I soon came to realise that I felt I had to wear make-up. It may have started out as a choice, a positive, fun way of expressing myself visually, but after caking myself in product day after day for several years, it had become something I relied upon to feel attractive. Not only that, but I felt I had to keep putting on more and more if I wanted to upgrade from 'socially acceptable' to 'pretty'.
Don't get me wrong, I like looking 'nice' as much as anyone, but I don't want to be brainwashed into believing that it is necessary for me to conform to a standard of 'beauty' just to be able to show my face. After all, even the models in the advertisements that sell us our favourite products aren't as flawless as the finalised, airbrushed, Photoshopped images that we are shown.
I spent a good month during my time away from blogging living entirely make-up free. At first I felt horrendously self-consious and embarrassed, especially at work in a customer-facing role, but after a few weeks I began to relax and feel comfortable with my naked face. I stopped feeling that looking 'pretty' was so overwhelmingly important; with the right products, or enough of them, I could transform my face into a Barbie doll clone - or I could come to terms with my actual looks and stop buying into the concept of perfection and the industry that teaches people that they, themselves, are not good enough as they are.
I am choosing, personally, to disregard the concept of 'pretty' and instead just have fun with make-up - when, and if, I feel like wearing it - instead of using it to create an image of what the advertising industry wants me to wish that I looked like. I do enjoy wearing make-up, whether to create crazy effects or just highlight my features, but I also find it relaxing to not worry about it!
What about you? Does anyone have any thoughts?
(Suggested reading: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.)