When it comes to women and femme-presenting people, most of us are sadly used to receiving a certain amount of nastiness in relation to our appearances. However, it may be the creepy comments about makeup that irk me the most. Usually made in the form of thinly-veiled pseudo-compliments from strangers, or low-key judgement in the form of side-eye or subtle shade from those close to us, I’ve never understood how impassioned some people become when dissecting what those around them use on their faces.
Makeup can arguably be restricting, patriarchal, and symptomatic of an industry built on the insecurities of women. Despite these very valid concerns, however, it can also be empowering for some folks: A tool used by many women to construct their own realities, subverting societal beauty standards and expectations. But whichever side of the fence you fall on, passing judgement or verbalizing all the weird things you may think about someone else’s visage is never cool.
If you're a person who loves cosmetics, it's likely that you've been on the receiving end of the creepy comments, the assumptions that you only wear makeup to appease or impress dudes, or the sneaky shade of folks suggesting your love of beauty products comes from some deeply-rooted insecurity or lack of self0confidence. Of course, any such comment thrown at you is undoubtedly complete BS, and below are 11 of the most infuriating, ridiculous things many of us are sadly used to hearing.
1. "You really cake it on, don't you?
I'd love to know where the expression "caking it on" came from. But to be honest, there's nothing embarrassing about my makeup game being compared to a deliciously thick layer of frosting.
2. "Who are you trying to impress?"
The fact that you'd assume that I'm choosing to impress anyone apart from myself implies that you're probably more concerned about what others think of me than I am myself.
3. "Don't you have more important things to spend your money on?"
I might, but if I should be spending my money on things more important than makeup, maybe you, too, should reassess how much you fork out for your hobbies before questioning my bank balance.
4. "You'd look so much prettier if you kept it natural."
It's interesting how society loves to sell women beauty products, until they start using the tools to their advantage and subvert notions of conventional "beauty." At which point, everyone's invested in us "keeping our faces bare and natural."
5. "What are you hiding?"
Maybe I'm hiding a pimple. Maybe I'm hiding acne scars. Maybe I'm hiding nothing at all and simply enjoy wearing makeup for the pure aesthetic of it. Whatever the truth, it's certainly not for you to judge my motives.
6. "You don't need to feel so insecure."
Surprising as this may seem, being accepted is not everyone's top priority. Many people wear makeup because it makes them feel good — not because they're insecure. Dressing up and looking fab should be something to enjoy, if you feel so inclined; not dread.
7. "You only wear makeup for attention."
That's funny, because it seems like a large amount of the attention I receive for my appearance, from cishet men at least, is unwanted and offensive. Surely I'd lay off the highlighter a bit if all I wanted was to appease the male gaze.
8. "What's the point in wearing so much if it's all weird colors?"
Oh! So just because I won't conform to the type or style of makeup you find socially acceptable or beautiful, there's no longer any point in wearing it?
9. "I want to see the real you."
I'll tell you one thing: All the lipstick and eyeliner in the world couldn't hide my truly authentic resting bitch face and the distain I feel for anyone who asks me this question.
10. "Men prefer women who wear less makeup."
Thanks for the insight, and excuse me while I go apply five more layers of cosmetics in effort to completely put off every man I meet.
11. "Aren't men shocked when they see you without makeup?"
Not if they're decent human beings. And if they are shocked, it's a pretty good indication that they aren't the type of person I'll willingly spend any more time around.
So next time someone steps out of line and throws one of these terrible one-liners at you, I suggest you follow my lead: Pull out your compact and drown out the haters by blocking them in your hand mirror.
Image: Ione Gamble