Makeup can be a polarizing topic, with some who believe cosmetics are part of a patriarchal standard of beauty to some who want to slap as much on their faces as possible. But it should always be a person's choice whether or not to wear makeup — and airlines are finally catching up to that fact. Virgin Atlantic flight attendants no longer have to wear makeup to fly, and the company's decision reflects that makeup is a personal decision.
According to CNN, Virgin Atlantic has informed its employees that they are no longer required to wear makeup while on the job. The outlet reports that the Executive Vice President of Customer, Mark Anderson, explained in a statement that the company listened to their employees when it came to the change regarding cosmetics. While the signature red uniforms will remain as is, Virgin Atlantic's decision to no longer require female flight attendants to wear makeup provides, "an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work," according to Anderson.
In addition to female flight attendants no longer being required to wear makeup, they will also be given pants as part of their standard uniform. Previously, pants were only granted by a special request.
Considering that it's 2019, it's time airlines updated their policies to reflect personal choice in both style and beauty. Simply because the airline attendants will no longer be required makeup, however, doesn't mean that they can't or shouldn't. In fact, Virgin Atlantic's decision to no longer require products illustrates that the use of cosmetics is a personal choice that shouldn't be dictated one way or the other, especially not by one's employer.
Virgin Atlantic's policy change celebrates the autonomy of its employees, and that's important to remember for those who would be critical of women choosing to wear makeup despite its roots in traditional beauty standards.
For those who love cosmetics, however, the process of applying makeup can often be used a way to release anxiety and stress. According to Teen Vogue, there are a myriad of way both makeup and skin care application can lead to improved mental health and wellness. From disrupting negative thought patterns fueled by anxiety to using application as a method to self-sooth, makeup is just as important to self-care as activities like meditation or exercise.
According to Stylecaster, women online are open about how makeup and beauty have impacted them positively, not negatively. The outlet reports that a thread on the MakeupAddiction section of Reddit proved to be a treasure trove of women sharing their stories about makeup and its positive effects on their lives.
In one anecdote pulled from the thread, the user explains that makeup is time to take for theirself and acts as both a moment of "me time" as well as a time to be creative and artistic.
Virgin Atlantic's decision to allow female flight attendants to for go makeup is a step in the right direction, and while the background to the rule was more than likely established in line with outdated notions of feminine beauty, the use of makeup has evolved to become a personal choice for women. Whether you choose to wear makeup or not, you get to choose, and that's the best part about Virgin Atlantic's new policy.