Why I Wear Makeup -- Even Though I'm Just Fine Without It

I wear makeup every day. It's never much, and I do the "natural" thing, so it never dramatically changes the way I look. It isn't the way I choose to self-express, I don't particularly enjoy the process, and I'd be lying if I said I only do it for myself. I wear makeup to look better: not more beautiful, necessarily, but more put-together and more professional. 

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I feel like the discussion about makeup and the standards surrounding it is a healthy one, but I also feel like we have to get real: For many women, it is required of us. It's a fact that women wearing makeup appear more confident in the workplace. It's a bad fact, and I wish it weren't the case, but it's still there. 

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In a sense, you could look at makeup as a tool (so: women have the opportunity to look more professional by wearing makeup), but it's still a game most of us are kind of forced to play. But we do it -- either because we like the challenge, or we like the look, or we like it as art and expression. 

But we're getting to a point where we're claiming the game as our own, and that's pretty cool.

For me, I like to use it as a wall between my public and personal self. If you see me with makeup, you're seeing a constructed persona. If you see me without makeup, I'm trusting you with my private self. That's a privilege that I get to choose to give you, and makeup is just the way I choose to do it. Your way might be different. Hers might be the same. 

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Makeup is kind of a polarizing thing, but not in a clean, dichotomous way. There are no clear camps, no strict anti-makeup and pro-makeup groups. Everyone has thoughts and feelings and a complicated relationship with it: You love it or hate it or manipulate it or dread it.

I feel like I have to wear makeup, but I also like what it's become to me. People will choose to use it or choose not to use it in different ways, and that's wonderful -- society might have put us in the arena, but we took the rule book back and made it our own.

There's no power in the game, but there's power in the way we choose to play. 

 

Image via iStock.com/skynesher

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