Today I was putting on some makeup in a semi-public place, fiddling with my brows and all because I wanted them to be sisters not cousins. So while I’m fiddling with my brows, some guy starts talking about why I shouldn’t invest so much time in makeup.

Then he started asking why I can’t just be like the men who don’t bother putting some makeup on their faces. And he kept saying some stuff that I didn’t care about. I told him that I put on makeup because I wanted to and kept repeating that until he left me alone. But as I keep thinking about our interaction, my level of irritation rises some more.

I’m not irritated because I didn’t actually spend a lot of time doing my make up, and I was only doing a neutral look. But because this person, who I only interact with from time to time thought that it was okay to talk about my makeup, like I was doing it on his face, or like I asked for his opinion.

And the truth is, he isn’t the only person that does that. Countless times I and many other people who enjoy using make up get unwanted opinions on the amount of make up we apply, or the time we spend doing our makeup. And it’s quite frustrating.

I remember one of my friends (who is absolutely in love with makeup), kept getting comments from our guy friends that she needs to take it easy. And it was so absurd because she didn’t ask them for those comments.

But they kept on giving her those comments until one day she decided to do neutral makeup, which made them happy for a while. But the next thing they started saying was that she should stop doing make up everyday. Which didn’t surprise me, because when people give their unneeded opinions, they just keep dishing them.

Thankfully she stopped caring about what they had to say and she continued doing makeup the way she wanted to. But those guys (who we eventually spent less time with) are still quick to dish out their opinions. And even though they say it’s coming from a nice place, they seem a little too bothered by the amount of highlighting powder we use on our cheekbones to be coming from a nice place.

And a lot of the time, these comments seem more like they’re interested in tearing us and our confidence down. Which is usually the truth, because these people aren’t looking out for you. They just want you to look a particular way to make them happy.  They want to impose their definition of beautiful on you.

And when you refuse their definition, they create hypotheticals. They tell you that the reason you have acne is because you use too much makeup. Or they say that you’re using it to attract a partner, some say “you already have a partner, why do you need extra makeup.” They pull out stories from God knows where in order to get you to change, to fit into their narrow box of what equals beauty. And it’s old and tired.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter whether the make up is neutral or heavy, or whether we apply it because we love it or because we want to get the attention of someone, whether we spent two hours on it or 30 minutes on the makeup, whether we use it to hide our acne or whether it creates more acne (which it actually doesn’t). All that matters is that we wanted to do it, we didn’t ask for the unwanted opinions, and we’re happy with what we’re doing.

We need to be able to exist freely. Using as much or as little make up as we want, spending x amount of time on it without having Busybody Ben/ Bailey telling us what to do.

And even though that isn’t going to happen today or tomorrow, it’s important that we keep in my that the busybodies aren’t the most important factor in our application of makeup, but we, the applicators are.

Photo Credit: Manu Camargo
 

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