A better version of myself, that’s who.
After thinking about the fact I wear a full face of makeup all the time and wondering what impression that gives to other people (in particular, young girls) – I’ve been leaving the house with a clean face more often. Because that needs to be okay for me to do, so that I can show others that it is okay to do – while simultaneously showing them that it is okay to wear caked on makeup sometimes, too. It’s all okay to do.
And it’s not because I think I’m less of a feminist for wearing makeup – in fact, if anything, the realization that I support choice over all else makes me feel more feminist than ever before.
Honestly, I’m getting lazy and opting for no makeup some mornings saves me a ton of time. On top of this, maybe skipping out on makeup will show the young girls in my life that it’s okay to present yourself both ways and that it doesn’t really matter that much as long as you are happy! Your choice, your decision, your happiness.
It’s not about appearance. Even though it is, it’s really not. Life shouldn’t ever be about appearance. I look at it this way: everyone is beautiful to someone – no, you’re not going to be attractive to everyone, because people have different tastes and find different features attractive – and that’s okay (as long as someone doesn’t project their ideals onto someone else, suggesting everyone should be their idea of beautiful, it’s okay to find different things attractive)! Because someone else will find your features attractive. But on top of that? Your appearance and how attractive you are to someone has absolutely nothing to do with your self worth – you are more than your appearance; you are an entire human being underneath your skin with hobbies, interests, skills, and so much love to give. So, yeah, you might be beautiful to some people and ugly to other people, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t fucking matter. You’re still you.
Where am I going with this?
You probably haven’t seen me without makeup on since middle school, and that used to be because I got made fun of like crazy. Now I just really like makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I am not still very insecure about my skin. It’s been 22 years, I just have naturally red skin, and that’s okay. I’m not posting this to criticize myself for wearing makeup because that’s my choice, I’m just trying to take another step towards self love and self acceptance – that’s my only goal in life anymore. So when I don’t feel like doing a full face of makeup and decide to leave the house looking like this, that’s cool. And when I do feel like doing a full face, that’s cool too. As long as I like myself, it doesn’t really matter. 🤷🏻♀️
I posted a selfie on Instagram recently wearing absolutely no makeup and wrote some lovely caption discussing my past with getting bullied. I said in my previous post that I started wearing makeup due to bullying and insecurities (despite the fact I now wear it because it’s a creative outlet that I genuinely am interested in and love) – as a kid, I had awful acne. I’m not talking about a pimple every now and then, I mean full blown white heads and cysts all over my face. The kind of shit you see in acne commercials. I’m not exaggerating, either.
I also have naturally pink toned skin; my cheeks are rosy whether or not I’m blushing, hot, or broken out. In fact, my skin is 100% clear now and I take very good care of it, yet I still have pink cheeks. But in middle school (and some of high school) kids are mean, and I was often called ugly and picked on. “Why do you look like that?” is probably my favorite question that I got asked. Some girl also asked me “do you have acne all over your entire body?”
So, yeah, I did start wearing foundation and concealer to cover all of that up, and it helped me get through those years. Eventually, I ditched salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide (aka Satan and The Devil) and took up an all natural skincare routine (I’ll write about that if anyone is interested), which cleared my skin up and left me with the extremely healthy skin I have now.
And yet I still wear foundation largely due to the fact I am still insecure about my pink cheeks. But it’s totally also because I love makeup and if I do a smokey eye, bold lips, thick Instagram brows, and contour my cheekbones, it’s gonna look ridiculous without foundation underneath it all.
Even though I love makeup and choose to wear it because of my interest in it, I still want to challenge my insecurities. So I’ve begun not wearing makeup some days – in fact, as I write this post, I am wearing a dress, heels, a choker, my hair is done up, and I am wearing absolutely no makeup. And I feel okay. That’s is an incredible accomplishment for me, to be honest.
I don’t think that I look prettier one way or the other, with or without makeup – in fact, I still struggle to look at myself and associate myself with the words pretty, beautiful, or attractive. But, like I said before, just because I don’t think I’m beautiful doesn’t mean that others don’t – but despite that I am still trying to embrace myself and be able to look at myself and think that I am beautiful (because I think that’s important for everyone – you don’t need to be beautiful to everyone, but you should at least be able to be beautiful to yourself).
After posting that selfie on Instagram, I put on a full face of makeup – smokey eye and red lip – and went out with some friends for tacos and margaritas. And it was fun. And that’s fine. What I’m excited about is liking myself both ways and being able to leave the house both ways – accepting myself both ways and choosing how I want to look for myself and no one else.
This isn’t about how I look better. This isn’t about my appearance, even though it kind of is. It’s more about self acceptance than anything and continuing to make choices that strengthen my feminism. I’m choosing to wear makeup, I’m choosing to not wear makeup, I’m choosing to embrace my pink skin even though the patriarchy would probably prefer me not to.
The patriarchy thrives on a woman’s self hatred and insecurities, and those insecurities are rooted in a woman’s life whether she chooses to wear makeup or not (if I don’t wear it, I’m “ugly” and unworthy. If I do wear it, I’m still “ugly” and only wear it because I think I’m ugly – the patriarchy wins either way – so it’s better to just do whatever the fuck I want to do and not leave that decision up to the patriarchy.)
You know, I’ve identified as a feminist for quite a few years now, but I’m still figuring out what that means for me. I’ve recently (in the last couple years) attached the word “intersectional” to my identity, now referring to myself as an intersectional feminist (although I wish we didn’t need to make that specification – I wish all feminists and feminism everywhere was automatically intersectional, but white privilege still runs rampant in society).
My feminism focuses largely on body politics, sex, and beauty culture, I guess; I try to do what I can and focus on what my abilities allow me to, but that doesn’t mean I am not interested in the larger issues. I hope that even though I am starting small in this war that I can climb up and tackle larger issues eventually, but for now, I’m gonna keep preaching about self love and self acceptance while simultaneously caring about and talking about those larger issues.
Maybe me embracing my pink skin is very small and trivial, but it’s a rather big step for me – and the more steps I take in my own life and my own feminism, the stronger I can be for everyone else that I’m fighting for.