Design Vs. Disguise
It is apparent all around us. The drive and urge to be beautiful is a never-ending game that we were been born into.
Entire floors of department stores and half of most pharmacies are dedicated to the number one selling beauty product in the world….makeup.
Makeup is such a part of our life that even clothing and lingerie stores are starting to have their products crowd the checkout counter, celebrities have their own brand of lip gloss and every poster, billboard, commercial and magazine cover is in some way promoting the look of makeup whether they are directly advertising it or not.
I am not out to make makeup evil or bad, in fact I love wearing it and having access to it. The way I can make my eyes pop, my lips seem full and my cheeks highlighted are many ways I which I like to play with enhancing my looks.
Having said that, I remember a time in my life when I used makeup more as a disguise rather then for design. At time in my life where I would not go to the grocery store or out for a walk without having my face smothered in what I thought was ‘perfection’. There was a time when I thought that my face with all the superficial enhancements was the only one I allowed the world to see.
I encourage women to use makeup, I think putting our beauty on display is a privilege and the world reacts differently to a woman who takes pride in showcasing aspects of her to the world. In a way the way in which we wear makeup to enhance what our culture likes is no different then the tribes women in Africa who enjoy putting giant plates in their ears, rings around their neck or even tattoo symbols etc on there face. All of these are attempts to enhance what that culture deems as beautiful. Big wet luscious lips, deep, smoky alluring eyes and a flawless complexion are the things that most Western society optimizes for.
But the damage can come when we start looking to the perfected flawless version of women’s faces as the true face of beauty. When we start not only looking for that in others but in our self.
The media only adds to this belief system. How many times have we seen the movie where the leading female character gets out of bed or out of some intense physical activity and her hair has that perfect tousled look and her face is beautifully dweey with sweat. Her mascara is smudged oh so perfectly that she now has a smoky dangerous look, and that cut or bruise on her face almost looks cute maybe even sexy.
What I find alarming and most upsetting is that with all of the synthetic ways in which we view beauty and what women should look like, we ourselves have started believing that is the face of what true beauty is. That in fact we are cheap versions of the magazine covers instead of seeing that magazine covers as cheap versions of us!
So am I about to act triumphantly and in burning bra fashion, throw out my makeup bag and clear off my counters of products? No, of course not.
I still love the look of having wet lips, and sultry eyes and a rosy tinge to my cheek, but it is vital to realize that all they do is enhance the beauty that is already their and highlight it. They are not what makes us beautiful.
Wearing a great dress or color that works with my skin tone has me play with what I’ve got, believing that the dress gives me the ‘wow’ factor is the real lie. I am the one that makes the dress look good, not the other way around. (In fact as a side note- one thing I do is whenever someone compliments me on a necklace, outfit or hairdo, I take it personally and interpret it as their direct compliment to me. That when they comment on the dress they are really speaking to how I wear it and my essence that makes it pop rather then the color, fit or style of the dress itself! – your should try it someone time- it is a whole new way to frame things).
So, what’s my point? My point is to go ahead and use the makeup and design your face with extra enhancements, highlights and attention points.
But that is all it is, you are the beauty and the makeup is the frame, don’t forget that. It is easy to use these products as a way for us to disguise who we are, hide behind and pretend. But it is a false way to see ourselves. Wear the makeup and adorn yourself the way you want, just be sure that your context for it all is healthy and honest. That they are all indeed just things we adorn ourselves with. The decoration on the Christmas tree is not the tree, don’t use makeup to disguise who you really are, with all of its beautiful imperfections and characteristics.
The new standard of perfection is imperfection. Different is interesting, and interesting is beautiful. So go ahead and be different. Design your face with whatever you please, just never forget that your beauty is what makes the products work, that ultimately your face is the cake, the rest is all just icing.
No one likes just icing, most of the time people like to see icing but want cake. Let’s redefine beautiful, because beauty is a fresh washed face that we use as the canvas to paint on.
I’ve started more and more learning to love the small creases around my eyes, the mole on my chin, that one weird hair that grows on my chin. Even with all the small scars and marks that I have collected throughout the years or I have been born with, I wouldn’t change one freckle, hair or bump- because it is the cake that the world wants. And as much as I like icing, cake is what really satisfies people and what we ultimately want.
In this day in age when perfection is far too overrated, I say dare to reclaim beauty in your own way and for your own purpose. Go out there and dare to be seen, dare to be beautiful, dare to be you.