6 Women Talk About Why They Wear Makeup, Even If They Resent The Whole Process Just A Teeny Bit
I did the math: I spend an hour a day, seven days a week, doing my hair and makeup, which amounts to 336 hours a year — the equivalent of 14 full days straight spent applying eyeliner, curling strands of my hair, and blending out my eyeshadow.
Turns out, these results are pretty standard when it comes to the national female average. According to Women's Health, women typically "spend 55 minutes primping" themselves. No wonder the global beauty products industry is forecasted to reach a value of $265 billion by 2017. While there are countless reasons why women designate almost a full hour of their daily 24 to grooming, one influence we can all acknowledge at play is that of society.
Ever since Cleopatra began lining her eyes with thick coats of black and green powder, women have been hard at work performing cosmetic methods to alter their physical appearance and fulfill temporary notions of societal beauty. But, did anyone ever stop and ask Cleopatra how she felt about the green and black powder rimming her eyes day in and day out? My guess is no.
How do these societal beauty standards make women feel? Do we begrudge them or carry them in stride? And, what do we think about the different beauty standards placed on us versus our male counterparts? Six women gave us their answers to all these questions and more.
I Shave Because I Like It — I Think?
“I shave because I like it— or do I? Do I like it because I truly like the aesthetics of it, or because that’s what I’m told women are supposed to do, that that’s what men like? Am I bred to like it?” —Kim, 22
What About Dudes?
“Although it does bother me a significant amount that women hard held to such absurd standards, it bothers me just as much (if not more) that men aren’t held to, let’s be honest, any standards. I feel like the expectations of male grooming should be much, much higher. Not that superficial things like teeth whitening make you a better person, and I certainly don’t believe in subscribing wholesale to the beauty standards dictated to you by our society, but I do feel that it’s important to put in an effort to represent yourself well and grooming is a huge part of it. There’s no excuse for men to not be well-kept.” —Wicca, 22
Pretty Hurts... Which Is Why Women Rock
“It bothers me that we live in a patriarchal society and that women are held to a double standard. Too done up and you’re trying too hard; not done up enough and you’re an ugly slob. It’s all kind of dumb, especially because I should be able to look and groom myself however I want. BUT at the same time, I can walk around looking great, knowing I look great, and also accomplish ten other things that have nothing to do with “vanity.” Pretty hurts, but that’s why women aren’t truly the frailer sex.” -Maggie, 20
The Pressure Goes Away, Kind Of
“While I will say that I do believe that young girls are convinced that you need to wear makeup for men, I think and hope that will eventually wear away. It did for me at least. I know there was a time I did it for male attention — now, I couldn’t care less.” —Jacqueline, 23
Breaking The Trend Is On Us
“I think both sexes have expectations on them that aren’t necessarily fair. I do notice the difference, but we all carry the burden to rise to trivial expectations from society, whether it be shaving your legs or footing the bill. These were roles built long before our time, and that’s the most frustrating part.” —Bianca, 24
But Being Good At Makeup Is Cool, Too
“When I see somebody with beautifully applied make-up or beautiful accessories I think that they possess a skill or talent that is admirable. My little sister never leaves the house without mascara. Even with a newborn, she manages to always look stunning. She is also a brilliant and successful financial planner.
However, [my husband and I] are both teachers. We both have photocopies to make early in the morning. We both deal with chalk and marker stains. We are both equally responsible for sharing our respective subjects with our students. I, because of my gender, am expected to be pretty while doing it… I do know that when I see a young female student who has not completed the reading but who has somehow managed to straighten their hair and apply perfect eyeliner, I am dismayed. I think if they could just be allowed to BE instead of expected to BE PERFECT, they might have more time for school.” —Sarah, 36