto a runway when they just rolled out of bed; but most didn’t. A concoction of airbrushes, concealer and flattering lighting can be used to make anybody look “perfect”. (Photoshop helps, too.)
After that, I started to speak up against the whole “natural beauty is best” thing. It’s everywhere, in popular songs, movies and advertising. “You don’t need makeup, you’re beautiful on the inside!”
No, fuck that. If I don’t like how my face looks, don’t you dare shame me for it. If concealer and powder made it easier for me to leave the house or not cry while looking in the mirror, who are you to say that I shouldn’t have that. Most people that say that are cisgendered, heterosexual men, who, let’s face it, don’t understand how makeup works. Men who think what they see on TV is how skin always is. Not the sometimes oily, scarred, pimply and uneven skin that it is. They don’t understand that this attitude isn’t helping boost our self-esteem, but setting up an impossible standard to live up to and shaming us when we don’t measure up.
Wearing what I am in #2, I will get compliments on my beautiful complexion, flawless full brows and long, dark eyelashes. People will say that I’m lucky to have such “natural beauty”. You can click on the picture for a list of things I have on, but in no way is my face there “natural”. (Photo #3 is what I wear on a daily basis when I want to go for a lighter look, for lazy days at work.)
Please don’t tell somebody they look better one way or another. If they feel more comfortable with a bare face, awesome! Do they wear a smokey eye and black lipstick all day every day? Awesome. If you have to comment on somebody’s appearance just say they’re beautiful. Because they are. They are beautiful, especially when they are doing what makes them feel beautiful. If they say they aren’t, or don’t believe that they are, don’t make them feel bad for it. Making somebody feel bad about not loving something about themselves will only make them hate it more.