On being body positive: Why make-up can be authentic
When I was preparing to write this post earlier today, I took a selfie that I then posted on my Instagram account. I used the #nomakeup hashtag because, well, I was wearing no make up in the photo. As can be seen while searching the photos tagged this way, the action of not wearing make-up and stressing that fact by tagging, is, in itself, considered to be allowing the strangers (a generally perceived audience of the internet) to take a peek at one's authentic self. And that notion, I think, can be approached from different perspectives.
It is safe to say that it is generally considered that women are hiding something behind their make up. There's an abundance of jokes, anecdotes and memes that talk about a situation where a man wakes up beside a girl he can't recognize from the night before, because in the morning she looks completely different without her make up on (let's put aside the notion of make up being singularily a means of luring a man, shall we?). There is an equal abundance of before/after photos that show women without and with make up on, and they suggest we should decide which version is more beautiful. And it is the truth that we choose to conceal blemishes and dark circles around our eyes with make up, and we colour our lips and eyelids to beautify ourselves. In doing so, we are often seen as putting on masks and disguises of all sorts. And that can be seen as false and non authentic.
I personally think this belief is very simplifying.
I wear makeup almost daily. I have my eyeliner-blush-lipstick combo that I like and seldom change. I don't put it on when I'm staying home --and even then I sometimes do. Now, why would I choose to go to all the trouble when no one will see me? The answer is clear to me: I like doing it. I like the process of applying all the fluids and powders to my face. I like their scents and textures and the touch of brushes against my cheeks and eyelids. It's pampering not only to my skin but also to my psyche because I like to feel it and I like see the result of all these actions. This is very true to me. It is, in fact, a truly authentic part of the experience of being me.
There, I said it! Wearing make up is a part of being me. I'm not hiding anything and not fooling anyone. To the contrary: this is a part of my way of showing to the world who I am and how I am. I would be hiding more if I didn't wear make up.
Sure, I could go on without it. But would that be authentic? Not really. Not to me anyway. Why? Well, take as an example applying blush to my cheeks. It's my personal favorite. I always smile when I put a dab of pink on my face. You're supposed to smile to see where to place the brush but after years of doing it, I don't need a reminder to know where the apples of my cheeks are. Yet, I still smile every single time. It's become a moment of pleasure in my mind. I like to see my own smile and I like to see my face freshened up by the actions I've just taken. Those short seconds of my life that are spent solely on applying blush to my cheeks are, in fact, quite an important part of every day. They mark a spot in the day when I look at myself and I see me, as I am: happy and complete.
To finish on a right note: I do believe that it all comes down to a matter of free choice. You can decide do wear make up always, sometimes or never. It's ok either way! As long as you do whatever agrees with you, it's all good. I believe it's important that you stay true to yourself and to others. When you act accordingly, all is right with the world.