Makeup is not for the male gaze

Krystal Miller, Associate News Editor

 As someone who has been sitting in her room filming fake makeup tutorials and spending every bit of money I’ve had on new cosmetics since the age of 13, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about my makeup throughout the years.

People, mostly men, try to tell me I look so much more “natural” or “beautiful” without makeup. Why can’t I wear every color of the rainbow on my eyelids if I want? Men question why I wear so much makeup or why I spend so much time doing it.

People automatically assume I’m trying to impress someone or I am going somewhere fancy if I decide to put in the extra effort. I spend two hours on my makeup because I feel like it, not to get the attention of a man.

Individuals should be able to wear as much or as little makeup as they want without feeling judged for it. It doesn’t matter if you are going to the beach or the grocery store, you can wear makeup if you want. We do it because we want to feel better about ourselves and don’t need anyone’s feedback on what they think about it.

A study conducted by YouGov found that 63% of men believed women mainly wear makeup in order to trick people into thinking they’re more attractive. It’s not that I don’t love my natural face or am scared for people to see it, I like being able to enhance my features and have fun with it.

For years on social media I’ve heard the joke “take her swimming on the first date” — implying that women deceive men by wearing makeup on dates. That phrase currently has 18 million views on TikTok. YouTubers, such as Nikkietutorials, have also made videos making fun of this phrase. It is not necessary for a person wearing makeup to disclose how much they are wearing.

An experiment by Evie Magazine that used photos of women wearing both minimal and no makeup found that in every example, men actually preferred the photo with the woman with a “no-makeup makeup look” compared to her bare face.

Videos on platforms such as Instagram show makeup tutorials with “what men think no makeup looks like” versus reality, and in each video the side showing the male perspective features makeup, not a bare face. The search for the phrase “what men think no makeup looks like” has 65.1 million views on Tiktok. No matter how much makeup you do or don’t wear, there is someone that will judge you for it.

Men often say they want a woman with no makeup, but they don’t actually know what that is. A lot of examples on the internet of celebrities wearing no makeup usually have some amount of makeup on. This causes people to believe that’s what skin really looks like without makeup, and makes women even more insecure because they are trying to live up to impossible standards. Don’t feel bad if you have texture on your skin or acne, because it’s completely normal.

Makeup has been a way for me to express myself without having to say anything. It is relaxing to be able to sit in my room and try out different looks I’ve seen on Pinterest, Instagram or TikTok.

Having hours to myself, worrying about only me has helped me through so many difficult moments, because no matter how stressed or sad I am I can always depend on makeup to cheer me up and get away from whatever is bothering me. Makeup is a form of self care that doesn’t require a lot of money or time. Whether you just started trying out makeup yesterday or have been doing it for years, it is open to everyone.

Makeup has also led me to finding content creators I would’ve never known about and now watch all the time. Some of my best memories have been getting ready before an event with my friends and being able to do their makeup as well. It also gives me greater confidence going into situations because I know I can be fully myself going into an interview or a presentation.

The National Library of Medicine states that in an experimental study published in 2022, it found that women felt more feminine, attractive, more satisfied with their appearance and had a higher self-esteem with professionally applied makeup compared to no makeup on.

Makeup is also something that anyone can wear or do no matter what you look like or who you are. There is no size, gender or age limit on makeup and it is something that can connect you with a whole culture of diverse people who have one thing in common: a love for creativity and self-expression.

Drag makeup is an example of this: covering eyebrows with concealer, cut crease eyeshadow, and intense contouring all are makeup trends that started with drag queens. Some drag queens have also started their own makeup brands, such as Trixie Mattel and Kim Chi.

There is no certain way to do makeup or limit on the amount you wear. If wearing just chapstick and moisturizer makes you happy, go for it. But don’t stray away from wearing the amount of makeup you want just because you are scared about what other people will say or think.

The next time you want to question why someone decided to wear that much makeup today, don’t.