By ASHLEY NEQUEST
The other day I had the pleasure of helping my friend, Jenna, with photos for her article on makeup trends throughout the decades. I spent an hour carefully picking colours and applying them to our model’s face, enhancing her beautiful eyes and straightening out the slight bend in her nose.
Once I was finished we were all astounded with how amazing she looked. The model spent a few minutes looking in the mirror admiring herself. In one breath she was floored by how great she looked, in the next she said she was frightened.
The two women were a little uncomfortable with how different the one looked, though to me she looked just slightly more refined. The conversation suddenly turned to the pressure women feel to conform to society’s views of beauty.
When I do makeup, whether it be on myself or a client (I am a professional makeup artist), I am not trying to force false beauty on anyone. The way I feel about a “look” I’ve created is similar to how I assume artists look at a painting they’ve just finished. I enjoy what I do. Spending an hour in the morning picking out the perfect colours and drawing precise lines across my eyelids is something that allows me to start my day off in a positive way. Why should I feel bad for “conforming” when it just makes me happy?
While working for a chain of cosmetic stores I often applied makeup to women’s faces only to have their boyfriends come in and tell them they looked “ridiculous,” that they didn’t need to wear all that makeup. All too often I watched the excitement drain from a young woman’s face as something that made her admire herself in a new way was suddenly discredited.
We are currently trying to encourage young boys and girls to love themselves, to find beauty in their freckles and slight bends in their noses. I am all for that, I hope every single person feels stunning in their natural state, but I also hope every boy, girl, man or woman feels amazing with some blush and eyeliner.
As a society we have reached a point where we are trying to empower people. The issue is we are trying to make people feel empowered to take off their makeup by demonizing those of us who choose to wear as much makeup as we can apply to our faces.
Please, continue to make every single person feel beautiful, but don’t forget that there are boys and girls who want to feel beautiful with winged eyeliner and sparkly eyelids.