Where’s Your Face?

There are a few things that everybody has an opinion about. Makeup is one of them. I’m going to ramble a bit here.

Grumpy cat. Not mine.
You’ve been warned, mmmkay?

I grew up in the 90s in South India. This meant that the prevailing idea was that girls should not put themselves “out there” by tarting themselves up for men. Sure, there was a positive side to the whole “natural beauty”, “use what you’re born with” philosophy but more often than not it just ends up with one group of people being highly judgemental about another. I went to one of the biggest schools in my area and even there, the ones that used even a little bit of makeup were sluts and were trying too hard. Most of that generation has grown into adults that continue to hold similar opinions.

Dolores Umbridge, c/o Warner Bros & JKR
Uptight Judgey McJudgerson

Where I come from, women are expected to be one step behind. They are not outspoken, they adhere to their families’ religions and marry someone picked out for them based on the stars and salaries. They do not talk about bodily functions, marital problems or *gasp* sex. They move where the husband works, they give up their jobs for kids, and they are incredibly satisfied taking care of the family and in-laws. Frivolous things like makeup they get to use to look like pretty arm candy at weddings and other family gatherings, but that’s about it.

I think the situation is changing now with increasing globalisation – women develop careers, they travel for work, they care about looking prettily professional at the office. They wear makeup, even just a tiny bit of mascara or tinted lip balm, to give them a bit of a boost. They also spend more on taking care of their health, their skin etc. This is all great but came a little too late for me! I’m 26 years old and am kind of sad that I only discovered makeup less than a year back, and only after living in the UK for awhile.

It seems to be pretty commonplace here – teens wear it to cover acne in high school or college, women wear a full face of it to work, and everyone seems to make a big deal of makeup-free days. This is still practically everyday for me. I don’t get it, but I respect that people feel like they need it for confidence or they just love primping!

I’ve only recently started seeing some improvements in my mental health and self-image, and consequently appreciate that my appearance is something I think is worth spending some time on. I feel good when I take some time to colour and shape my face and do my hair, because it means I cared about something selfish for a change. I looked at myself and decided I was going to take some action, and changed myself for the better. It’s a great feeling.

Man on precipice. Dangerous looking.
Top of the world! How the fuck did I get up here?

I’m not good at applying it, mind you. I think the results top out at average, and it’s a great day when I don’t have unblended concealer lines. I don’t look smashing and all that when I put it on because it’s not cosmetic surgery, but I feel good about myself. I can’t speak for everyone else that does it, but even the most insecure teenager concerned about her acne has to get some endorphins rushing around from slowly and meditatively editing her appearance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes we do things that impress others but it doesn’t necessarily follow that we are doing it for those people. Sometimes it’s a nice thing we’re doing for ourselves, and you’re kinda cheapening our achievement by misunderstanding. Be okay with that.

2 thoughts on “Where’s Your Face?

  1. For me, make up is a mask. When I’m at home and make up free I feel like my true self. But when I have to face (no pun intended!) the outside world, I need my make up on. I need to hide behind the mask, or heaven forbid someone should see who I really am.
    You insight into how you view make up is really interesting.


    1. We’re all afraid of the world here, yay for insecurities! I think my body image has been improving as my makeup skills and fitness improve, though, so the confidence has been (very gradually) growing. Who knows, maybe a day might dawn where the confident person I need to portray on the outside is a true reflection of the madness inside. Er, wait.


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